Good morning, CharterFolk.
Earlier this week I had started a piece which riffed off this article.
It’s a stunning indictment of California’s entire ruling class. How they have made the state essentially ungovernable.
As the article portrays, it’s easier to make progress on societal challenges in Morocco these days than it is in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The company’s recommendations for a direct route out of Los Angeles and a focus on moving people between Los Angeles and San Francisco were cast aside, said Dan McNamara, a career project manager for SNCF.
The company pulled out in 2011.
“There were so many things that went wrong,” Mr. McNamara said. “SNCF was very angry. They told the state they were leaving for North Africa, which was less politically dysfunctional. They went to Morocco and helped them build a rail system.”
Morocco’s bullet train started service in 2018.
And as we all know, much more than the bullet train has gone off the rails in California.
Our housing crisis is the nation’s worst.
As is our poverty rate …
and our gasoline prices …
… not to mention our homeless problem …
… where all six of the six cities with the highest homeless rates in the country, seven of the top ten, and ten of the top fifteen are all located in California.
It’s against this backdrop that the latest portrait of California has emerged.
It’s an audio portrait of our ruling elite, and by that I mean our elected officials and the labor leaders to whom they are beholden …
… showing how they talk behind closed doors …
… about other people’s kids.
And for those who are able to extend the dynamics at display on this call to the way power is made manifest in policy making bodies across the state, this episode reveals California’s greatest shame of all.
Not just what the ruling elite say, which is completely and utterly appalling.
But even worse are the policies the ruling elite make that negatively affect the lives of other people’s kids.
Millions upon millions of kids.
Because as CharterFolk know as well as anyone, as far off the rails as many aspects of modern life are in California these days, none is as far off the rails as public education.
Literally the same day that Nury Martinez resigned from the City Council …
… the ruling elite of Los Angeles promulgated their latest policy decision affecting the lives of other people’s kids.
There will be no additional days of learning in Los Angeles this school year. This decision was made despite the fact that recent NAEP scores showed Los Angeles Unified to have had the biggest drop in grade 8 math scores of any major urban school district in the nation.
At a state level, as Ed 100 has shown, California’s students from more affluent backgrounds perform in the middle of the pack relative to their peers nationally. But California’s low income kids perform near the very bottom.
This is the impact of the ruling elite’s policy making.
Just fine for their own kids.
But for other people’s kids?
Their policies equate to a societal train wreck.
Is it any wonder that the State of California is doing what it can to delay the release of test results?
Meanwhile, like a multi-billion dollar train project that cannot even get out of the station …
… so, too, California’s latest multi-billion dollar public education fiasco can’t get out of its station.
And the ruling elite’s mismanagement of public education funding poises the state to treat other people’s kids in the future even worse than they treat other people’s kids today.
If there is any consolation to any of this, it’s that at least, finally, we have seen.
Nury Martinez served on the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education.
This is the way that labor and their beholden policy makers talk about and make decisions affecting other people’s kids behind closed doors at Beaudry.
Kevin de Leon was the President of the California Senate.
This is the way that labor and their beholden policy makers talk about and make decisions affecting other people’s kids behind closed doors in the legislature.
Control in city councils. Control in local school districts. Control in statehouses across the land.
As clear of picture as we’ve seen in years.
It is an incredibly daunting task to attempt to do something about all this.
But this, CharterFolk, is why we exist.
So the next time someone gives you a hard time for being so unreasonable in your critique of the system …
… so “us-them” in your mindset …
… so unapologetically urgent in your quest for change …
… hold up this portrait of how the power elite controls public education to the detriment of other people’s kids and tell them …
… this is why.