Sunday, April 02, 2006

Elect Clark Baker

The one good thing to come out of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Joint Commission on LAUSD Governance last week was meeting parents, teachers, and business leaders who want alternatives like vouchers and charters.

So wrote Clark Baker in a piece called “LAUSD: Confronting the Beast.” After writing five recent posts on the public school mess (“Education Reform Needed Now, Public Education’s Disgrace, Stupid in America: Blame the Liberals, Competition will Fix Public Education, and Fixing Higher Ed”) I thought I had a grip on the problem. Was I ever wrong; when it comes to LAUSD, my criticism touched only the tip of the iceberg.

Now a brave ex-Marine, ex-Policemen named Clark Baker has stepped to the plate to take on the “Beast.” From Clark’s campaign web site we learn that:

Born in Pacoima, I was troubled by gangs, drugs, and what I heard was a racist police department. I joined the LAPD in 1980 and found the department’s problem wasn’t bad cops, but politicians who required good cops to do bad things in good communities. No felon or gang member has hurt more families than the Democrats who control our city.

Gross mismanagement isn’t restricted to the LAPD. Although taxpayers spend $18,000 annually to educate one child, the unions, school boards, and thousands of useless managers shake down taxpayers, leaving our children with crumbling schools, weary teachers, gunfire, gangs, drugs, and a 50 percent drop-out rate. Our best and brightest cops and teachers quit after a few years in these asylums, while your politicians hide behind gate-guarded communities and send their children to private schools.

No organized crime syndicate could have been more successful at harming our neighbors and children than these union-supported politicians. It’s hard to imagine that honest hard working people will want more of the same.

Wanting to learn more I went to Clark’s blog, California Conservative, and found a white paper on the voucher issue. Like Milton Friedman and me, Clark believes that choice is the answer.

Free markets empower consumers that empower businesses. When service and products fail, the company suffers the burden to fix problems or go out of business. Politicians empower monopolies that empower politicians. When services and products fail, consumers suffer the burden to resolve problems that never end. And when consumers suffer, monopolies can extort higher fees, often in the form of increased taxes. Like protection rackets, unions strike to coerce taxpayers to pay more, often for less. Teacher unions spend millions to empower politicians who support unions, and attack those that threaten unions or the politicians they buy.

Clark then describes the problems of the Los Angeles Unified School District (
LAUSD). The LAUSD monopoly controls 746,000 students, 80,000 employees, and a $13.4 billion annual budget, not including Federal Title One funds. This translates into more than $18,000/yr per child - nine students for each employee. Of this $18K/yr, only $8,200 is spent on children: And LAUSD’s $10 billion health and welfare deficit will soon cut student spending down to $6,100! These numbers will get much worse if Rob Reiner’s push for public pre-schools and Phil Angelides’ proposal to double the number of public school counselors are passed.

Our children need a better education, not bigger unions and bureaucracies. California’s education history proves that the more parents and taxpayers pay, the less that our teachers and students receive.

Since Palos Verdes is not in the 42nd assembly district I can’t vote for Clark. However, I can, and will, contribute to his campaign. If you care about LA’s kids and our regional economic future, you may wish to do the same.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a crock Bill - "This translates into more than $18,000/yr per child - nine students for each employee." What you are not accounting for is that most employees do NOT TEACH!! A janitor doesn't teach, a cafeteria worker doesn't teach, a principal doesn't teach, nor do most administrators or counselors - Its only the teachers who do. Will you reduce your budget by not having janitors? And as far as Rob Reiner??? He resigned from his vaunted charter school program because they have been accused of fradulent use and spending of money!

Librarians sometimes take classes every few weeks to show kids how to use the library or computers and there are special ed teachers included who work with small numbers of kids who are lacking in skills, but to split all the kids at LAUSD among ALL employees is ridiculous. This guy is feeding you nonsense!

Ask any teacher and you will get answers on how to reform schools and the first answer you will get is to make parents make their kids do homework - bet you $20. on this - yes?


11:24 AM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

This is not a crock. You are right though, most employees do NOT TEACH!! And that is exactly the problem!! The total budget also includes building expenses. What do we get for $13,400,000,000 per year, except bad education, gross mismanagement, violence, the works. It is time to blow up the public school system.

I believe the money could be reduced by half and the education would be better with vouchers. And that would also take care of your major point: parents make their kids do homework, and behave in school, or they are OUT.

I'll bet you that 20 bucks on these points, but I think you agree.

Send Clark the money.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill - to reduce the budget - get rid of illegals in the schools. I used to teach a Saturday class at Gage Elementary and so many kids there are illegal and do not speak English that ALL materials are translated into Spanish and even the signs in front of the schools are in Spanish! This applies throughout LA - and the community colleges and I have taught at most of them.

If your guy wanted to really shake up the school district, have him get legislation passed that REQUIRES schools to document the illegals.


11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill --
Sounds good to me!

Thanks - hope you're healing well,


7:33 PM  
Blogger ex-Hollywood Liberal said...

Thanks for the plug, Bill.

I've posted this link in Spanish and English. If we get this info out to Latino parents they'll see how LAUSD is deliberately keeping black and Latino students stupid so that they keep cleaning toilets.

As for keeping illegals out, I agree. We need to SECURE the borders at ALL cost.

Once the borders are secure we should provide vouchers to all parents, documented or not, with $18,000 vouchers so that their children can attend GOOD schools. I lived in El Salvador and Mexico when I worked at our US embassies there. Most of these families have strong family and spiritual connections and are hard workers. If given a proper education, these children will grow up to be productive and important Americans.

Thanks for your ongoing support!


6:54 PM  

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