This letter to parents from LAUSD dated March 22, 2017 has sparked a huge controversy in North Hollywood! Why? Because some folks took the letter and ran with it, all the way to raceville by using the following language and quote “too many whites” to inflame and enrage parents. The reality is that PHBAO (Predominantly Hispanic, Black, Asian, or Non-Anglo) status has been around since the late ‘70s as a result of a court order. Per LAUSD’s website, “Under a court-ordered integration program that has been in place since 1978, PHBAO schools qualify for smaller class sizes and additional positions. When a school no longer qualifies for PHBAO status, fewer positions are funded.” So PHBAO is part of a 1978 court decision which was originally implemented to combat the effects of segregation.
This and other information on PHBAO is readily available on the district website and has been for many years. Apparently, it is something that white people have never complained about before, maybe since they have benefitting from it until now. It certainly is not a new concept. Nevertheless, white people are now highly upset in the demographic change. Several news outlets reported the letter and chose to use the unfortunate language, which is nowhere in the letter. Here are some sample reports:
Dailywire: Parents Outraged After School Budget Cuts Due To ‘Too Many White Students’
Daily News: North Hollywood school faces cuts because of rise in white student population
Freebeacon: California School Faces Budget Cuts Because It Has Too Many White Students
AmericaNow: Race-Motivated LAUSD Cutbacks Spark Anger
This racist site posted the story but the comments were even more telling: http://louderwithcrowder.com/school-funding-cut-too-many-white-students/
An simple online search (Google, Yahoo, Bing) about this story led me to a variety of known alt right websites and other racist sites as well. Has the sleeping white giant been awakened?
I first saw the article about this letter posted on my Facebook feed by a somewhat intolerant older gentlemen (white) and former teacher. It was captioned “too many white students…”
I took a look at the lengthy list of schools in PHBAO status and noticed that most of the schools at LAUSD are on the list. Typically, these schools get additional attention/resources, such as priority in class size reduction, additional parent conferences, priority staffing program, school readiness programs and a program called Medical-Counseling, Organizing and Recruiting (Med-COR).
The Letter sent out by LAUSD simply stated that the change in demographics means that the additional resources will no longer be available under the program, but that the district is considering other funding options including per pupil funding to fend off some of the staff cuts that are being proposed in 2018-2019. I saw nothing in the letter which could be deemed as offensive.
Fast forward to the caption from FOX News: California middle school losing funding because it has too many white students.
So, what just happened? This and other articles made it sound as if district officials said that there were too many white students by using that language in quotations. Well, when you put it that way…which the school did not, I guess it’s offensive. But only if you are an ignorant parent that has ignored every letter from the school stating its PHBAO status!
Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood has enjoyed PHBAO status for many years. To wit, not one complaint. We also could not find any evidence of stories entitled “too many kids of color” or anything resembling that statement. My conclusion is…Spurious Acrimony.
*More information on PHBAO Program at LAUSD
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