Solving problems in education
Re "Rewriting the Locke story," May 20
Charter schools have the luxury of getting rid of any student they wish. I agree that reform is needed, especially in schools with a high population of impoverished students. I just don't believe that handpicking the population of students and comparing them to the less fortunate is the way to do it.
Walk into any of the despondent schools in Los Angeles and you will see the same issues you see at Locke -- issues that will exist even after it becomes a charter. But Locke will be able to send problem students back to the warehouses we call low-performing high schools.
Donna Foote's astonishingly naive or disingenuous statement, "I can honestly say that I never met a student there who didn't want to learn," must be countered with common sense.
If a young adult has the desire to learn, he or she will find a way to make that happen. In my 19 years with the LAUSD, I've worked with a small percentage of students who are hostile to learning. At the top, there's an equally small percentage (in mainstream classes) of students ready and willing to make a strong effort to learn. The majority in the middle behave as if learning should always be fun. If it's not, they refuse to partake of it.
Foote steps right into the problem when she writes that "only 3% of Locke students are receiving the education required," as if education is a commodity to be received passively and not earned.
The blue line's bottom line
Re "What LAPD takes, union returns," May 21
By reimbursing police officers who are suspended without pay, the Los Angeles Police Protective League yet again demonstrates that indiscriminately sheltering all officers from even legitimate criticism and punishment for wrongdoing remains its priority. The patently absurd program neutralizes even the minimal enforcement action available. The union turns what is supposed to be punishment into a paid vacation, and officers hit the streets knowing they have a nice little cushion that allows them even greater leeway from the rules.
It's tempting to offer analogies, such as an inexpensive program that pays all fines and increased insurance costs for motorists cited for speeding, running red lights or driving under the influence. But the police union's program is so nakedly outrageous that helpful comparisons to illustrate its offensiveness are not necessary.