A Tale of Two Back to School Nights

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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…

It IS That Bad



This week at LAAMS we found out our counseling staff will be reduced in half next year, with each counselor carrying an 850:1 load of students.  Our deans are being reduced from three to two, and our categorical program coordinators reduced from two to one.  We may also lose an Assistant Principal, in our school of 2,400 students in South Central Los Angeles.

And we thought we were having discipline problems this year?

My position as half time GATE coordinator that oversees 700 Gifted/Advanced Students will very possibly be eliminated.  How will these 700 students and their families be served during one conference period, in addition to the 150 other students I teach in the classroom?

If forward progress paused this year because of the layoffs, it will most certainly reverse direction with these "final blow" cuts to our school.  If it wasn't for our fiercely dedicated teachers, our school may have collapsed already.  But we have spirit.

It is beside the point to moan about how these cuts will hurt kids.  All involved know that.  What is important to consider is how decisions have been made at the top; how the Governor protects the wealthiest Californians at the expense of the least.  How the President and Arne Duncan have decided to use Race to the Top Funding to further their own reform plans that have, through wide consensus in the education community, been deemed as not viable.  These funds, by the way, are awarded not by need, but by how much each state agrees to pursue the reforms the feds are pushing.  “We don’t know how many winners there will be,” Duncan said. “Quite frankly, there will probably be a lot more losers than winners in the first round.”

When our country collapses because we created a nation of uneducated, throwaway youth while fostering the development of hedge fund managers and the ruling class, let's be clear that it all started when we decided to kill public education.
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Post by AvalonSensei, aka Martha Infante

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