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Doug Krikorian's Viewpoint

LBUSD Superintendent Jill Bakerís 70,000 Student Online Virtual Teaching Miscalculation A Disaster!

by Doug Krikorian
Special to LBREPORT.com

Mr. Krikorian, an award winning journalist and author of two books, earned multiple awards in his 22 years of writing for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and 22 years for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He is happily retired.



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(Sept. 22, 2020, 8:15 p.m.) -- There is a mournful silence, as I take my daily morning walk past Naples Elementary School, a funereal quietness of gloom, a ghost structure of emptiness despite a sprawling playground brimming with slides, monkey bars, swings, basketball courts and despite a one-year $7 million renovation of classrooms now equipped with air condition and new windows and other upgrades in the main office, library and auditorium.

There should be the glad ritual of kids being brought to school by their parents and there should be the joyful noise of kids engaging in their recreational endeavors and there should be bells ringing signaling recesses, lunchtime and the start and the finish of the educational proceedings.

But there is only a custodian doing his labors and there is only a smattering of teachers showing up for work that is done on a computer with kids between six and 11 who should be present but aren't because of the fear-fueled policies of the scandalously over-paid new superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District, Jill Baker.

"Why aren't the kiddies here?" I always say to one of the usual five Naples teachers -- out of 14 -- who make a daily appearance at the Naples school.

This time I say it to Karen Rogers, who's been an instructor there for 20 years.

She shrugs and says, "Believe me, I wish they were here. We miss them, I'm sure they miss being here. But, well, it is what it is."

But it doesn't have to be this way.

It isn't this way, oh, a few miles away in a precinct known as Orange County, where the schools have been opening up for the students.

But not in Long Beach, where 70,000 have been kept from attending the classrooms and have been remanded to virtual on-line instruction at least until January 28, 2021, in a decision by Jill Baker that I strongly think will have chillingly negative long-term disruptive effects on so many of the students she is supposed to be helping and protecting.

And I'm certainly not the only who has such thoughts.

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In fact, after interviewing four ladies, three of whom have children enrolled in Long Beach schools, on the subject Monday afternoon, I'm more convinced than ever that Jill Baker with her oh-so predictable stance -- it's right out of the Gavin Newsom-Eric Garcetti-Robert Garcia playbook --- makes about as much sense as, well, the Long Beach Board of Education giving Mrs. Baker a big, fat $58,000-a-year raise and a four-year, $1.380 million contract.

This at a time when the LBUSD cut its budget 10 percent and had a $72 million shortfall and at a time when so many administrators in America are taking pay cuts or being furloughed or being fired.

Of course, it was this same stellar group of LB Board of Education members that back on March 14 gave Jill Baker the unilateral power to make whatever edict she saw fit without their consent -- and this is the reason I never will in this column reveal the names of these numskulls to spare them everlasting public shame.

And this is the reason so many parents in the Long Beach community are bitterly upset at the direction Jill Baker has taken her school district---and the lives of 70,000 of its students -- this year, next year and who knows what dark plans she and her willing accomplices have set for future years.

"This on-line education is a total disservice to K-12 kids," says Brenda Durnin, who has children 11 and 14 and has been the PTA president for two years at Rogers Middle School and handled similar duties for three at Naples. "Those in school administration drone on endlessly about equity, which is fine. But it's an inequity to what they're now doing to the kids. They're not learning properly under the current conditions. We originally were supposed to go back to school in early October, but of course we didn't. This is like a nightmare that won't go away -- and the kids are the ones suffering the most."

"How do you learn anything when you no longer have any homework?" says Tracy King, who has sons in high school. "How do you learn anything when a geometry teacher talks about feelings? Really now. This whole on-line thing has no doubt caused widespread depression among many kids. It's not normal for kids not socializing with other kids, especially in the K-6 schools."

"I myself for the past two years have taken on-line classes from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix," says Victoria Lee Scott, local hair salon legend (Sunset Hair Salon, Too) and long-time conservative radio commentator. "It's been fine, except when a teacher gives you a generated test and you can't discuss with him about the answers you got wrong.

"But I'd never recommend on-line instruction for young children. They lack discipline. They lack obedience. They have a very short attention span. On-line instruction is terrible for the kids."

"It's certainly been very challenging for my son," says Sandra O'Toole, the long-time popular business law professor at Long Beach City College who herself much to her displeasure must teach her pupils on-line daily for the rest of the school year.

Indeed, Tommy O'Toole plays basketball and baseball at Wilson High, and last spring missed playing baseball like a lot of other athletes did around Southern California -- and will be forced early next year to make a decision to play either basketball or baseball because their seasons are now scheduled to overlap.

He's also been a straight A student during his time at Wilson, but the on-line grading system is a pass-or-fail setup, which could have a negative impact on his college choices.

"This whole on-line K-12 system has become a Dystopian nightmare," says Mrs. O'Toole. "My son isn't learning at the level he should be. He starts at 7:50 and finishes at 1:30. In one of his classes, a teacher actually came right out and said he was a hard-core liberal. Can you imagine the ruckus that would be caused if one of the other teachers at the school came out and told his students he was a hard-core conservative? He immediately would be suspended, or fired on the spot.

"The fact is this on-line system keeps kids from interacting with one another, from doing what kids have been doing in our school system for 150 years. It wouldn't surprise me if more than half the students in Long Beach aren't even doing on-line instruction. No way we should have closed down our schools. Like I read somewhere, we should live with the virus, instead of live for it."


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Previously by Mr. Krikorian:

>Krikorian Notes: From The 9 Unworthies Of The LB City Council To The LB Upstick In Shootings And Speeding To Restauranteur John Morris Horseback Riding On A Wyoming Mountaintop To The Walking Adventures Of Earth Man


Jeff Cozart's Time Of Torment: Will His Belmont Athletic Club Survive Gavin Newsomís Latest Lockdown?
Krikorian Notes: A Labor Day Elegy For Those In The Long Beach Business Community Who Were Violated In The Memorial Day Looting Frenzy To The Palm Tree Limbs Littering 2nd Street To The Scooters Littering The Belmont Shore Bridge To The Virtual On-Line Spectacle At Big Mike O'Toole's Household
Krikorian Notes: From Long Beach Mayor's Ascent To Dem Stardom Because Of Lockstep Embrace Of The Party's Policies To The Enchanting Parklet Dining On 2nd Street To Tearing Down The Hoops in Belmont Shore To Greg Silver's LB Departure To Huntington Beach To Bob Rice Protecting Me From Isiah Robertson
Don Kramer Was A Character Like No Other With His Zaniness, Goofiness, Joyfulness, Kindliness Who Left All Who Knew Him With Lasting Memories Of Slapstick Antics And Mirthful Anecdotes
Krikorian Notes: From Majority Of LB Teachers Skipping Classrooms For The Comforts Of Home To Dr. Jill Baker Becoming Another Maria Montessori To Terry Antonelli Discussing Resurrection of L'Opera To Mayor Robert Garcia Touted By MSNBC's Brian Williams As A Future U.S. Senator To Kershaw's Magical Transformation
Long Beach's Renaissance Man, Chuckie Miller, Reflects On His Entrepreneurial Life And On Racial Inequity
Krikorian Notes: From LB's Elected Leadership's Reimagining Delusions To the Gaslamp's Outdoor Wall Video Band Show To The Ghastly USC Coach, Clay Helton
FDR's Grandson, Delano Roosevelt, Talks Democratic Party, JetBlue, Long Beach And His Life
LBPD Chief Robert Luna: Stand Up For Your Fifty Ousted Cops!
What Next From Long Beach Health Boss Kelly Colopy, Hazmat Suits For Our Restaurant Servers?
Sadly, Our National Pastime No Longer A Pastime For Me
Parklets! Three Cheers For Long Beach Politicians!
Memo To LBUSD Sup Jill Baker: Return The Kids To the Classroom!
A 2 1/2-Hour Commute To Work A Joy To This 86-Year Old Gentleman
Long Beach Politicians Once Again Fail Long Beach
Is Long Beach Destined to Become the City That Never Sleeps?
I Never Thought I'd Live To See These...
Ben Goldberg Exits Long Beach, Now Nearby Refugee In OC
Long Time Long Beach Resident Dave Lopez Climaxes Storied 48-Year TV Career
From Krikorian's Notebook: When Will LB Police Chief Luna Come Clean About May 31 Downtown Long Beach Looting Frenzy?
From Krikorian's Notebook: (1) LBUSD Mgm't Mulls Keeping K-5 Kids Indoors Without Normal Access To Playground, Cafeteria, Auditorium Activities; (2) And More...
Will LB's New School Sup't Allocate Untimely Pay Raise To Serve Students?
Awaiting Governor's Dictate To Decide Fate Of This Year's (July 3) "Big Bang On the Bay"
Mayor/Council Sounds Of Silence After LB Cops Let Some Pillage Our Village
Excuses By Long Beach Police & Politicians Dishearten Damaged LB Businesses
Hallelujah! LB Mayor Pleads For Sac'to Permission To Lift Closures That Needn't Have Occurred
Speak Up, Mr. Mayor, On Governor's Unwise Edicts. You Can Do That And You Should
My Beloved Long Beach: A Victim Of Irrational Government Overreach Beyond Reasoned Response To Virus
Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in LBREPORT.com's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. LBREPORT.com isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. LBREPORT.com is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.



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