Wednesday, April 5, 2017

SMMUSD'S NEW SUPERINTENDENT- FINALLY RACIAL JUSTICE? - Perdaily.com

SMMUSD'S NEW SUPERINTENDENT- FINALLY RACIAL JUSTICE? - Perdaily.com:

SMMUSD'S NEW SUPERINTENDENT- FINALLY RACIAL JUSTICE?

Dr. Ben Drati.jpg

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.

Dr. Drati believes the "people leading schools have best intentions in mind," when the reality is that we have 2.3 million people presently being incarcerated in our prisons- 1 million of whom are African American. Fixing our schools, so that minority students would now come out of school socialized and highly educated and employable, could not help but cut into these rates of incarceration and the obscene corporate profits that have been generated by them for so long.

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:



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