Source: LA Times
Teams from the teachers union and the L.A. Unified School District are working long hours this weekend to settle a teachers’ strike that has so far cost students five days of normal instruction.
Hopes have been rising for a quick resolution but some already are expressing anxiety about what could be included in a settlement. Teachers are concerned that whatever gains they achieve — in smaller classes and better school staffing — could be too little or too short-lived. Advocates worry that the best interests of students could take a back seat to political exigencies. And administrators fret that the district — in trying to meet teachers’ demands — could take away some of the authority of principals.
The Los Angeles Unified School District is more than 70 percent Latino and serves many non-English speaking families. We examine strike awareness among Spanish-speaking parents.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Thousands of teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District are on strike. This is the nation's second-biggest school district. It's a huge story here, and parents have a lot of questions. But we should note the district is over 70 percent Latino or Hispanic, serving many non-English-speaking families. KPCC's Emily Elena Dugdale looks at the difficulty of reaching these families.
(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) Education is a right.Read more
In a highly anticipated move that for key organizers has been years in the making, more than 30,000 educators on Monday kicked off a strike that’s put regular K–12 classes on hiatus in the country’s second-largest public-school district. A whopping 98 percent of L.A. teachers, who because of stalled negotiations with the district have been working without a contract for more than a year, voted to authorize the strike. They are demanding smaller class sizes and more funding for support staff such as counselors and nurses. They’re also calling for higher pay, though that is less of a sticking point now that the district and teachers’ union are all but in agreement on this front, with the former offering raises that are just 0.5 percent lower than the 6 percent hikes educators are demanding.
Rodolfo Dueñas, an L.A. native and public-school teacher who is picketing, describes this burgeoning movement as a natural next step for the many Latinos like him whose activism can be traced back to the mid-1990s, when thousands of Latino teens staged a school walkout in opposition to an anti-immigrant state-ballot initiative known as Proposition 187. For many like Dueñas in the “187 Generation,” those experiences eventually drove them into teaching. And Dueñas’s generation has been following in the footsteps of the Latino education activists who came before them, during the 1968 walkouts known by some as the Mexican Student Movement.Read more
The Equity Alliance for LA’s Kids led by the Community Coalition, InnerCity Struggle, and Advancement Project California, has been fighting for increased investments for the highest-need students and schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). We have been fighting the district’s status quo budgetary policies that often leave predominately low-income Black and Latino students to bear the brunt of historical disinvestments and short-sighted political in-fighting.
Despite LAUSD’s very fractured and complicated terrain, we were hopeful when the Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of an April 2018 resolution to shift $263M per year towards the highest need schools in the district.
In 2019, we intend to keep our attention focused on the effective implementation of that ground-breaking resolution. The Equity Alliance is committed to fighting against any effort that undermines the letter and spirit of that resolution which would once again defer and delay justice for our highest-need students.
InnerCity Struggle student leader, Kimberly Robles, from Garfield High School: “It’s unacceptable that students like me are being overlooked and expected to learn without being given enough support. We cannot compromise on equity if we are serious about ending the cycle of poverty in our communities and putting more youth like me on the path to college.”Read more
The NBCUniversal Foundation, NBC and Telemundo Owned Stations to Present "Project Innovation" Grants to Nonprofits | Comcast
The program returns for a second year to recognize even more service organizations that are using innovation to address local community issues and meet the changing needs of local neighborhoods.
New Project Innovation websites in English and Spanish launch today to help bilingual non-profit organizations access the information they need to apply and be considered for a grant.Read more
California students, first in their families to attend college, mentor each other to succeed | Ed Source
Beyond the usual confusions and questions of freshmen year, low-income students who are the first in their families to attend college may arrive on campus with personal fears that they just don’t belong and will never fit in.
However, slightly older students from the same background can ease that uncertainty with advice and friendship, helping those freshmen stay on track in school and eventually graduate, experts say. That is the philosophy of an unusual and growing mentorship program called Level-Up which involves 260 students from the Los Angeles area at 29 college campuses mainly in California.
Early indications are that participants, mostly from low-income Latino families, have been continuing on into their second year of college at higher rates than the general student population, although other factors surely play a role as well, officials said. The mentoring lasts a year to try to get them successfully through freshman year when they are at highest risk of dropping out.
“It’s cool having someone who’s gone through experiences that I’m probably going to go through and help guide me,” said Allan Garcia, a freshman at Pasadena City College who joined the program this fall. Compared to a much older professional college counselor, a mentor close to his age and background makes discussions “more personal,” he said.Read more
California, L.A. Agree: Locking Up Young Children is ‘Nothing Good for Nobody | The Chronicle of Social Change:
After the passage last month of a California law that will bar children 11 and younger from juvenile prosecution, Los Angeles County leaders want to go even further to decriminalize youth.
At a meeting Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors asked key public agencies to come up with a plan on how to implement the new law through its new youth diversion initiative and assess the possibility of banning many 12- and 13-year-old youths from being prosecuted in juvenile delinquency court.
The move from the state’s largest county adds momentum to California’s already progressive stance toward children and youth involved with the justice system. Senate Bill 439, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown(D) in September, directs the state’s 58 counties to come up with plans about how to serve children ages 11 and younger outside of the juvenile justice system. Children who are facing serious charges like murder or rape will still be sent to juvenile court.
The law puts California on equal footing with Massachusetts in its prohibition of criminal prosecution of children under 12. No other state has a higher minimum age for juvenile court involvement.Read more
It gets worse for LAUSD: This week both the county and the state showed up to say, ‘Get your fiscal house in order or else we’re taking over’ | LA School Report
LA Unified board members were jolted last month when a top county official showed up unannounced to say, You’re spending more money than you make and the savings you’ve been living off of are about to run out.
It got worse this Tuesday, when she came back and brought a top state official with the same message.
“Yes, my presence is indicative that this is serious,” said Nick Schweizer, deputy superintendent of public instruction for the California Department of Education, who joined Candi Clark, chief financial officer of the Los Angeles County Office of Education, at Tuesday’s board meeting. The two warned LA school board members that time was running out for them to get their house in order — or they will lose control over it and the state will eventually take over.
After a morning of pleas, sometimes teary, made for and against a proposed interim rent freeze, Supervisor Kathryn Barger cast the lone vote opposing the measure.
In the end, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved 4-1 a motion to come up with an interim rent-freeze ordinance that would limit rent increases to 3 percent annually.
The ordinance — which the board expects to see defined in 60 days — would apply to all unincorporated areas of the county, including those in the Santa Clarita Valley, except for properties exempt from rent control.Read more
Commentary: Honor yesterday’s Roosevelt High School heroes by giving today’s students the modern high school they deserve | LA School Report
Students from Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights recently took to the streets to demand action on gun control and to challenge the criminalization of youth of color. They want to study at school free from the threats of gun violence and want positive school climates that uplift them.
A march led by Roosevelt High students is not unusual. The school has a rich history of activism. On March 6, they commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Walkouts, which marked an important moment in the history of Chicanos in Los Angeles.
The fighting spirit of Roosevelt is a source of community pride. It is as if the past, present, and future live in these students. Not the concrete buildings, nor the stairs and hallways, but in the young people themselves as they fill the classrooms and take to the streets. The spirit lives in the young people inside those facilities, who come to school to learn and grow.Read more