The New Crisis at Roosevelt High School: A Call to Action

July 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

An important Town Hall meeting to discuss the present and future of Roosevelt High School will take place Aug. 5 at the

Salesian Boys and Girls Club.

The meeting will focus on finding solutions to save the struggling school. Roosevelt students, teachers, parents, alumni, and activists are urged to attend and participate in this important event. The future of Roosevelt is at stake as it may lose its accreditation.

Since Dec. 7, 2007, Roosevelt has been under the control of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS). PLAS promised stakeholders that it would work  “collaboratively” to increase student achievement— both of these PLAS promises have never occurred.

PLAS is under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the LAUSD, which gives PLAS the authority to manage Roosevelt. However, Roosevelt High School is represented by LAUSD Board Member Monica Garcia, who represents District 2.

Monica has met with me and other community activists and stakeholders in the past but has refused to terminate the MOU with PLAS. Several community actions, including a massive student on May 15 have occurred, but PLAS outsiders continue to mismanage Roosevelt.

Nearly 8-years have gone by under PLAS control and Roosevelt has not shown any substantial academic growth in its API (Academic Performance Index) or in its STAR tests results, or newer CAASPP scores, where RHS students are tested every year in various academic subjects. Although there have been minor increases and decreases in scores, Roosevelt’s API scores under PLAS throughout the years have ranged from the 520 to 672, not counting the magnet school.

It is important to note that an API score of 600 or below qualifies a school as a “Focus School,” which means it can be reconstituted, taken over by a charter operator, or by a group of teachers. STAR scores range from 200 to 1,000, with 800 being the statewide performance target. Also, under PLAS control, Roosevelt students in general are only about 20 percent proficient or advanced in English language arts and only about 3 percent in math.

With the new State Common Core Standards taking effect, it would not be surprising for Roosevelt students to continue to score low since the new state standards in English language arts will be more demanding and require greater English language development and stronger critical thinking and analytical skills. At the high school level, students will be expected to have a foundation in algebra and geometry.

The new crisis at Roosevelt High School was precipitated by the student walkout in May. Students walked out because 23 Roosevelt teachers were to be displaced due to a loss of special funding. Positive and productive working relationships had developed among teachers and students. The teachers that were to be displaced knew their students’ learning styles, potential, and cared for them.

Losing 23 teachers was an unprecedented event and a shock to students — especially when the state’s education budget was to be increased by $3 billion.

Despite the walkout and the increase in state funding, the 23 teachers were let go and as a result a variety of courses were eliminated.

The next adverse thing to happen to Roosevelt was the resignation of the school’s principal this summer after 5 years at the high school.

Roosevelt’s new principal must not be an outsider. The previous one was from Seattle, Washington. The new principal must know the community and have the experience and ability to reform Roosevelt High School.

The new principal must have the approval of Roosevelt parents, teachers, and parents.

To make matters worse, Roosevelt has been put on academic probation by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges, which grants accreditation to schools. According to WASC, if Roosevelt does not make substantial academic progress in two years, it will lose its accreditation.

On July 7, a group of Roosevelt students met at Boyle Heights City Hall to
express their concerns about
what has happened to Roosevelt. They were talking to a group of about 30 that included Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council members, Roosevelt alumni, teachers, representatives from the LAUSD, community activists, and nonprofit groups.

Students said Roosevelt’s identity has been destroyed under PLAS. Neighborhood students no longer want to attend the school and the student population has dropped to about 1,500 and 86 teachers.

It is a stripped–down model of a comprehensive high school that lacks dozens of Career Technical Programs (CTE) and classes such as Auto Mechanics, Culinary Arts, Child Development, Mental and Behavioral Health, and Entrepreneurship. There is no bilingual education program for its core academic subjects.

The meeting produced four major recommendations: to select a new principal who is bilingual and has a track record of successfully reforming a Latino high school; to dump PLAS; to search for a viable candidate to replace Board Member Monica Garcia in District 2, and to convene the Town Hall meeting at Salesian Boys’ and Girls’ Club on Aug. 5,

The town will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Salesian Boys and Girls Club: 2228 E. 4th St, L.A. 90033.


John Fernandez was a lead teacher at Roosevelt High School, where he taught for 24 years and was the former director of the Mexican American Education Commission for the LAUSD.


County Closes Down Boyle Heights Alternative School

July 9, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

A small high school in Boyle Heights was forced to close its door on short notice June 26 leaving 40 or so students scrambling to figure out where they will go to school in the fall.

For eight years, the Boyle Heights Technology Academy has enrolled youth offenders and other students who do not perform well in a regular public school. Enrollment over the years has averaged around 75 students, but dropped last year to fewer than 45 students, according to Ramiro Palomo, a teacher at the school.

Lea este artículo en Español: Condado Cierra Escuela Preparatoria de Boyle Heights

The problem was LAUSD said they would not send us any more students, Palomo told EGP.

According to the L.A. County Office of Education (LACOE), parents were informed that the county could no longer afford to keep the school open “due to a decrease in student enrollment,”

Students and parents, however, say the school closed after county education officials and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) failed to reach an agreement about who should pay for the students’ education and LAUSD wanted students to return to their home school rather than continue paying the county to educate them.

Students, parents and teachers question the soundness of that plan, noting that many of the students were expelled from their local school and might not be allowed to return.

The Academy, one of 11 community schools operated by the county, primarily served students from the area surrounding the Pico-Aliso Housing projects. Many of the students are on probation or parole, homeless or face other issues that put them at high risk of dropping out. In some cases, parents requested placement at the school for a child needing a different learning environment to succeed.

Adam del Real (center) with teacher Ramiro Palomo (right) and another student during their graduation on June 25. (Courtesy of Ramiro Palomo)

Adam del Real (center) with teacher Ramiro Palomo (right) and another student during their graduation on June 25. (Courtesy of Ramiro Palomo)

Adam del Real of Boyle Heights is one of those students.

On June 25, he took part in the school’s last graduation ceremony even though he still needs to complete 20 more units before he gets a high school diploma. Adam said he’s not happy with the options presented to him for completing school: Mujeres y Hombres Nobles County Community School in Monterey Park near the East Los Angeles border, or Roosevelt High, his home school.

“I don’t really want to go to another school, I’m better at independent studies,” he told EGP.

The 16-year-old says he’ll struggle at Roosevelt and that the travel time to Mujeres y Hombres is too long.

His mother Claudia del Real agrees. “They don’t understand the damage they cause these kids,” she told EGP.

They claim the county failed to evaluate the school on its merit. “Don’t they see the good that the school does,” del Real said.

Making things worse, stakeholders claim they were given very little notice of the impending closure, and little direction as to where they could get help finding a new school.

A two paragraph letter saying the school is closing and directing “enrolled students to report to Mujeres y Hombres Nobles County Community School” is not enough of an explanation or a plan, parents said.

According to a June 18 memo from the school’s then-Interim Principal Diem Johnson and then-Assistant Principal Adriana Hernandez, addressed to Palomo and other staff, “On or about June 5, 2015” [Los Angeles County Office of Education] Central Office sent “students, parents, guardians, paraeducators and teachers” correspondence explaining why the school was closing. The memo went on to say there has “been a lot of inaccurate information” spread, creating “confusion and frustration for families.” It also directs staff to “refrain” from providing information and to instead direct all stakeholders to the Central Office.

EGP has a copy of the two-paragraph letter addressed to parents and guardians dated June 2, also signed by Johnson and Hernandez, informing them of the school’s impeding closure, but according to some parents, they never received the letter.

Rachel Cohen, a former staff member at the site, said she never receive a letter either. “I was notified by Human Resources just before July 1st that I would be moving” to the Hollywood Media Arts Academy, the East LA resident told EGP.

Margo Minecki, a spokesperson for the office of education, said students, parents and other stakeholders were all informed of the school’s closure, but could not verify when or how they were notified. Johnson and Hernandez could not be reached for comment.

“We’d love to run more programs but we can’t afford them anymore, because we are getting fewer and fewer students,” Minecki said. “The districts where they live are responsible” for their education, she told EGP.

Parents and teachers said the decision should not have been just about money.

“We have had students accepted to schools such as UC Irvine and Cal Poly Pomona, it’s like a private school for this area,” Palomo said.

According to the teacher, about 95 percent of the school’s students are Latinos and 5 percent are African-American. He’s worried that LAUSD may not be willing to accept juvenile offenders at a traditional school if they were previously expelled. He’s also concerned that students like Adam — who has never been in trouble with authorities — will not be comfortable at a traditional school.

“Teachers were very attentive in the academy and I got very comfortable,” Adam echoed.

An adult school, 5 Keys Charter School, will take over the school site. Because “They serve students 18 and over and we serve 14 to 18 years old,” most of our students can’t go there, said Palomo.

LAUSD spokesperson Shannon Haber told EGP that they didn’t have a say in the decision to close the Academy, but that LAUSD takes full responsibility for the education of all students living in the school district.

“We are absolutely on board to [help] relocate these students,” Haber said. LAUSD has “so many schools” there’s bound to be “a good fit for each student,” she said. Any student having trouble finding a school should contact the LAUSD East L.A. district office, she said.

Adam said students like him need more support. He just wants to finish high school without any obstacles and to apply to a college where he can study to be an X-ray technician.

“It is not good that people just think about the money and not about the students,” he lamented.


Students needing help finding a new school can contact Jose Huerta, administrator of the LAUSD East L.A. office at (323) 224-3100, or the L.A. County Division of People’s services at (562) 803-8451.


Twitter @jackieguzman

Condado Cierra Escuela Preparatoria en Boyle Heights

July 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Una pequeña escuela preparatoria en Boyle Heights se vio obligada a cerrar sus puertas con notificación a corto plazo el 26 de junio, dejando alrededor de 40 estudiantes tratando de averiguar dónde asistirán en el otoño.

Durante ocho años, la escuela Boyle Heights Technology Academy ha instruido a delincuentes juveniles y otros estudiantes que no se desempeñan bien en una escuela pública regular. La inscripción en los últimos años promediaba alrededor de 75 estudiantes, pero disminuyó el año pasado a menos de 45 alumnos, según Ramiro Palomo, maestro de la escuela.

Read this article in English: County Closes Down Boyle Heights School

El problema fue que el Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles (LAUSD) dijo que no nos iban a enviar más estudiantes, Palomo le dijo a EGP.

De acuerdo con la Oficina de Educación del Condado de L.A., los padres fueron informados de que el condado ya no podía tener la escuela abierta “debido a una disminución en la matrícula estudiantil”.

Estudiantes y padres, sin embargo, dicen que la escuela cerró después de que funcionarios de educación del condado y de LAUSD no llegaran a un acuerdo sobre quién debe pagar por la educación de los alumnos y el LAUSD quería regresar a estos estudiantes a su escuela de origen en lugar de seguir pagando al condado por educarlos.

Los estudiantes, padres y maestros cuestionan la solidez de ese plan, teniendo en cuenta que muchos de los estudiantes fueron expulsados de sus escuelas locales y no pueden regresar.

La academia, una de las 11 escuelas comunitarias operadas por el condado, sirve principalmente a estudiantes de la zona de viviendas de los proyectos de Pico-Aliso. Muchos de los estudiantes están en libertad condicional, sin hogar o se enfrentan a otros problemas que los ponen en alto riesgo de abandonar la escuela. En algunos casos, los padres solicitaron la colocación en la escuela para un estudiante que necesita un ambiente de aprendizaje diferente para tener éxito.

Adam del Real de Boyle Heights es uno de esos estudiantes.

Adam del Real (centro) junto al maestro Ramiro Palomo (der.) y otro estudiante durante su graduación el 25 de junio de la escuela Boyle Heights Academy. (Cortesía de Ramiro Palomo)

Adam del Real (centro) junto al maestro Ramiro Palomo (der.) y otro estudiante durante su graduación el 25 de junio de la escuela Boyle Heights Academy. (Cortesía de Ramiro Palomo)

El 25 de junio, él participó en la última ceremonia de graduación de la academia. A pesar de que todavía tiene que completar 20 unidades antes de recibir su diploma de preparatoria, Adam dijo que no está contento con las opciones que se le presentan para completar la escuela: Mujeres y Hombres Nobles del Condado en Monterey Park, cerca de la frontera con el Este de Los Ángeles, o Roosevelt, su escuela de origen.

“En realidad no quiero ir a otra escuela, prefiero hacer estudios independientes”, le dijo a EGP.

El joven, de 16 años, dice que le costará trabajo adaptarse en Roosevelt y el tiempo de viaje para la escuela Mujeres y Hombres es demasiado largo.

Su madre Claudia del Real está de acuerdo. “No entienden el daño que les causan a estos niños”, le dijo a EGP.

Afirman que el condado falló en evaluar la escuela por su mérito. “¿No ven lo bueno que la escuela hace”, dijo Del Real.

Para empeorar las cosas, los interesados afirman que se les dio muy poco tiempo de aviso del cierre inminente y poca orientación en cuanto a donde podrían obtener ayuda para encontrar una nueva escuela.

Una carta de dos párrafos diciendo que la escuela está cerrando y dirigiendo a “alumnos matriculados a reportarse a la “escuela comunitaria del Condado Mujeres y Hombres Nobles” no es suficiente explicación o un plan, dijeron los padres.

De acuerdo con un memorando del 18 de junio de la entonces directora interina de la escuela Diem Johnson y la directora asistente Adriana Hernández, dirigido a Palomo y el resto del personal, “En o alrededor del 5 de junio de 2015” la [Oficina de Educación del Condado de Los Ángeles] Buró Central envió “a los estudiantes, padres, tutores y maestros-educadores” correspondencia que explica por qué la escuela estaba cerrando. La nota continúa diciendo que ha “habido mucha información inexacta” difundida, creando “confusión y frustración para las familias”. También dirige al personal a “abstenerse” de proporcionar información y en su lugar insta a todos los interesados a visitar la Oficina Central.

EGP tiene una copia de la carta dirigida a los padres con fecha del 2 de junio, también firmada por Johnson y Hernández, informándoles de cierre de obstaculización de la escuela, pero de acuerdo con algunos padres, ellos nunca recibieron la carta.

Rachel Cohen dijo que ella tampoco recibió una carta. “Fui notificada por Recursos Humanos antes del 1 de julio que iba a ser trasladada” a la Academia de Media Arts de Hollywood, le dijo la residente del Este de LA a EGP.

Margo Minecki, portavoz de la oficina de educación del condado, dijo que los estudiantes, padres y otros interesados fueron informados del cierre de la escuela, pero no pudo verificar cuándo o cómo se dio el comunicado. Johnson y Hernández no pudieron ser contactadas para hacer comentarios.

“Nos encantaría ejecutar más programas pero no podemos pagarlos, porque estamos recibiendo cada vez menos estudiantes”, dijo Minecki. “Los distritos donde viven son responsables” de su educación, agregó.

Los padres y maestros dijeron que la decisión no debería haber sido tomada sólo por el dinero.

Estudiantes en su graduación el pasado 25 de junio de la Boyle Heights Technology Academy.

Estudiantes en su graduación el pasado 25 de junio de la Boyle Heights Technology Academy. (Cortesía de Ramiro Palomo)

“Hemos tenido estudiantes aceptados a escuelas como la Universidad de California Irvine y Cal Poly Pomona, es como tener una escuela privada en esta área”, dijo Palomo.

De acuerdo al maestro, alrededor del 95 por ciento de los estudiantes de la escuela son latinos y el 5 por ciento son afroamericanos. Le preocupa que el LAUSD no este dispuesto a aceptar a menores delincuentes en una escuela tradicional si fueron expulsados previamente. También le preocupa que los estudiantes como Adam—quien nunca ha tenido problemas con las autoridades—no se sentirán cómodos en una escuela tradicional.

“Los maestros eran muy atentos en la academia y me sentía muy cómodo,” dijo Adam.

Una escuela de adultos, 5 Keys Charter School, ocupará el espacio de la academia. Debido a que ellos “sirven a estudiantes de 18 años y mayores y nosotros servimos de 14 a 18 años de edad”, la mayoría de nuestros estudiantes no pueden asistir ahí, dijo Palomo.

La portavoz de LAUSD Shannon Haber le dijo a EGP que el distrito no tiene voz ni voto en la decisión de cerrar la academia, pero que el LAUSD tiene total responsabilidad de la educación de todos los estudiantes que viven en el distrito escolar.

“Estamos absolutamente enfocados en [ayudar a] reubicar a estos estudiantes”, dijo Haber. LAUSD tiene “tantas escuelas” destinadas a ser “un buen ajuste para cada estudiante”, agregó. Cualquier estudiante que tenga problemas para encontrar una escuela debe ponerse en contacto con la oficina del LAUSD del Este de Los Ángeles, dijo.

Adam dijo que los estudiantes como él necesitan más apoyo. Él sólo quiere terminar la preparatoria sin ningún obstáculo y aplicar a una universidad donde pueda estudiar para ser un técnico en rayos X.

“No es bueno que la gente sólo piense en el dinero y no en los estudiantes”, lamentó.


Los estudiantes que necesiten ayuda para encontrar una nueva escuela pueden ponerse en contacto con José Huerta, administrador de la oficina de LAUSD del Este de Los Ángeles al (323) 224-3100, o a la División de Condado de Los Ángeles de los servicios de la gente al (562) 803- 8451.


Twitter @jackieguzman



Superintendente Ramón Cortines Se Retira del Distrito Escolar de L.A.

July 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

El Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles (LAUSD) confirmó la semana pasada que el superintendente Ramón Cortines, se retirará del cargo dentro de seis meses.

En forma sorpresiva, el hispano Cortines hizo mención a su retiro el pasado 23 de junio en la reunión de la junta directiva en la que el LAUSD aprobó el presupuesto para el año escolar 2015-16, por un valor de $7.800 millones de dólares, que incluye el despido de más de 380 profesores y ofrece un aumento de salario de 10 por ciento a los profesores en los próximos 18 meses.

A pesar de la mención, al final de la reunión, el presidente Richard Vladovic, según informó el diario Los Ángeles Daily News, restó importancia al comentario de Cortines.

No obstante, al siguiente día, la portavoz del LAUSD, Mónica Carazo, confirmó a Efe que efectivamente el superintendente se retiraría del cargo en seis meses.

La noticia no se esperaba, pues en mayo la junta de gobierno del distrito escolar había extendido el contrato de Cortines por un año más, estableciendo el inicio del 2016 como punto de partida para comenzar a buscar el reemplazo del experimentado superintendente.

Cortines, quien cumplirá 83 años en julio, se desempeñó como superintendente durante tres años desde el 2008 y había estado encargado de la superintendencia en el 2000.

En octubre pasado, ante el retiro forzado del superintendente John Deasy por un aparente conflicto de intereses en un contrato para suministrar iPads a los estudiantes y otras críticas de miembros de la junta, Cortines asumió nuevamente la dirección del LAUSD interrumpiendo su retiro laboral.

El experimentado educador hispano también se desempeñó como superintendente escolar en Pasadena, San Francisco, San José, fue canciller escolar en Nueva York y trabajó como asesor del exsecretario de educación Richard Riley.

El LAUSD es el segundo distrito con mayor número de alumnos del país con más de 655.000 estudiantes registrados en el año académico 2013-2014, según sus propias cifras.

El 73,4 por ciento de sus estudiantes son hispanos y más de 161.000 estudiantes están aprendiendo a hablar inglés en las aproximadamente 1300 escuelas y centros educativos del Distrito.

New LAUSD Board Members Seated

July 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Ref Rodriguez and Scott Mark Schmerelson joined the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education today, replacing Bennett Kayser and Tamar Galatzan, while Richard Vladovic began his third term and George McKenna was sworn in to his first full term.

Rodriguez, the founder of a chain of charter schools known as Partnership to Uplift Communities, defeated Kayser in a May runoff election in District 5. Kayser, who was backed by the United Teachers Los Angeles teachers’ union, faced stiff opposition from charter school backers due to his general opposition to charters.

District 5 includes Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights, Bell, Cudahy, Los Feliz and Huntington Park

Schmerelson, a retired LAUSD teacher and principal, defeated Galatzan, in the San Fernando Valley’s District 3 in May, while Vladovic defeated teacher Lydia Gutierrez to continue representing District 7, which includes the Harbor area and reaches into South Los Angeles.

McKenna ran unopposed for the District 1 seat, which he originally won in 2014 in a special election to fill the vacancy created by the death of board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte. The district represents south and southwest Los Angeles.

After the members were sworn in, the board elected Steve Zimmer as board president. Zimmer appointed McKenna as board vice president.

LAUSD Lowers Graduation Requirement

June 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Faced with the possibility that nearly 75% of current sophomores might not graduate high school, the Los Angeles Unified School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to lower graduation requirements scheduled to take effect with the class of 2017.

The school board’s decision will allow students who receive a D grade in college prep classes needed to graduate, lowering the standard set 10 years ago that requires a C or better in so-called A-G classes needed for admission to California colleges and universities.

The controversial Equity on A-G Resolution was co-sponsored by board members Monica Garcia, Steve Zimmer and George McKenna. The board members said the change is intended to “improve a 10-year old policy aimed at closing the achievement gap, and preparing students for college and careers,” but has resulted in some unintended consequences that could lead to more students dropping out of school.

Easing of the requirement would boost the high school graduation rate, said backers of the change in LAUSD policy.

It also puts the District’s graduation requirement in line with those in neighboring school districts and state standards.

But at a rally in front of LAUSD headquarters Tuesday, parents and students said lowering the requirement is shortsighted. They said the decision would allow students to think they are ready for college when in reality their LAUSD education will leave them unprepared for the rigors of higher education.

“We want to stop graduating them with nothing in their head,” said parent Brenda Hearn, NBC 4 reported.

However, at a larger rally that day, members of a coalition supporting the board’s resolution countered that students should not be blamed for the District’s failure to adequately prepare them to pass the classes with a C or better. They said students shouldn’t be discouraged from getting their high school diploma because the District has failed to live up to promises made a decade ago.

What’s needed is a stronger commitment on the part of the District to help students pass the classes and to close the achievement gap, said Maria Brenes, executive director of InnerCity Struggle, a leading advocate for the tougher requirement a decade ago.

Board member Garcia said the demands of the community are “loud and clear.” They support the A-G requirement and believe “our children are capable of achieving their potential and that every child, with the proper academic support, can become a college and career ready LAUSD graduate.”

Board members also voted to conduct a district-wide audit of programs that are intended to help students prepare for graduation and college.

Board members said the A-G resolution passed Tuesday must be accompanied with a commitment by the District to give students and teachers the support they need to be successful.

Coalition members said Tuesday they expect the District to develop a strategy that will allow students who are “off track” for A-G, to “get the services that they require – such as counselors, credit recovery programs and online courses – in order to pass these classes.”


Two Challengers Win School Board Races

May 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Ref Rodriguez and Scott Mark Schmerelson will join the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education July 1, replacing Bennett Kayser and Tamar Galatzan, while Richard Vladovic will begin his third term.

Rodriguez, the founder of a chain of charter schools known as Partnership to Uplift Communities, defeated Kayser, 53.55 percent-46.44 percent in Tuesday’s election in District 5, according to unofficial results released by the City Clerk’s Office.

Kayser, who has generally opposed charter schools, drew fire from the California Charter School Association, which put its financial might behind Rodriguez.

A former teacher and technology coordinator for the district’s Independent Studies program, Kayser had the backing of the powerful United Teachers Los Angeles union, which reportedly spent $800,000 to help Kayser, nearly $1 million less than what the Charter School Association was reported to have spent in support of Rodriguez.

Rodriguez finished first in the March primary election but fell short of the 50 percent of the vote needed to unseat Kayser.

District 5 includes Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights, Bell, Cudahy, Los Feliz and Huntington Park.

Schmerelson, a retired LAUSD teacher and principal, defeated incumbent Tamar Galatzan, a deputy Los Angeles city attorney, 54.61 percent-45.38 percent in the San Fernando Valley’s District 3.

Galatzan also had the support of the California Charter Association. Schmerelson had the backing of UTLA.

Galatzan congratulated Schmerelson on the victory and said she was proud of what the board accomplished over the past eight years “during difficult financial times.”

“I was an advocate for students before being elected to the school board,” she said. “I am an advocate for students as a board members and I will continue advocating on their behalf long after my time on the board.”

Vladovic defeated teacher Lydia Gutierrez, 55.91 percent-44.08 percent in District 7, which includes the Harbor area and reaches into South Los Angeles.

UTLA officials hailed the election of Schmerelson and re-election of Vladovic.

“UTLA is ready to work with all school board members in our fight for the Schools LA Students Deserve,” according to a union statement.

Breves de la Comunidad

May 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Ángeles

Ref Rodríguez y Scott Marcos Schmerelson se unirán a la Junta de Educación del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles comenzando el 1 de julio, en sustitución de Bennett Kayser y Tamar Galatzan.

Rodríguez, fundador de una cadena de escuelas Charter, derrotó a Kayser 53,55% contra el 46,44% en las elecciones del martes por el Distrito 5, de acuerdo con resultados extraoficiales de la Oficina del Secretario de la Ciudad.

Rodríguez obtuvo el primer lugar en las elecciones primarias de marzo, pero no llegó al 50% de los votos necesarios para desbancar a Kayser.

El Distrito 5 incluye Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights, Bell, Cudahy, Los Feliz y Huntington Park.


Boyle Heights

Un camión transportando una carga de vidrio se volcó el lunes por la mañana provocando el cierre de la carretera transición del sur de la autopista Santa Ana (5) a Pomona (60) en dirección este, dijeron las autoridades.

El chofer del camión sufrió heridas menores en el accidente, que ocurrió alrededor de las 6am y también involucró una camioneta, informó la Patrulla de Caminos de California.

La causa del accidente está bajo investigación.


Este de Los Ángeles

Doce personas sufrieron heridas leves el domingo cuando una van de pasajeros chocó con un tren del metro de la Línea Dorada, dijeron las autoridades.

El accidente ocurrió alrededor de las 5:35pm  en la intersección de la Calle Tercera y la Avenida McDonnell, dijo el oficial de la Patrulla de Caminos de California M. Alvarez.

Lorena P. García, 30, de Los Ángeles conducía una van Ford 1996 hacia el oeste en la calle Tercera en la intersección de la Avenida McDonnell Avenue y el operador del tren MTA Hugo A. Repreza, 56, de Reseda iba hacia el oeste en la Calle Tercera en McDonnell Avenue, dijo Alvarez.

“Cuando García hizo un giro a la izquierda, la furgoneta chocó con el tren MTA”, dijo el oficial.

Diez de los heridos sufrieron lastimaduras en el cuello y espalda, descritas como menores, y fueron trasladados a hospitales, según el Departamento de Bomberos del Condado de Los Ángeles

El teniente Lester Trull de Servicios de Tránsito del Alguacil del condado de Los Ángeles dijo que todos los heridos se encontraban en la van.

El tren tenía cuatro pasajeros a bordo. Ninguno resultó herido, ni el operador del tren, dijo Trull. El accidente esta siendo investigado por la CHP.

LAUSD Superintendent’s Contract Extended

May 18, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines Tuesday received a one-year contract extension from the Board of Education.

Terms of the extension were still under review, but nothing, including salary, was expected to change from the previous pact, which runs through June 30, 2015 according to Thomas Waldman, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s director of communications.

Cortines is under a contract that will run through June 30, 2016. It calls for him to receive an annual salary of $300,000.

The agreement will become public once the deal is finished, Waldman said.

Cortines was appointed interim superintendent on Oct. 16, replacing John Deasy, who resigned.

Cortines also served as LAUSD superintendent from 2008-11, when he was succeeded by Deasy. Cortines was also the district’s interim superintendent in 2000.

Respecting School Choice: No Need for Villians

April 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The denial of space to Collegiate Charter High School at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights may have been for reasons other than a strong opposition to charters schools as far as the Los Angeles Unified School District is concerned.

But there is no denying there are those who see every issue involving a charter school as a call to fight the “devil in our midst.”

We find that view discouraging and disrespectful to parents who feel a charter school would better serve their child’s needs.

The recent decision by the Los Angeles Unified School District to back away from its plans to give space on the Roosevelt High School campus is a case in point.

While we understand the objections to the site placement by students and local activists who believe a Wellness Center would better serve the needs of current and future Roosevelt students and their family, we disagree that the villain in this case is Collegiate Charter.

LAUSD is required by law to share facilities with charter school operators, but the District and local school board member were fully aware of the community’s desire for a Wellness Center at Roosevelt when it agreed to give space to Collegiate on the campus. The problem is LAUSD.

Roosevelt has struggled for more than a generation with poor academic outcomes, forced to endure years of overcrowding and shortages of textbooks, desks, college prep classes, year-round, multi-track schedules and even long lines to eat lunch.

This newspaper has published many articles over the years about the unacceptable conditions at Roosevelt and the desperate need to reduce overcrowding and for real education reform.

Our goal here is not to judge the effectiveness of public or charter schools, but to remind our readers that there is no simple, single right answer along the path to educational equality and closing the academic achievement gap for Latino students.

We should not forget that the popularity of the charter school movement, and for that matter, the pilot schools and small learning academies on many local campuses today, exist because the status quo public schools were failing too many students.

Students, parents, and yes, many teachers lobbied hard to bring change and greater school choice to LA Unified. EGP believes that no student or parent should be denied an education in the school of their choice, nor should they be intimidated in the process.

We have always been supportive of efforts to provide the best facilities the District has to offer to all students. It disappoints us that instead of greater collaboration between all school systems to better serve all students, some people prefer an adversarial and winner take all scenario.

A parent’s decision for their child’s education should be respected, no matter if it’s for a traditional public, charter or parochial school.

EGP wants all students to find the school that best fits his or her educational needs. All students are entitled to comfortable and safe campuses with good instructional materials, books and counseling.

And we want all the students’ parents to be respected and supported in the system of schools they have chosen.

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