xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Don't Forget South Central: March 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

United States Congress Writes Letter About California Stimulus Funds

Twenty-six members of Congress have written to Governor Schwarzenegger and Superintendent O'Connell urging released stimulus funds to be used to SAVE JOBS and REDUCE EDUCATION CUTS, the purpose for which they were intended. It's not too late to call you Board Members and urge them to vote no on item 2 tomorrow and use more of the stimulus to preserve the gains we have all worked so hard to make.

Read the letter by clicking on the link below.

http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/capitolalertlatest/govletter.pdf

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Message From a Teacher in South Central

Dear Superintendent Cortines and LAUSD Board Members,

In the next week, you will be voting on important budget decisions that I am sure have taken their toll on your personal and professional lives. I have no doubt as to the integrity and thoroughness of your decision making process, but as leaders, I'm sure you will agree that the best decisions are made when the greatest amount of data are available to help you decide the most viable course of action.

As CCSS California Teacher of the Year 2009, I wish to share the data from my school, Los Angeles Academy Middle School, located in South Central Los Angeles.

Three years ago, the Jefferson family of schools was plagued by race-riots, student walkouts, and disturbingly low academic performance. Our school experienced the impact of the turmoil in the local high school, but made significant efforts to distinguish ourselves as academic leaders in our community. We targeted the issue of teacher turnover that peaked at a high of 35 teachers three years ago, and reduced it to less than 5 in the last academic year by instituting a comprehensive new teacher support program. In a community where students had to suffer the consequences of a non-stable faculty, we reached a point where we could offer students the knowledge and security that their teachers would be there to support them in their three year journey at our school. That is, until now.

L.A. Academy has developed a successful GATE/Advanced Studies Program that has doubled its participants to 580, almost 30% of the school population. Over 150 students attend our school on an Advanced Studies permit. These are students we might have otherwise lost to charter schools, but who made an educated decision to stay with LAUSD because of the quality of our program. This program could not have reached this level of quality without the dedication, and countless volunteer hours of our 42 GATE teachers. 18 of these teachers received Reduction in Force Notices, with more at risk. If these teachers are terminated, the quality of one of the few prosperous middle school GATE programs in South L.A. will be significantly diminished.

The talent and quality of our teachers can be seen in their biographies, located at:

http://laamschampions.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=56796&type=d&termREC_ID=&id=4&rn=8753822

One of our young and talented teachers, who is a positive role model for African-American boys, is at risk for being terminated. Lamar Queen's instructional rap videos are a hit in the educational community and have made mathematics instruction much easier to grasp and enjoy for his students, thanks to his creative videos. They can be seen at:




PEMDAS Rap:  Click on link


As a school, and as a community, our teachers are overwhelmingly new. As a result, 42 of our staff of 112 teachers received a RIF. This is 37% of our faculty. The actual number of terminated teachers might be higher, because provisional teachers are not sent RIF's. Most schools in West L.A. and the Valley received RIF's in the single digits. It is unconscionable that South L.A. is scheduled to bear the brunt of the proposed layoffs.

Because South Central has been disproportionately hit with 40% of the entire district's RIF's, our students will be left to wonder what they did to deserve this. No amount of explaining will help erase the feeling that once again, they are the forgotten children, the ones whose dedicated and caring teachers will be entirely gone from their lives within three months. As a point of consideration, most of these teachers choose to work in South L.A., as do I, and are not here because of demotions or forced service.

If you vote to pass the proposed reduction in force without any provisions to mitigate the destructive effect it will have on South Central Los Angeles, then let there be no doubt as to the wholesale devastation this will cause for our school, our community, and the academic and emotional well-being of all of our students. Please, do not forget South Central.


Leticia (Martha) Infante
NBC Teacher/GATE Coordinator
CCSS California Teacher of the Year 2009
Los Angeles Academy Middle School
323-238-1844

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Join South Central Teachers In Preserving Our Educational Community

As you may know, South Central schools have been hit hardest with the proposed LAUSD layoffs. If you are here, its because you are interested in making your voice heard against the devastating proposals to carry out 40% of all Reductions in Force in South L.A. schools.



If you want to help:



Leafleting

L.A. Academy conducted educational leafleting to parents on Friday morning, March 27th, from 6:45 am to 7:30 am. We plan to continue leafleting every Friday until further notice. Please consider doing the same at your school. Links to flyers you can download and share are posted to this blog.



One Day Strike

The UTLA House of Representatives will be voting on whether to proceed with a one day strike in May. Encourage all UTLA members at your school to support this strike vote, and to participate in the strike.



Phone Calls

Call the school board, call your legislators and tell them to use more of the federal stimulus funds to avert layoffs.


Contact the Media

The public is NOT AWARE about the impending situation in our schools. There are few articles in the newspaper about this specific subject. If you have a contact in the media, encourage them to delve into this issue, many of which are calling it a civil rights issue, or at the very least, an equity issue.

Check back often to see what actions will be taken in the community to try to change this proposed course of action. THANK YOU FOR NOT FORGETTING US!