I don’t think there is enough careful listening in the educational world.

Perhaps this is just a Brave New World of Rudeness? As in, ‘no one listens, ever’? I hear a lot of adults complaining about their kids who fail to listen: “kids these days”. But I must say, there’s an awful lot of poor listening behavior out there among adults to model.

Because, for example, I simply cannot believe that parents would stand for the conditions they send their children off to school in, not for one second, if they really understood what was happening, if they really heard what was being said.

Who would countenance a secondary classroom filled with fifty students? Would you be comfortable taking a class with that many pupils? Do you feel you would receive adequate attention from the instructor? Would you receive assistance in learning? Would your child if you sent them to school in such conditions? Would you knowingly send your child to school in such conditions? Would you accept it for yourself if you had a choice?

OK, so at least that’s not a situation in which your child is overtly exposed to danger. Not unless you consider intellectual and physical danger on par, though there are those who would.

Yet note that classrooms stuffed with so many children that there are no available seats, or the seats so clog the room as to hamper egress, tilt from the intellectually dangerous straight into the outright physically dangerous too.

I don’t know about your family’s school, but my child attends at least one public district classroom so crowded that it seems unlikely it would be physically possible to evacuate the room sufficiently rapidly for safety in the event of, say, a fire or earthquake. I suspect this is not a unique occurrence; it happens, and authorities turn a deaf ear to fears about it.

Thus it’s not just parents who are not listening to news; school administrators hear no evil either. They broadcast none, either by directive or imperative to create a rose-colored atmosphere, and they countenance none for perhaps the same reasons. There are unsafe, unsanitary, unsavory, unhealthy conditions throughout our schools, but no one is listening long enough to address complaints about them. Moreover it is unclear the information is conveyed to parents despite their listening-status, whether conscientious or unconscious.

Case in point is that the horrific, all-around damaging activities of teacher Mark Berndt never did happen in a vacuum. Kids told their story many times over, but it simply was not heard. Complaints were accepted but no one seems to have listened carefully for the implicit danger.

What about filth? Would you consent to sit in a room for seven hours per day that is caked in filth and grease in the corners, beneath windows and on the blinds, with ground in dirt and gum and unreconstituted breakfast scattered around? How about burned out lights for half a year or more or missing tiles or malfunctioning heating and cooling? Reeking bathrooms or mildewing fabrics or decaying stairways?

Do parents really understand the conditions they are sending their children to day after day? These are not conditions they would accede to themselves, generally. And I therefore find it very hard to believe that any caring parent who would surely reject such neglect for their own person, would condone it instead for their nearest and dearest. It is far easier for me to believe that they simply do not know; they are not listening.

And yet, why does all this go unheard? Has it not been shouted from enough roof tops, shown in pictures and explained by teachers?

Or has it? Have teachers, the adult workers in these situations, actually spoken up enough to explain what sort of abysmal conditions they not only work in, but squire our children through? Have the teachers been telling us, the parents, what’s up? Have we been listening?

Have administrators reported these conditions honestly and fairly, irrespective of their own personal reputation or the school’s professional one?   Are conditions adequately communicated to parents or taxpayers, bosses or politicians? Because I cannot understand why such conditions could persist had these lessons been conveyed adequately. If they were communicated, the message was not received. It was not heard.

Perhaps no one is listening.

No one is listening, I know for certain, when actual statisticians point out the travesty of statistical abuse that results in real, live human beings losing their job over erroneous findings.

No one is listening when actual children point out their experience interacting with a teacher of questionable morals.

No one is paying attention to visuals of filth and neglect or lists of repairs so numerous as to be irremediable. A concerted hue and cry brought some relief to a backlog of instrument repairs in the district, but how many schools even retain instructional music?

Other cries of alarm in what must be a forest empty of hearing listeners include: children attending schools with no nurse present (I witnessed a kid the other day so sick he could not keep his head up but who had to slump in an office chair unattended for three hours prior to being collected because absent a nurse the health office was closed); college and psychological counselors holding untenable caseloads to the point of non-functionality; libraries locked tight for want of librarian staff; music rooms laying silent, and art rooms and print rooms and industrial and vocational ed programs all devalued or shuttered; auditoriums grown moldy and underused and engaging field trips a wistful memory of the past.

These things are talked about but somehow there is a communicative disconnect between the teachers, the administrators, the media, and even parents who decry these problems, and the preponderance of the citizenry who could affect improvement amidst all this neglect if only they would hear of it.

People – lots of people – have been challenging the priorities tacitly touted in exalting a 1:1 technology-mediated testing program. But the rest of the population has not been listening. Most people still do not understand the educational revolution that is CCSS, with its attendant new curricula narrowed to commercialized tests and AWOL text books and elimination of honors coursework; it’s a lowest-common-denominator jobs training program that lionizes academics while eliminating intellectualism.

Lots has been written on the subject, many are appalled, and yet very few act on these circumstances that do not serve our children well.

There is a communicative disconnect between people on the ground experiencing modern education and the rest of us, consigned with a capacity to weigh in on policy, but absent any proclivity to. Listening, hearing, engaging – I don’t know where the bottleneck is, but somehow, for some reason, today’s education-information is just not flowing properly.

With more listening perhaps MiSiS and its related crisis that continues to paralyze much of the district would not have been discharged prematurely. With more hearing perhaps the frankly embarrassing saga of a suspect technology contract claimed canceled, yet not actually cancelled and thus reinstated, only to be repealed following an actual, literal federal raid and investigation, could have been more decorously administered.

Angelenos need to engage more directly in the actualization of Beaudry budgetary shenanigans. All the chicken-little shrieking that “There Is No Money, There Is No Money!” belies the reality that the LAUSD budget rivals all of municipal Los Angeles’, and vast sums are being spent on upper management with unbelievably poor outcomes among them. Our children need that money for their education. It is not acceptable that so much goes to stuffed suits juggling contracts and conferences, nor for want of proper oversight to lawsuits doling out mea culpas in hindsight for inconceivable antics that never under any conceivable circumstance should have been allowed to happen in the first place.

Listen up Los Angeles: our kids need you to hear what is going on. We need to ensure our children their rightful education.