05/12/2005 07:47 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

I Will Name Names

I am the founder and CEO of the Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF) and the View Park Preparatory Charter Schools. Since 1994, ICEF has opened after school programs, a childcare center, and three of the highest performing public (charter) schools in Los Angeles. All of our schools are located in the Crenshaw District in South Los Angeles.

In South Los Angeles bounded by the 10 freeway to the north, the 110 freeway to the east, the 105 freeway to the south, and La Cienga Boulevard to the west, there are:

• 62,000 school children in grades K-12. If it were its own school district, it would be the 5th largest in the state of California.
• There are 3,950 students in the 9th Grade at the four major high schools: Crenshaw, Dorsey, Manual Arts, and Washington Preparatory.
• Only around 1,600 graduate from these four high schools.
• Over 2, 300 drop out.

But what about the success stories? What happens to the kids that persevere through the social unrest, the huge class sizes, the lack of text books, the gang violence, the culture of low expectations and excuses?

Each year, of the 1,600 graduates from the big 4 high schools in South Los Angeles only 900 go to college. Of the 900 who attend college, only 258 graduate from college.

How or why are our public schools in South Los Angeles so utterly broken? Why won’t anybody stand up and be accountable for the total failure of these schools? Some are quick to blame the lack of money, but these 62,000 school children are getting nearly $9,000 in public funds per student for a total of half a billion a year. Half a billion a year and the end result is 258 college graduates a year!!!

There are four special interests that have blocked, clogged, and undermined reform for decades. It is all about money, control, and power. It is diseased value system that leaves our kids uneducated, exposed to violence and drugs, and with too few or zero opportunities to pursue the American Dream. Who are the four? Emphatically, I name names: the teacher’s unions, the University Schools of Education, the bureaucracies, and (unbelievably) the PTA’s.

In my blogs, I will name the leaders of these entities and expose their lies, their self-interest, and their unwillingness to change the status quo.