Themes in the News for the Week of June 21-25, 2010 By UCLA IDEA Staff
06-25-2010 -- The Los Angeles Unified School District passed a 2010-2011 budget that will lead to layoffs of at least 2,700 office workers, teachers, custodians, and many elementary school plant managers (Los Angeles Daily News|http://bit.ly/dsrsLl). Unions representing these workers, joined forces with students, parents, and teachers to protest the cuts. For now, their efforts did not succeed, but all the protesting parties saw promise in this growing coalition. The protesters spoke of how economic threats to families, layoffs of school employees, school program cuts, poor working conditions at insecure and low-paying jobs, and job losses in the community all combine to impact children’s education.
One rally saw the California School Employees Association (CSEA) the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), and the Teamsters join to oppose layoffs and salary cuts. Another rally brought together students and parents from the Labor and Education Collaborative which includes East Los Angeles’ InnerCity Struggle, South Los Angeles’ Community Coalition, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877, SEIU Security Officers United in Los Angeles, as well as many other labor unions.
The Labor and Education Collaborative staged a protest to demand that the LAUSD board fully implement a 2005 board resolution mandating that district high schools offer more college prep, or “A-G” classes (A-G Resolution|http://bit.ly/aZJnfD). Many union members have children in LAUSD and think that implementation of the A-G Resolution is essential for their children’s success. Laura Medina, of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877, said, “It is important for the union to be involved to have better schools for children in our communities.”
As of the 2008-2009 school year, more than half of LAUSD’s non-charter high schools still did not have enough of these courses (Labor and Education Collaborative|http://bit.ly/cTiMVj). Dr. Veronica Terriquez, a University of Southern California professor who spoke at the LAUSD board meeting, said that increasing the number of A-G courses will help the children of union members realize their dreams. Los Angeles union members overwhelmingly expect their children to graduate from college; but often they live in communities where local high schools do not offer enough A-G courses (Labor and Education Collaborative). High school student Jason Pinzon, a member of InnerCity Struggle, said that A-G coursework “opens the door” to students. Parent and InnerCity Struggle member Blanca Dueñas said (translated from Spanish), “We are here at LAUSD to demand these A-G courses so that our children have those classes to get to the university.”
The board took no action on the A-G Resolution at the meeting, but parents and students intend to press for full implementation. High school student Taylor Griffin, a Community Coalition member, said, “Five years ago some of my friends were active in passing A-G and I wanted to follow in their footsteps to make sure it is implemented.”
smf re: A-G: There are a couple of factors about The 2005 A-G Resolution that have never been sufficiently – or realistically – addressed by the district. And I am a member of the A-G Advisory Committee.
- The Resolution calls for successful completion of the A-G coursework – essentially the admission requirements for UC and CSU – as high school graduation requirements in LAUSD.
- The initial challenge was to make these courses available to all students in all LAUSD high schools. This was difficult …but great progress has been made.
- The secondary challenge was to educate students and parents and counselors about these new requirements – and to get students prepared in elementary and middle school for this courseload. There is still work to be done.
- The elephant ignored in the room is this …and the elephant continues to be ignored, big-time!
- THE UC AND CSU ADMISSIONS OFFICES DO NOT CONSIDER A “D” A PASSING GRADE – they do not recognize credits for any academic class that a student gets a “D” in. To them a “D” is the same as a Fail.
- LAUSD DOES CONSIDER A “D” a PASSING GRADE; LAUSD would theoretically award a high school diploma to a student who scored straight “D”s. Students and parents are not told this.
The grade of “D” becomes a standards-lowering form of social promotion; embracing inadequacy to reach 100% graduation.The promise of college and university access becomes access denied.