Friday, February 26, 2010

More on the LAUSD rejection of Charter Schools applications.

"The charter school test case that didn't happen - If they hadn't been mostly shut out of bids to run a slew of new L.A. Unified campuses, the groups might have demonstrated how they handle students with challenging needs." By Howard Blume,
February 26, 2010 - L.A. Times.,0,1231323.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fmostviewed+%28L.A.+Times+-+Most+Viewed+Stories%29

The story is pretty rich in content to tell you that there is a good helping of politics that goes on in decisions by the LAUSD Board when it comes to everything. The Public School Choice voting for preferences of takeover proposals a few weeks ago, leading to School Superintendent Ramon Cortines to recommend among them just which ones will walk away with the right to set up shop and do some serious schooling on campus.

I was surprised with what the Board Member, Yolie Flores Aguilar, said since it made so much sense and I had not noticed that kind of thing as one of her qualities. I guess I was still miffed about her good fortune to double-dip and work for Gloria Romero and pull in thousands as a consultant without any observable work produced while on the Board.
And in this instance, charters agreed to operate by more inclusive rules in exchange for access to state-of-the-art, multimillion-dollar campuses.

"This would have been an opportunity to have [charters] rise to the challenge as we in the district do every day in serving these populations at an equal level," said board member Yolie Flores, who brought the school-control proposal to the board in August.
Union president AJ Duffy was speaking the party line and I have come to take what he says with the proverbial grain of salt. He is never one to be constrained in his comments by actual facts.
His job is to work for teachers and of course, perpetuate the power of his union. The collateral benefit to actual children who are the students to be served is always secondary as a priority.

Read the story and see what I mean. Maybe there SHOULD have been a charter allowed to try it's hand since LAUSD has had years with the results being shown among these low performing schools. The addressing of needs of special education and English Language Learners if attempted by charters who are not without some success was not allowed. It's political, remember?

The title of labor czar could have been applied to Maria Elena Durazo, as the labor head with considerable influence that is thrown the way of the LAUSD, who in its typical and characteristic style, is hopelessly unable to resist any of it. I think the role held by the Board President Monica Garcia fits nicely into a too-cozy relationship where Garcia's very comfortable. Too often I think we have something of hero-worshipping substituting for objective and productive actions taken on behalf of students and the publie in general.
Although Supt. Ramon C. Cortines favored mostly internal proposals, he had also recommended giving schools to Green Dot Public Schools, the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools and ICEF Public Schools, which all came away empty-handed. All are charter management groups with a track record in the city.

Flores, the author of the reform strategy, had argued that Cortines' recommendations should be followed without exception.
The personal issues override the fiduciary duties owed by the public officials. And what the heck does that term mean? I doubt that Garcia is even aware of the concept, as appears to be the case with so many local politicians.
"fiduciary duty
Employees' or directors' legal and moral duty to exercise the powers of their office for the benefit of the employer or the firm. Directors owe the duty of utmost good faith and must not put themselves in a position where their personal interests and their fiduciary duties may conflict. Also called fiduciary obligation."

So there is the quick "in a nutshell" definition. A little more elaboration below will give you a better basis from which to evaluate how it is so constantly breached by our politicians.

"Breach of Fiduciary Duty Law & Legal Definition
A fiduciary duty is an obligation to act in the best interest of another party. For instance, a corporation's board member has a fiduciary duty to the shareholders, a trustee has a fiduciary duty to the trust's beneficiaries, and an attorney has a fiduciary duty to a client.

A fiduciary obligation exists whenever the relationship with the client involves a special trust, confidence, and reliance on ithe fiduciary to exercise his discretion or expertise in acting for the client. The fiduciary must knowingly accept that trust and confidence to exercise his expertise and discretion to act on the client's behalf.

When one person does agree to act for another in a fiduciary relationship, the law forbids the fiduciary from acting in any manner adverse or contrary to the interests of the client, or from acting for his own benefit in relation to the subject matter. The client is entitled to the best efforts of the fiduciary on his behalf and the fiduciary must exercise all of the skill, care and diligence at his disposal when acting on behalf of the client. A person acting in a fiduciary capacity is held to a high standard of honesty and full disclosure in regard to the client and must not obtain a personal benefit at the expense of the client. "

And that doesn't seem to be what we are getting from electing these people into office.

On with the charter situation and their exclusion- You can see the turf issues in the story. The teachers feel an entitlement and it is viewed that way by the union, too.
Charters should not be allowed to run new schools, paid for by taxpayers, that were intended for all children, said A. J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.
Well, Mr. Duffy missed the idea that the charters WERE going to address serving those children, but you see how defensive they get. What else do you or can you expect him to say? "Let them try out and we will find out if they know what they are doing."? No, that's not a good approach since they children might actually do well- and that's not good from the union's way of looking at things.

Turf enters the area where the Board did not follow the Cortines recommendations, and he was the one with a large role in conducting the evaluations of the voting and the program proposals. Like I said, it's politics and not any way following duties within their fiduciary obligation. How can anyone expect this Board to improve things when it keeps following a political path that's about adults and not the education path that affect children?