A Tale of Two Back to School Nights

Excitement and enthusiasm were in the air as teachers in my new high school in a middle class neighborhood prepared their classrooms by decorating their bulletin boards, displaying student work, and straightening desks. Welcome messages abounded, Remind.com messages were sent, and we opened our doors to meet the parents.
I have done these events for 24 years, four times a year at my former school in South Central L.A. But this year’s Back to School Night left me reflecting, and perhaps shedding a tear.
First, my new parents were fantastic. They were friendly, enthusiastic, and supportive of the new ideas I bring to the school. I knew in them I would have allies to incorporate my findings from my Fulbright exchange in Finland earlier this year. Parent after parent nodded their heads and strongly affirmed that break time was important to students, teachers, and workers in general. They were excited to hear about the summer travel programs I had prepared.
As I looked at their warm and s…


April 14, 2009

Dear Superintendent Cortines,

Hello. My name is Cindy Borunda and I am an eighth grader at Los Angeles Academy Middle School. I will start by saying this school has come a long way since I first started out in sixth grade. I have seen countless sessions of after school tutoring and enrichment programs organized by the teachers. I have seen teachers work countless hours after the school day to figure out what they are doing wrong when one of there students is having trouble understanding the lessons. These are people that care, these are the people we should proclaim heroes, but instead you are giving them indecent wages and laying them off. This is an injustice! Where did all the money from the Stimulus package go? Was the money spent on careless things instead of making an effort to make public education better?

We are the future. I am guessing all the people in the important offices have forgotten about us, or they frankly just don’t care. If they did care they would not be doing this. The people you are firing are more than just teachers, they are mentors, role models, and for some of the students in the school, they are the only people who motivate us to try our best and that we can become anything we want.

Without these teachers I never would have gotten to where I am now. I am now independent and play an active role in my community. I am also a student who has gotten a $25,000 scholarship and will be attending a private school next year. The whole application process was very overwhelming, but I had teachers who helped me and motivated me when I felt like giving up. I want to thank them all. Thanks to them I believe I can be someone important who will make a big difference to the world. I just want other students to have the same opportunities. To have someone to look up to, someone who cares, someone who believes they can be anything they want.

I am furious to know, that there will be more students in the classroom. How will students be able to get one-on-one attention? How will they be able to ask questions and get well informed answers?. Do you really expect students to learn in this kind of environment? This is outrageous!

Are you really going to fire all these amazing and caring teachers and replace them with people who haven’t been in a classroom for years? They will lack passion, they won’t care about us. These are not the teachers that will inspire students to be great; these are the people that are teaching just because they have to. Instead of taking a step forward to make public education better you are taking a step back. That is not right.

I would like to commend all the teachers who helped me get to where I am now, thank you all very much. Who would have guessed, that a student from South Central LA would be as successful as I am now? My teachers guessed. I will like to thank them for taking the time to listen to what I have to say and helping me become who I am today.


Cindy Borunda


Popular posts from this blog

FULBRIGHT: Countdown: Day 7

"There Are No Emergencies"