Leaving Finland

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Lake Jyvasjarvi I have never lived anywhere for 5 months other than Jyvaskyla, Finland. As my Fulbright journey concludes, there is so much to still digest. It will take months, if not years, to truly assimilate all the learning. Before I left Southern California, I wrote about the what I would miss the most from home and what I  looked forward to experiencing in Finland. It is safe to say I met my goals. Top 7 Goals 1. Discussing Education Helsinki Workshop Through professional development programs, Fulbright Finland connected teachers with scholars and researchers, for the purpose of putting inquisitive minds together. The Making Democracies Resilient to Modern Threats seminar provided participants with fascinating research and presentations. 2. Nordic Model Bus station in Espoo What does an efficient and earnest country look like?  It looks like Finland. Yes, people pay higher taxes, but get so much in return. I for one appreciated the well-maintained ro

Mobilization

We are in the 5th month of a school year that is indelibly marked by the loss of thousands of talented, new teachers, disruptions in school faculties district wide, and opportunistic forces who chose this very moment in time to launch a movement to privatize public education.

The people who are champions for public education are being drowned out by the overwhelming negative publicity provided by media and self-proclaimed champions of the people such as Ben Austin of the so-called "Parent Revolution."

In our moment of need (by our we mean the students, parents, and teachers of impacted communities such as South Central who see past the false rhetoric of these corporations disguised as grassroots parents seeking change), our leaders are nowhere to be found. Some are musing alliances with the School Board, some are fighting forces within the union (subs vs. RIF'ed teachers), and some are silent, for reasons not understood.

This week, a sign of mobilization arrived.....via a student. Yes. A student. This brave child approached our union rep and asked her to sign a petition to prevent outside forces from conducting hostile takeovers of neighborhood schools. The rep, shocked to hear about this petition from a child, and not the union, was confounded and at a loss for words.

What is our school doing to stave off the intrusion of companies who seem to be preying on our schools in their time of financial crisis and need? Continuing to provide excellent service to our students and parents, via communication, meetings, and parent conferences. By strengthening our instructional program that involves not just the core curriculum, but enrichment of it via differentiated instruction, field trips, and extracurricular activities, such as the 9k run by the Students Run LA team over the weekend. The number of teachers who offer individual, unpaid tutoring for students on a regular basis is hugely commendable, but not known to the greater public. The way our teachers have closed ranks to assist in the unfilled positions created by the budget balancing (yes we still have unfilled positions in the 5th month of school) is admirable, because many of those filling in are our homegrown RIF'ed teachers who have stuck by the school in spite of the dismal treatment received by the powers that be.

So this week, we thank the real grassroots parents who are organizing, to prevent schools like ours from being further stripped of the stability so greatly needed in South Central L.A.

image from wsta.org.uk

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