It’s upsetting to have your organization’s assets stolen. Re-configuring public schools into carved-up smaller bites means not only instituting inefficiencies of scale but artificially imposing a system of scarcity and competition. Like the high-tech companies that aim to impose their culture of business on our schools, this market runs off human beings as its capital resource.

And this is what makes charter schools play so poorly with the neighbors they “co-locate”. These schools compete for the resources of the schools’ student population. They rank students in some snapshot-in-time fashion, for example by standardized test or, say, economic status (title-I eligible students represent their own market of higher–remunerated federal funds). And then they set out to compete with other schools by luring them into this artificially constricted enrollment-space.

The same is true for teachers. As a resource, they are limited and available of course within their small school only. They represent an institutional “asset” that is competed for between schools. Schools aim to lure their pick of the most qualified within their limited sphere. And this sequesters that teacher from the rest of the community.

By constructing artificial boundaries, the assets within these boundaries cannot be shared. Teachers and students both are bought and sold like so much stock. The market of “educational Reform”, bears competition not only within but between separate schools.

Among other problems with this system, is that it constructs a universe of winners and losers. The losers are on several scales: on the level of your own child and on the level of your whole society. Not, perhaps, your child literally if you have opted out of the system altogether, into private schools. But certainly on the level of your whole society, presuming you consider yourself part of it. When a child is relegated to a community where the upper echelon of teachers have fled, they are constrained by sub-standard pedagogy. Concentrating the superior removes their influence from the rest and mires the remainder among ever-diminishing resources.

This does not have to be the case. We can choose otherwise. When schools operate with a district and teachers are considered personnel worthy of support, encouragement and professional development, the capital of their intellectual betterment is shared between colleagues and thereby among students tangentially. When instead their influence is walled-off within isolated small communities, their talent is hoarded and the community as a whole loses.

That is the model of capitalism and competition. If you believe in the “social Darwinian” forces of winners and losers, then perhaps this could be tolerable. But when we live on one planet, in one city side-by-side with all individuals, we are all of us, touched by this system. Relegating some of them to the losing end of this stick, relegates us one and all to the same depreciating forces.

In an economic market, businesses go “out of business” and cease operations. In a society, there is no other place for people to be; forcing individuals “out of business” ought not to be a practice anyone could condone. Not, at least, if we consider it important to construct and maintain a compassionate society.

Note that it matters not whether the encroaching school is designated a “charter”, meaning it operates largely outside the confines of the school district’s rules, or a “pilot”, utilizing the district’s teachers within its isolated boundaries. The net result is the same, drawing a line around your world and saying “mine”. “I claim this for my own and you may not have any of the cookies we share here”.

Monies are distributed to these separate schooling entities disproportionately and unfairly; teachers are lured from one to another at the expense of the schools they leave behind. Stability is one of the foundational rock-bottom necessities for human beings to grow up strong, solid of character and sound of mind. Yanking their teachers hither and yon, diminishing their scholastic world from year to year, denying them the educational institutional expectation of robust schools one month to the next … this is how we get to a degenerate society.

There is no need for such competition within a district where resources are shared. But as soon as rigid boundaries are imposed and competition is artificially imposed, the game changes forever. Instead of the community opting to “float the boat of all”, leveraging children ever upward within a community of educational gain, and even bettering teachers professionally, instead we have imposed a competitive school model upon ourselves – seemingly voluntarily. With the opening of more charters and now pilot schools than in any other school district across this nation, LAUSD encourages the economic and lifestyle system of “winner take all“; of Sneetches with ‘stars upon thars‘, have and have-nots and one class of children left with ever-shrinking, ever poorer and unsatisfied needs.

For example, last year Venice High School was ambushed with a plan to co-locate a “pilot” school on its campus conceived and participated-in by no one from that campus at all. This educational entity was in no way a “pilot” school just because, as claimed, it was proposed by a LAUSD teacher. A pilot school empowers a school’s current faculty by permitting them to test (“pilot”) a planned improvement at their facility. Instead, this conniving variant presented as a clandestine vector for infiltrating and replacing one school’s program with another’s.

And lo it has come to pass. After grousing about being vilified and misunderstood in every venue across LA’s westside that would tolerate their crocodile tears, from print to public forum, Steve Barr’s and Sujata Bhatt’s falsely-termed “pilot” school has insinuated itself into Playa Vista’s Elementary School and proceeded to parasitize west LA’s established, excellent, middle school district teachers. First targeting a select community that is then wicked specifically from the whole, this ploy isolates and segregates sub-populations. It segregates our society. To the detriment of all.

For as the teachers go, so their students will follow, leaching enrollment and veering ever closer to some looming, vague tipping-point of no return regarding minimal adequacy within our district schools. It is not possible to drain away all resources and retain anything but a condemned system.