I am an LAUSD parent, and I am scared.

They say you have to name your problem, and this is it.  I feel that I am part of an overwhelmingly vast educational institution, that has been usurped by corporate political forces.  And I feel there is no one out there protecting my interests, the educational interests of my children.

This weekend comes the news slipped in below last week’s headlines that the new LAUSD’s Board of Education (BOE) president, Dr Vladovic, has opted to disband the Common Core Technology Project Committee.  Known endearingly as CCTP – an acronym even a mother would have trouble loving – the ponderous name belied a simple purpose:  watch the implications of the new Common Core and its primary, corporate-driven dictat that Technology be brought front and center to K12 education.

Chaired by corporate-interests nemesis Mónica Ratliff, this committee has been highlighting issue upon issue regarding the rollout of a (minimum) $1B technology-equipment purchase. There has been a steady stream of embarrassing details featuring incompetence, ignorance and corruption among the hand-picked 6-figure administrative team muscled in by our superintendent, himself hand-picked by corporate interests.  The moniker of this committee, its epitaph perhaps, should be “Let me get back to you on that”.

Back to you, that is, on the expenditure of one billion dollars’ worth of public bond monies allocated by the public, for the public, for the sole and explicit purpose of ensuring that our schools retain adequate funds for infrastructure and construction.

I understand that a debatably convoluted and/or tortured argument could be made that this ipad initiative is all part and parcel of infrastructure upgrade.  I’m all for an infrastructure upgrade and would frankly like to see the “accessibility gap” obliterated, perhaps by blanketing the city with wifi.  But I am no expert on things technological, I do not know the solution.  I believe simply that access to technology is indeed a civil rights issue best addressed on a level more basic than that of K12 education; it is a matter of basic communal living so baseline-infrastructural that it deserves to be considered part of the business of the City of Los Angeles itself.

In the meantime, the oversight of funds appropriated for the explicit purpose of maintaining our schools is being undermined.  The Bond Oversight Committee made an explicit recommendation regarding appropriations for technology that the LAUSD BOE actually rejected.  A committee of citizens convened with the mandate to make sure that the purpose for which our hard-earned tax dollars were set-aside would be honored, was made redundant by our elected BOE officials who chose to blithely ignore its recommendations.

The abrogation of this Bond Oversight Committee, headed by a careful investigator with impressive civil rights litigation credentials, is a very scary development.  If someone like this can be rolled over in the wake of this ipad rollout, then who or what is left to protect us from momentum of all this corporate manhandling of public monies?

Between the disbanding of the CCTP, the ignoring of the citizens oversight committee, and the angling for wresting away Ms LaMotte’s skeptical, watchdog legacy, I feel very nervous about the prospects for my child in LAUSD.  While arts funding is willfully expunged at the expense of some of the world’s largest businesses (Apple, Pearson) and plutocrats (Broad, Gates), it is hard to see the plain interests of regular-old K12 students being looked after at all in this new year.