Steve Lopez, a columnist for the L.A. Times, is outraged by the low and negative vote on Measure EE. He wrote that city gave a collective shrug.

On this, the last week of school before summer break in the Los Angeles Unified School District, voters have sent a loud and clear message to roughly 600,000 students:

Your schools may be crumbling, your libraries may be closed, your class sizes may be unmanageably large, about 90% of you live in poverty and thousands of you are homeless, but who cares?

The Measure EE parcel tax on Tuesday’s ballot needed two-thirds approval and didn’t even get 50%. It would have cost the average homeowner about 75 cents a day. As supporters pointed out, California is in the bottom tier of funding per pupil nationally, and New York City schools spend about $8,000 more per student than L.A. Unified spends.

The response from Los Angeles was a shrug…

As hopes for EE’s passage faded Tuesday night, an East L.A. grandmother told me she had voted yes, partly because she wants a nurse at her granddaughter’s school more than just once a week.

“This is a crisis,” said Maria Leon.

The principal of Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima, where nearly a quarter of the students were recently classified as homeless, told me he tried his best to counter social media attacks on Measure EE.

“Do I want to see my taxes go up? No,” said Jose Razo. “But I want to invest in the future of our kids, and $220 for me is a small price to pay to make class sizes smaller and bring back the things we so desperately need. I get it. It’s supposed to be the state that takes care of us. But until they get their act together, we have to do what we can for our kids.”

Glenn Sacks, a social studies teacher at James Monroe High School in North Hills, expressed his frustrated exhaustion as he watched the election news Tuesday night.

I think as LAUSD has become so heavily minority, so heavily poor … the public feels it doesn’t have a stake in public education anymore, and they’re willing to let conditions deteriorate,” said Sacks, whose class sizes are as high as 41 students.

“People say don’t complain about class sizes, deport the illegals, you’re lousy teachers turning out a lousy product, and a lot of this is just nonsense. The kids I teach, I love them, and they learn, and I wouldn’t want to teach anyone else. But they start out so far behind the white middle-class kids they’re being compared to, inevitably they’re going to look like they’re not succeeding and we’re not succeeding, and I’m amazed that people can’t see through that.”

Sacks is framing the dark narrative here, the one that says a great deal about race and class in Los Angeles, and about practical and psychic distance between haves and have-nots. Most voters don’t send their kids to L.A. Unified schools, don’t venture into neighborhoods where the challenge for educators is greatest and never see firsthand the promise and possibility in the faces of those 600,000 children, 90% of whom are minorities.

Absent that connection, cynicism comes easily, and it’s more convenient to complain about the wording or burden of a ballot measure than to stand with children who could use a little more help.

It’s easier to shrug, to vote no, to skip the election altogether and say sorry, kids, have a nice summer.

My friends, we see the same phenomenon in district after district, state after state. The kids are black and brown, the legislators are white. They don’t want to pay to educate those kids.

Guess what? They are our kids. They are our future.