Will Public Education Survive? #523-526

Los Angeles, CA The complete series covering the future of Public Education consisting of four half-hour shows each with three segments. An insiders view of Public Education featuring long-time School Board Member David Tokofsky and an outsider’s view from Civic Activist David Hernandez is presented here on Streaming Video.

SEGMENT ONE: LA Mayor’s Attempt To Take-Over LAUSD
David Tokofsky describes how Mayor Villaraigosa recruited leaders in the California Legislature to sponsor a bill to carve out selected schools from the District to control, claiming it as a “Community Partnership” but which involved the politics of San Fernando Valley and left new immigrants, undocumented immigrants out of the plan. David Hernandez provides his insight into Mayor’s plan and raises questions as to who will benefit.


SEGMENT TWO: Charter Schools…Innovation By-pass Ed Code?
Why are wealthy individuals involved in charting the course of public education? David Tokofsky explains the $250 to 320 billion national dollars available for public education is luring venture capitalists to the Charter School business. By offering a change to the status quo, can there be a return on the investments made by providing union jobs? This scenario and Charter School Reform is explored with commentary from David Hernandez, Exec. Director, San Fernando Chamber of Commerce.


SEGMENT THREE: Charter Schools: Choice & Accountability?
David Tokofsky describes the Charter School operations, the checks, and balances and the pitfalls. Are the teachers inspired to be a catalyst for opportunities and change? Tokofsky, who is a teacher, discusses the need for more opportunities and not to abandon the current system envisioned by the Founding Fathers.


SEGMENT FOUR: CHOICE?, Public Schools Charter vs Magnate Schools
Covering desegregation programs and “white flight” from the L.A Unified School District. Can parents and children be lured back to the public school system to Charter Schools and Magnate schools.? Longtime Board member David Tokofsky describes the difference between Charter and Magnate schools.


SEGMENT FIVE: Charter School Assn. Wooed by LAUSD To Help Pass $7 Billion Bond.
Magnate Schools with special programs such as Jr. Police Academy, Arts, Math and Science to attract minority students meet desegregation goals. Incentives vs forced programs are costly according to David Tokofsky.


SEGMENT SIX: Can School Officials Be Held Accountable?
School Board and local elections are won and lost with very little participation according to David Hernandez who points out the checks and balances and pitfalls. Are the teachers inspired to be a catalyst for opportunities and change? Tokofsky, who is a teacher, discusses the need for more opportunities and not to abandon the current system envisioned by the Founding Fathers.


SEGMENT SEVEN: Politics, Power & Influence
According to David Tokofsky, Politics and education are inseparable. “Politics is the influence of other peoples behavior”. The Milken Institute estimates K-12 education in the United States is worth $250 billion. Billionaires Eli Broad, Bill Gates and Michael Milken are involved in Education and School Board governance, accelerating the struggle over power and control, efficiency, productivity, curriculum, and instruction.


SEGMENT EIGHT: “Belmont the Billion Dollar School”
David Tokofsky was a primary critic of LAUSD Belmont Learning Center, he describes how the school was not built to code with no accountability, no arbitration or litigation and acknowledges the same contractors have been rehired to build 170 new schools. Explains why Belmont was not funded by GO Bonds funds and struggles to explain how the District paid for books, desks, teachers, and personnel after his parcel tax proposal did not fly.


SEGMENT NINE: “District Flush With Billions in Bond Money”
David Tokofsky describes the LAUSD attitude toward the $20 billion school construction project as being “Afflicted with Comfort” and asked if the District is being ripped off by unscrupulous contractors once again. He describes the struggle within the District as to who will control the Office of Ethics. The Board has apparently decided the Ethics Office should be located in the Office General Counsel instead of the Office of Inspector General, opting to “build a culture of ethics” rather investigations.


SEGMENT TEN: “What Is The Primary Mission of Public Education?”
According to Tokofsky, the Public Schools are providing much more than just education. Feeding children breakfast, lunch, counseling, health care, police protection. And, School Construction Program has been billed as an “Economic Stimulus” package to provide jobs, plus LAUSD owes billions for unfunded retirement benefits for teachers. He complains that schools are asked to do more than just educate, without funding.


SEGMENT ELEVEN: “Illegal Immigration Impacts Education”
For years the LAUSD has struggled with Immigrant Rights issues and student boycotts to demonstrate on such issues as their illegal immigration status. Tokofsky says students need to learn in class how to participate in the process and he points to the need to address other issues besides “status” there is the adult education issue.


SEGMENT TWELVE: “What Is the Greatest Challenge to Public Education?”
Tokofsky feels that Term Limits should be changed to a rotation of office, that the Board Staff has marginalized the effectiveness of the Board Members. And, he points to “At Large” Districts that limit the scope of Members and result in “unintended consequences” (dilution of power). He feels his greatest accomplishment was instituting Full Day Kindergarten classes and laments that the City Developer Fees are not paid to the District.

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