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Location: Ames, Iowa, United States

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Ohio Public Schools Need To Reform, Look At The LAUSD

Michelle Malkin has brought up the rape (forced oral sex) of an unfortunate Ohio high school girl who has a learning disability.
I have been in favor of vouchers for parents to be allowed to take their kids out of public schools since the 1980's. There has already been a lot of blogging on this incident, so I will just say that the administrators of the school, the district and the mayor of the town (who is trying to defend the incident, and will not commit to any action against the school) are all culpable. The mayor, Michael Coleman has his eyes on the governor's mansion. This case should put an end to that. Glenn Beck, a highly rated radio commentator, has jumped into this with both feet. He interviewed the mayor, albeit only after creating "interview bits" with his staff, and the mayor's attitude was noncommittal. Mr Beck has reached the conclusion that parents need to get their kids out of the public schools in the area. I tend to agree, but until a voucher system is authorized, only the well-to-do parents can do that.
My own personal experience in the Los Angeles area was that the local schools (LAUSD) had their own sanctuaries within the district. "Magnet" programs are provided by the district to give gifted students an opportunity to get out of their resident schools. If a student shows extra ability in one or more specific areas, and scores highly on the Stanford Nine achievement tests, the school district provides the parents the opportunity to apply on behalf of their kids for these programs. There are many varieties of learning offered, including Math, Science, Law Enforcement, Medical, Highly Gifted, Advanced Studies and Performing Arts. There are more, I'm sure. The program can start quite early. My daughter entered the Performing Arts magnet in the 4th grade. The student is then allowed to attend a qualifying magnet school that may be out of the geographical area. The school district even provides free busing, as long as the student lives more than two miles from the magnet school. These magnet programs attract the better teachers, and hence provide a learning experience that is close to that provided by private schools. Van Nuys High School (Don Drysdale went there) has three embedded magnets, with 40% of the overall enrollment of the school. The SAT scores of Van Nuys HS have led the LAUSD for five straight years.
What's interesting about the program is, it evolved from court forced integration in the 1980's. The district was required to bus students from their local school areas to areas where "better" education might be available. This resulted in blacks and hispanics being transported to white areas. The metamorphosis of this situation has proved to be hugely positive for the students, notwithstanding the myopic ruling of the courts in the first place. The busing has cost the district millions, and the original reason has become clouded. Still, it's better than Ohio.

I'll be back



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