Thursday, December 17, 2009


 Adolfo Guzman-Lopez | KPCC

Dec. 16, 2009  -- Teachers and students of Fremont High School in South Los Angeles protested over plans by L.A. Unified's superintendent to take over the chronically low-performing campus next year and force every employee to reapply for their jobs.

Fremont High School senior Mariela Martinez was among the group protesting. She is tired of the overcrowded classrooms.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez -- Fremont H.S. senior Mariela Martinez joined students and teachers at a protest outside her campus. The group is upset L.A. Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines plans to have every teacher reapply for their jobs at the chronically low-performing school.

"I do not like the way the school treats the students," she said. "You look at the school and you say it looks like a prison."

Martinez said she’s happy with the education she’s received. Her older sister, a graduate of Fremont High, attends an Ivy League school and Mariela wants to follow in her footsteps.

Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines said last week the district has given Fremont High resources and help - but that the school has failed to show consistent improvements for more than a decade.

Federal education law allows district administrators to take over chronically underachieving schools. Starting next July 1, Fremont High will report directly to the superintendent and teachers and staff will have to reapply for their jobs.

Second-year teacher Maria Gaspar opposes the idea, she said, because the drastic change would erase improvements that are starting to take root. "For years the district and the state have done next to nothing to change the conditions here at Fremont High School, while expecting test scores to consistently go up," she said. "Now the district is swooping in to reform Fremont while Cortines claims that we lack the sense of urgency. But it is teachers who for years have urgently been demanding the support for our students while the district has ignored us."

United Teachers Los Angeles, the union that represents the teachers helped organize yesterday’s rally.

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