Our school board’s disruptive and disorderly termination of the LBUSD Community Learning Center (CLC) is a case study in how our elected school officials shift blame for bad governance to teachers, students and parents.
For 30 years our school board offered CLC at the Top of the World campus as a school choice for families committed to alternative education. CLC parents and students with high satisfaction level were stunned by an immediate unplanned shut down of the “school-within-a-school” so long valued by the community.
School board member Peggy Wolff told impacted families innovation and enhancement in public school general education “caught up with CLC” and made alternate education obsolete. CLC parents disagreed, explaining it as a tried and true community school partnership, its potential for improvement always allowed to evolve as an exercise of local control in public schools.
The truth is public general education did not change much less improve in ways that surpassed CLC, as Wolff asserted. Rather, CLC was left behind when the school board, school district and TOW principal simply lost interest and abandoned local innovation, rush instead to dedicate human as well budgetary resources to new experimental innovations mandated by new state curriculum standards.
The facts speak for themselves. As the Indy reported (“Schools Hire Principal, Suspend CLC” Indy, June 16), “For years, the program has not undergone annual evaluations, its class-size is significantly lower than elsewhere in the district, and it has mandated parent participation.” The Indy correctly reported that this failure to make required annual evaluations created “gaps in compliance with the state Education Code.”
It is the legal duty of the school board, superintendent, assistant superintendent for curriculum and TOW principal to conduct the annual evaluations that prevent the kind of gross non-compliance that would justify an unplanned shut down. Yet, conditions of non-compliance due to incompetent school governance are being given as reasons parent and student requests at the very least for an orderly transition were denied, making use of the word “hiatus” disingenuous.
Wolff boldly told parents and students even a one year transition would be “fiscally irresponsible.” That unintentionally confirmed the real reason CLC was sacrificed, which Wolff had no way of knowing the Indy would reveal in its article reporting that, “Superintendent Jason Viloria said…the district is currently overstaffed due to declining enrollment.”
But stayed tuned for the other half of the story next week.
Howard Hills, Laguna Beach