Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy is a shiny new $79 million public middle school with 1,154 students in Los Angeles, complete with a school spirit song:
Barack Obama Global
Preparing us for the future
Our alma mater you'll always be
For your dedication
To our education
We'll always have and loyalty
For Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy (2x)
Soaring like an eagle
Above our beloved academy
Developing in our character
And in our integrity
If we believe it
We can achieve it
Our dreams become reality (reality)
Thanks to Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy
Thanks to Barack Obama
Unfortunately, some people are lacking in school spirit. Here's the lone parent's review of Barack Obama on GreatSchools.net:
hi my dauther goes to this school i dont think that for the first year it went good at all the with staft and teachers they didn't had no control on the students i dont now what happen with our principal she was good when she was in forshay with our students on deciplem now the students get to schhool late and they close all the bathroom during classes so when they need to go they can find them open when they switch to another class so they arrive late to class the teachers close there doors and dont let them in even if they see the student running to class
(By the way, this handy GreatSchools website also informs parents that the nearest comparable school to Barack Obama is:
As we saw with the Bush Administration's embarrassing 2003 failure to find any W.D.M.'s in Iraq, many Islamics haven't learned enough yet about how to make W.D.M.'s. So, it's good to see that somebody is working with the next generation to get them up to speed W.D.M.-wise, because I believe the children are our future.)
architect of Barack Obama, the project cost for this 170,000 square foot school on 7 acres was $78,900,000. Capacity of the school is 1,400 students, although they seem to be having trouble getting that many to show up.
The Los Angeles Daily News reported on October 19:
Sharette Arnold simply wanted a safe place for her twin boys.
Fearful of gangs trolling ["Cool story, bro"] her South L.A. neighborhood and dismayed at her sons' falling grades, Arnold took advantage of a less-publicized part of Choices.
She pulled her sons out of the underperforming Barack Obama Global Prep Academy and enrolled them in Hale Charter Academy, a high-achieving campus in Woodland Hills where Cameron and Delion McDonald are thriving.
"Our neighborhood school is new and named for Obama, but it's in a very bad area," Arnold said Friday. "My kids had to walk past prostitutes and gang members, and there were a lot of issues at the school that made it hard for them to concentrate.
"My babies deserve better."
Obama Academy is one of nearly 450 Los Angeles Unified campuses designated as Program Improvement Schools because they've fallen short of academic targets for two consecutive years.
Barack Obama has only been open for two years.
Fortunately, the Obama Administration has a plan to fix what's wrong with Barack Obama: namely, too much discipline. From the Center for Public Integrity:
Alexander Johnson arrived at Barack Obama Global Preparatory Academy to pick up his 12-year-old after school on May 19, 2011.
It's actually "Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy," which is probably wise. The word "preparatory" is practically impossible for anybody in America to pronounce reliably since the death of William F. Buckley Jr.
By the way, have you noticed how schools usually aren't called schools anymore? And the more words in the title of the school, the more doubtful the enterprise, kind of like the Democratic People's Republic of Korea? Practically the only school with a simple name to start up in Southern California in this century was Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, which is where people like Wayne Gretzky, Will Smith, and Joe Montana send their kids. There may be a connection.
When his son, A.J. didn’t appear, Johnson went inside the Los Angeles middle school. What he found was devastating.
A.J. and a friend had gotten into a physical altercation over a basketball game, and school staff had summoned not parents, but police officers. Neither boy was injured, and the school ended up suspending his son for only one day, Johnson said. But officers wrote up a court citation and decided, on the spot, to also handcuff and arrest A.J. as the alleged aggressor — after what Johnson believes was only a cursory look into what had happened.
Despite Johnson’s pleas for another solution to what the citation said was a “mutual fight,” officers drove A.J. to a station, booked him, fingerprinted him and took a mug shot before releasing him. The family hired a lawyer, and school staff later apologized. But Johnson and his wife still can’t comprehend why school officials got police involved. And while school police say they have a duty to fight crime, the Johnsons can’t help but think that officers arrested their son because of snap judgments about African-American kids in South Central Los Angeles.
“He’s got good grades and he’s never been in trouble,” Johnson said he kept telling police. “Tell it to the judge,” he said police replied.
What happened to the Johnsons’ son is the type of incident — in Los Angeles and elsewhere — that has the Obama Administration’s Department of Education and a growing number of juvenile-court judges deeply concerned. In fact, the issue of police citations has been included in a federal review of discipline-reform plans that the Los Angeles Unified School District – under pressure to reduce high rates of suspensions of black students — was required to submit earlier this year to the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights.
An anti-school discipline protest in L.A.
“Generally speaking, in all but the most serious cases we would hope that district officials review a range of options … before referring students to the court system,” the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, Russlynn Ali, told the Center for Public Integrity in an interview that touched on both Los Angeles and national trends.
Russlynn Ali, another member of the Obama Administration's West Indian coterie (Trinidadian subcon version?), is all very fine as a civil rights spokesmodel, but it's just not been the same since Xochitl Hinojosa left the Obama Administration for that campaign job in Nevada.
Months ago, the Los Angeles district failed to submit any records of police citations or arrests of students to Ali’s office so they could be included in the office’s most recent mandatory Civil Rights Data Collection. The collection of those 2009-2010 statistics from most U.S. schools was an unprecedented attempt by the Education Department to assess an apparent national upsurge in referrals of students to law enforcement.
Los Angeles’ data and New York City’s, too, were conspicuously missing. But in April, the Center for Public Integrity and a Los Angeles civil rights group, the Labor-Community Strategy Center, obtained and analyzed a large portion of the L.A. data that Ali’s office had expected to get.
The data — obtained through a public records act request — contained tens of thousands of citations to lower-level juvenile court issued by Los Angeles Unified’s own police force from 2009 through 2011.
The data don’t include arrests, which are recorded separately, or separate citations that officers referred directly to a higher-level delinquency court, where Johnson’s son ended up. The data don’t include tickets written by city police either.
But the citations do likely represent the bulk of police-student interactions, and reveal how pervasive the ticketing of students has become in this large metropolitan district, which is struggling with high dropout rates and budget cuts.
The Center found that Los Angeles’ school officers, part of the largest school police force in the country, issued more than 33,500 tickets to students between 10 and 18 years old over three years. That worked out to about 30 citations a day, every day.
More than 40 percent of these court citations were to kids 14 and younger, mostly for disturbing the peace, followed by daytime curfew violations, including tardiness, and scattered tickets for cigarettes, lighters, marijuana, vandalism or having graffiti “tools,” such as a Sharpie. Black students, about 10 percent of the district’s student body, received 15 to 20 percent of all tickets, depending on the year, and Latino students, 74 percent of enrollment, also received a disproportionate number.
Can't be too disproportionate: the maximum arithmetically possible is that the 74 percent of students who are Latinos get 80 to 85 percent of the tickets.
Additional Center analysis also shows that these lower-level court citations were highly concentrated in low-income areas where children of immigrants and African-American families attend school.
Last year, there were more than 25 middle schools in such areas where at least 50 citations to lower-level court were given to students, many of them 11 and 12 years old. At least a dozen of those schools showed 70 or more tickets issued to students, who were overwhelmingly black and Latino.
After initial findings from the data were disclosed in media reports in late April, students and parents held protests in early May. The Labor-Community Strategy Center urged that the district cut tickets by 75 percent and adopt a moratorium on citations until more studies were done. District police officials declined to stop ticketing, but have engaged in community discussions about reforms.
Ali said she couldn’t comment directly on “independently gathered” Los Angeles statistics. But, she said, “the data you cite reveal, and the recent Civil Rights Data Collection data show nationally, that students of color are disproportionately disciplined.”
In March, Ali’s office revealed the results of what it had gleaned from districts nationwide that had complied and submitted their arrest and citation numbers for 2009-2010. The findings were stark: Black students, 18 percent of enrollment, represented 42 percent of school-based referrals to police. Latinos, 24 percent of enrollment, were 37 percent of school-related arrests.
“While the magnitude of the problem is something those of us involved with civil rights enforcement have been keenly aware of, I would not be telling the truth if I did not say that I found the data surprising and disturbing on a personal level,” Ali said.
Ms. Ali doesn't seem to know what the word "magnitude" means. It's not actually a synonym for "direction."
“Mind you,” she said, “racial disparities revealed by data alone don’t constitute a civil rights violation . . . But at minimum, they should certainly be cause for concern and lead to conversations about why the disparities exist and what can be done to ensure fair learning opportunities for all students.”
A courageous conversation, as Eric Holder, another West Indian, might say.
Ali’s office has offered aid to help districts comply with another upcoming request that’s part of a new national collection of data. ...
Civil rights groups fear that because of this concern for safety, ironically, black, Latino and low-income students are being subjected to unequal police scrutiny over minor matters and more searches than kids in affluent areas.
Zoe Rawson, an attorney with the Labor-Community Strategy Center, who has defended students in court, said: “We are both policing students of color differently because they live in these areas and rely on the public education system, and we are using the police and the courts as a punitive tactic for school discipline despite evidence that it is ineffective, harmful and wasteful.”
... The task force report cited an Arizona State University criminologist who found that a first-time court appearance in high school increases a student’s odds of dropping out by at least a factor of three. The impact was greater for a student who was only marginally delinquent.
Correlation does not imply Caucasian.
Some of Los Angeles’ inner-city schools have struggled with dropout rates as high as 50 percent. The citations examined by the Center were concentrated at those schools, as well as at middle schools that feed students into those secondary schools. ...
Christopher Ortiz, the district’s school operations chief, said in a more recent interview that school administrators are told that that the role of school police is clear: “School police do not do classroom management.” ...
I've been trying to point out for years that public schools need a level of disciplinarians in between teachers and SWAT teams in body armor. If you want smart teachers who like thinking about how best to teach The Great Gatsby or the Quadratic Formula more than they like thinking about how to put punks in their places, you need to back teachers up with Assistant Deans of Discipline, guys with necks wider than their heads who live to put punks in their places.
Up to now, most kids in Los Angeles with lower-level citations have been summoned to an “informal” juvenile court. They must appear with a parent during court hours, which means students miss school and the parent misses work. Students can face hundreds of dollars in fines, and if they don’t show up to court – many are afraid to tell parents about a ticket – their infraction has a misdemeanor offense added on. ...
Jerod Gunsberg, the Johnson boy’s attorney, said that it took six months to get that 12-year-old’s assault charges dismissed in delinquency court. Gunsberg said a probation officer told him she didn’t understand why A.J.'s case was in that court, but that he wasn’t the first student to be referred from his school.
The court put A.J. into an informal diversion program of four sessions of anger-management counseling, asked him to write a book report and urged him to continue to get good grades.
The district said no one at Barack Obama or the district could discuss the case because of confidentiality laws. Statistics show that at least 50 citations for lower-level juvenile court were issued at Barack Obama last year.
A reader writes to explain what's going on: "Schools get a quota of how many black students they can suspend per year. By May 19, 2011 they were no doubt at their limit for the 2010-2011 school year. However, they can still call the school cops to cite or arrest troublemakers."
The Johnsons pulled A.J. out of Barack Obama for a while, but had to drive him a long distance to a more affluent school in Santa Monica. They noticed there were not a lot of police cars patrolling there. At Barack Obama, when his son got into his first fight, “it all went south when police got involved,” Alexander Johnson said. “They didn’t have anyone to handle discipline, and they told me everything goes straight to police.”
The Johnsons put A.J. back in Barack Obama this year, and the school welcomed him back, his parents said, and assured them that a new staffer had been appointed to handle discipline.
Gunsberg said that, unfortunately, even though charges were dismissed and A.J. was not required to formally admit to any wrongdoing, his mug shot and fingerprints remain on file with police until he can try to have them sealed in five years or when he turns 18.
Center for Public Integrity data editor David Donald contributed to this report.Open Market reports that the Obama Administration is even farther along than with Barack Obama in fixing up what's wrong with Oakland's public schools, which is, coincidentally enough, too much discipline:
Under pressure from the Education Department, which investigated it over “racial disparities” and “disparate impact,” the Oakland, California, school system has agreed to impose “targeted reductions in the overall use of student suspensions; suspensions for African American students, Latino students, and students receiving special education services; and African American students suspended for defiance.” ... These “targeted reductions” are racial quotas in all but name. (“Disparate impact” is when a process affects one racial group more than another, despite having no racist motive, such as when whites have higher average scores than minorities on a standardized test.)
By the way, I want to congratulate Hans Bader on really turning his life around since that unfortunate 1988 incident at the Nakatomi Plaza office tower. I guess one night of rehabilitation with Officer John McClane, NYPD, was all it took. Let that be a lesson to us all.