SMMUSD'S NEW SUPERINTENDENT- FINALLY RACIAL JUSTICE?
On Sunday April 2nd the Committee for Racial Justice in Santa Monica had as their guest speaker Dr. Ben Drati, the relatively new African American superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD). What Dr. Drati discussed in his presentation was SMMUSD's decision to once and for all effectively deal with the unacceptable realities behind why African American and Latino students have continued to do poorly at SMMUSD and what can be done to finally close this achievement gap in a manner where the positive results are independently and empirically verifiable.
While I found that I had some problems with Dr. Drati's approach to achieving minority student parity with their usually more affluent and academically more successful non-minority peers, what I nonetheless found refreshing in his approach was a clear willingness to incorporate any ideas that might help him and SMMUSD to finally allow minority students to achieve their potential.
In the "coherent and cohesive focus" that Dr. Drati seeks to finally implement at SMMUSD in improving minority achievement, for me it is a sine qua non that Dr. Drati not underestimate the entrenched "culture of opposition" that he will surely come up against, when his reforms challenge the vested and very profitable interests of those who are doing just fine financially under the present system.
There is also a tendency to minimize or not really understand just how profound of a positive effect a good and pragmatically driven public education system has, when it does something more than just mouth platitudes, which most of those presently running the system don't even really believe in. For example, Dr. Drati presented a list of several factors that schools could not control in dealing with SMMUSD'S NEW SUPERINTENDENT- FINALLY RACIAL JUSTICE? - Perdaily.com: