OCTOBER 18, 2011
On a mission to narrow the academic achievement gap between minorities and whites, the Obama Administration has ordered the nation’s second-largest public school district to cut back on disciplining black students and develop a special curriculum for those who don’t speak English.The orders come on the heels of a 19-month federal “civil rights investigation” that concludes the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has long failed to provide an equal education to the hundreds of thousands of minorities enrolled in its 730 campuses. How exactly? It’s anybody’s guess since the most transparent administration in history refuses to disclose details of the lengthy probe, which was conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.What we do know is that “English learners” and “African-Americans” are being cheated out of a quality education, according to Obama’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan. So his agency is forcing the LAUSD to make sweeping changes because the systematic failure has resulted in huge academic disparities that have created a sort of civil rights crisis.In fact, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, an open borders advocate, says the “achievement gap is the civil rights issue of our time.” He assures the agreement between the Department of Education and the LAUSD is a step in the right direction toward “ensuring that English learners and African-American students have equal access to the resources they need to graduate high school and get a solid footing on the economic ladder.”Key among the administration’s demands is that the school district “eliminate inequitable and disproportionate discipline practices” for blacks and that it renews its focus on “identifying the academic English needs of African-American students.” The LAUSD must also implement a “first-of-its-kind pilot project for a community school in a predominantly African-American neighborhood” that will become a “sustainable and replicable model for promoting African-American student success.”For the district’s 200,000 non English speakers, many of them illegal immigrants, the administration wants a costly English Learner Master Plan that will address the “specific needs” of each pupil. Students who reach high school without mastering English skills required to take college-prep courses will also get extra help and both non English speaking and black students will get “better teachers” as well as other resources.No word on how the cash-strapped school district, notorious for its overcrowded campuses and monstrous dropout rate, will pay for all this. The state’s largest newspaper puts it mildly when it says the federal mandate “poses a potential financial problem” for a public school district that’s “faced multimillion-dollar budget cuts and layoffs over the last few years.”
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