Night. In this version of the dream, the truck fishtails through the curtain of smoke and flame. Off to the right of her MRAP, the water tanker’s metal skin has split open, sending the liquid treasure everywhere. She watches in stutter shutter clicks as the vehicle’s driver fights to keep that bad boy under control, at the same time zig-zagging past the bombed, burning panel truck.
Corporal Jess Dixon is up top manning the M2 machine gun in the open turret. She swings the weapon about in tight arcs on greased ball bearings, sighting down, wishing for a target as she fires blind. The water tanker hits a slick of burning oil and, brakes screeching, flips, and tons of steel go into a slide. Over her headpiece, not the crackle of her CO, but Whitney Houston singing “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay.” The armored vehicle clips the tanker, but that ain’t no thing,
When New York rapper Jay-Z played the Rose Bowl last summer, he surprised 90,000 concertgoers by making a political statement. Before launching into his hit “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” he urged fans to vote for a California ballot initiative that would dramatically reduce the state’s prison population and re-direct money into education and treatment programs.
“Prop 47, California! Build more schools, less prisons!” he exhorted.
A few weeks later, two other public figures delivered a similar rap, albeit in a different forum. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece, Newt Gingrich, the Republican politician, and B. Wayne Hughes Jr., a conservative Christian businessman, similarly urged Californians to end bloated spending on prisons and reverse tough-on-crime policies that they say have failed to significantly improve public safety. Among other things, Gingrich and Hughes pointed out that California now spends $62,396 per prisoner each year,
“Son of a . . . ”
Splitting a knuckle open, Jess Dixon grunted through gritted teeth. Working to get the rusted wheel nut loose, it had come undone too fast as she wrenched on the tire iron. Her hand banged onto the edge of the wheel well.
Ignoring the pain, she hurried and got done removing the slashed tire and put the spare on and secured it in place on the hub. The spare was not in good shape, worn smooth on one side, the steel belt underneath just about exposed. She didn’t dig her job but she couldn’t be losing it either.
She got her car going and drove to work, hoping she wouldn’t have a blowout on the lousy tire. Because she got up early each morning, and knew how to change a tire and a few other car repairs from her Uncle Hank showing her,
Throughout 2011 and 2012, the eyes of the education world were focused on Adelanto, a small, working class town in California’s High Desert. A war had broken out there over the future of the K-6 Desert Trails Elementary School and its 660 low-income Latino and African-American students. When the dust settled, Desert Trails Elementary was gone. In its place was a bitterly divided community and the Desert Trails Preparatory Academy, the first (and so far, only) school in California and the U.S. to be fully chartered under a Parent Trigger law, which allows a simple majority of a school’s parents to wrest control of a low-performing school from a public school district, and transform it into a charter school.
Tiny Adelanto’s turmoil reflects a much larger battle now being fought across America between defenders of traditional public education and a self-described reform movement whose partisans often favor the privatization and deregulation of education.
Whether or not Parent Trigger represents a bold frontier in the movement to privatize the nation’s public education system, its implementation in California’s High Desert does bear some of the freewheeling aspects of the old Wild West.
Particularly when it comes to accountability and due process. Where do parents or teachers blow the whistle if they suspect a charter school is violating education code or the promises made to students in its own chartering language?
In California, the chartering school district has the statutory authority, and arguably the responsibility, to investigate violations of the law and of the school’s charter. Under Education Code §47607, it may revoke a school’s charter if the school violates the law or violates the conditions set forth in its charter.
Eight former Desert Trails teachers have emphasized to Capital & Main that it was only after frustrated parents told them that Parent Revolution said they were on their own in working out any grievances directly with Desert Trails that the teachers stepped in and took their own allegations of code and charter violations to the school’s chartering authority,