Adolfo Guzman-Lopez | kpcc RADIO
May 07, 2009
Teachers at one of the 10 public schools run by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's nonprofit say they're unhappy with the progress of change. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez says those teachers are threatening to leave the mayor's partnership if promised changes don't happen.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Roosevelt High School teacher Mario Hurtado voted to hand over governance of his campus to Villaraigosa's Partnership for L.A. Schools. Hurtado said the mayor pledged reforms, extra money, and teacher say in decisionmaking. He said that almost a year and a half later:
Mario Hurtado: I'd say we're the same. I don't think we've noticed any change. And that's the problem.
Guzman-Lopez: Hurtado and a majority of Roosevelt High teachers approved a vote of no confidence earlier this week. Hurtado and others said teachers had no role in restructuring Roosevelt into seven learning academies. More money and new equipment haven't materialized, teachers said.
Yards away, the Partnership's chief operations officer Mark Kleger-Heine heard the criticism. He said the schools' been given more than $200,000 from the mayor's fundraising efforts. When it comes to hearing teachers' ideas, he suggested that the partnership is changing its ways.
●●smf’s 2¢: The mayor’s partnership total fundraising is reportedly $500,000 over ten years for ten schools - $200,000 seems a bit extreme for year one at one school. This is further complicated in that Roosevelt's restructuring into seven learning academies was supposed to be funded from a US Department of Education grant to implement Small Learning Communities that the school and/or PLAS has violated the terms of …requiring that the DOE be reimbursed.
Mark Kleger-Heine: Change is a multiyear process and this is the beginning part of change. And so as that happens you learn to work with your partners and you learn to calibrate and work together.
Guzman-Lopez: Roosevelt High teachers asked immigrant rights advocate Juan Jose Gutierrez to join them. Gutierrez said Roosevelt High indicates that not enough people hold Mayor Villaraigosa and other Latino politicians accountable to their promises.
Juan Jose Gutierrez: All these people are our friends, the mayor is my friend, and I'm down, we all know each other, we went to the same schools, we're in talking terms with each other. But the buck has to stop somewhere.
Guzman-Lopez: A spokeswoman said the mayor and Roosevelt High teachers are struggling for the same thing – the improvement of public schools.