Monday, January 16, 2012

SAVE NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS!: An Open Letter To The Superintendent and Board from LAUSD’s Principals

From the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Weekly UPDATE |

Week of January 16, 2012 :: On January 10, 2012, Board President Mónica García and Board Member Nuri Martinez presented a resolution to the Board of Education for initial announcement. Neither one responded to AALA's request for clarification.

AALA President Dr. Judith Perez sent the following letter to Superintendent Dr. John Deasy and Board members in opposition to the proposal.

AALA has major concerns regarding the proposed Board motion entitled Resolution to Examine Increasing Choice and Removing Boundaries for Neighborhood Schools (for action January 17, 2012). Unless substantial revisions and clarifications are provided, we are very much opposed to this recommended change of policy.

Currently, any LAUSD student who wishes to attend a school other than his or her neighborhood site has a plethora of options which include magnet schools, magnet centers, Permits with Transportation (PWT), open enrollment and several intra- and interdistrict permits. AALA estimates that approximately 80,000 students participate in magnets, the PWT program and open enrollment. At the very best, this proposed policy simply replicates current District options for students and parents. At worst, it will create utter chaos in the District while deepening the morale of employees to a historic low.

We believe that neighborhood schools are fundamental institutions in our democracy that provide stability for the communities they serve. Family members and residents take pride in and identify with their local schools, in many cases, over generations. Parents need to feel confident that their children will be able to attend their neighborhood school and not have to worry about finding another school and solving the complex transportation problems with which they would have to deal. Students living in the inner city frequently lack transportation resources, making “choice” virtually moot in their case.

Eliminating school boundaries and opening up the system for potential chaos does nothing to improve student achievement, assist struggling students or support parent engagement. Such a change could result in the unintended consequence of resegregating LAUSD schools and increasing the gap between the haves and havenots.

Furthermore, implementation of the early start calendar in 2012-2013 and the District’s $540 million deficit make it unreasonable to pursue such a change in the near future, if ever. Instead, we urge you to build on our schools’ successes by strengthening parents’ existing options as opposed to eliminating what has been effective historically. We recommend the following:

1. Review and revise the current interdistrict and intradistrict permit process to increase opportunities for parents to obtain permits in schools where space is available.

2. Return to principals the opportunity to determine the number of open enrollment seats for interested families, based upon space available.

3. Expand magnet programs since they have proven over many years to be effective and viable.

AALA will provide to the Superintendent additional specific concerns, questions and recommendations no later than January 16, 2012.

No comments: