Solving problems in education
Re "Rewriting the Locke story," May 20
This article does not explain how Green Dot, or any charter school operator, will make such drastic changes immediately. Please do not give false hope that Green Dot will go into Locke and fix all that is wrong with that high school.
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.
Why do we police officers pay for suspension insurance? When Police Chief William J. Bratton came to L.A., he told us that the era of "gotcha" was over. Yet the complaint system suspends officers for misconduct "you should have known" about. The system may suspend you if your black-and-white gets broadsided because you "failed to anticipate" the other driver's actions. The system may suspend you because your partner commits a crime on his own time. The list could go on for pages. The LAPD complaint system is shortsighted and broken. Officers from other cities laugh at what we get suspended for.
I'm going to continue to protect my family and pay my suspension insurance every month.
Debate on Clinton continues
Re "It's not personal," Opinion, May 21
Jonathan Chait is condescending to Hillary Rodham Clinton and her supporters. He allows that "plenty of voters support Clinton for the same essential reasons they support other candidates: her character, platform, etc.," but then goes on to say that "many also support her because her opponent is black." Perhaps he should understand that not supporting Barack Obama isn't an attack on African Americans, just like "not supporting Clinton isn't an attack on feminism."
Chait also says that "there remains an unshakable core of Clinton fans whose loyalty is a matter of identity." With more than 90% of African American voters casting their ballots for Obama, and the women's vote more split, it's obvious that identity politics is a stronger factor for the Obama campaign.
Perhaps the generation that "takes women in the workforce for granted" needs to be reminded that women still continue to make just 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. In 2007, Clinton sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963. She has spent her entire career working for women and families.
So yes, it is personal.
I am amused at Clinton's supporters' allegation that media-fostered sexism has undermined her campaign. Clinton's sour grapes are belied by the facts that she has been the beneficiary of the only "-isms" in this campaign; specifically, nepotism (wife of a former president) and elitism (Wellesley education, etc.).
Clinton's insistence on staying in the race to the detriment of Obama proves that she is not willing to do what is best for the party. Why then should we believe she would do what is best for the country?
Mark S. Roth
Honor and valor
Re " 'Now we are happy again,' " May 17
Your story was inspiring. Bravo to all members of the Lancaster community who played a role in restoring this memorial and, with it, the honor and dignity of all Japanese Americans who have long since proved their courage and patriotism in our nation's time of need.
The organization I represent is raising funds for a memorial to honor the 40 Latino American recipients of the congressional Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for valor "above and beyond the call of duty." Their extraordinary sacrifices have never been properly recognized.
Let us hope that such grass-roots efforts may lead all segments of our population to know and value each other, resulting in true and everlasting brotherhood among all Americans.
William D. Lansford
Eugene A. Obregon/
Congressional Medal of
Honor Memorial Foundation
Playa del Rey
Cuts on care will cost more
Re "Aid for disabled is at risk," May 19
The governor's revised budget calls for elimination of funding for in-home support services to elderly and disabled people. The goal is to save money. But the governor has obviously failed to consider the adverse effects of such action.
If the elderly and disabled who utilize these services are no longer able to have their caretakers shop for their groceries, prepare their meals, wash their laundry and more, they may have to move into long-term care facilities. The cost would far outweigh what it costs to provide in-home support.
Re "Friends rally to Kennedy's side," May 21
Over the years, I have not been a fan of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). He represents a liberal point of view that is foreign to my personal values and beliefs. Nevertheless, even the most ardent critic of Kennedy should admire the courage he has demonstrated in overcoming the trials of his personal life and his commitment to his values in his Senate job.
This news that he has a malignant brain tumor is sad indeed, and I wish him and his family the best during this difficult time.
North Las Vegas, Nev.
That's the ticket
Re "O.C. Fair ticket policy under review," May 16
Orange County Fair Chief Executive Becky Bailey-Findley is wrong when she says that appointed board members aren't paid for their service. Clearly, they pay themselves with thousands of dollars in concert tickets that do not belong to them. Have any of the board members paid income taxes on these tickets?
Until board members are elected at the local level -- instead of being appointed by the governor -- it seems that political cronyism will continue to thrive at the Orange County Fair.
Re "Prescription overdose," May 18
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy bears some responsibility for the rise in prescription overdose deaths. It has been pushing student drug tests without alerting schools and parents to their downside: urinalysis only deters marijuana use because synthetic pharmaceuticals exit the body quickly.
This information is readily available on the Internet. It's one of the reasons the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes involuntary drug testing.
Urinalysis provides incentives for marijuana users to switch to harder drugs. Robert Sharpe
Policy Analyst, Common
Sense for Drug Policy
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