There was palpable anger in the air at Garfield High School when parents, students, and community confronted LAUSD Vice President Yolie Flores Aguilar over her Corporate Charter School Choice Resolution. Ms. Flores Aguilar vacillated between a condescending tone toward people she felt didn't understand she was "helping them," and melodrama when anyone really cornered her on her lies and misinformation. It's safe to say she'd have a career in acting if she ever quits her day job of political opportunism and corporate servility. Ms. Flores Aguilar denied her resolution had anything to do with privatization and charters at least a half a dozen times throughout the meeting. Considering GHS has been a target of a Green Dot hostile take over for roughly a year, its no surprise Flores Aguilar avoided the using the charter word in front of the crowd of roughly 320 people at all costs. The event was organized by parents and community activists including Carlos Montes, a GHS alumni himself.
Sadly Vice President Flores Aguilar repeatedly lied about her resolution when she kept insisting the community would get to choose the type of school they wanted. She didn't mention that while community input is solicited under her resolution, in the end the community doesn't make the choice at all. Arne Duncan's community meetings in Chicago also solicited input community, and then promptly ignored it.
Several current and former students really took the LAUSD Vice President to task, and she was visibly shaken by her inability to explain to her constituents why she was taking actions contrary to their wishes. A high point was when a GHS graduate from the class of 1997, who went on to graduate from Yale, asked Flores Aguilar point blank how dare she ignore the improvements at Garfield. The entire crowd stood in unison and applauded his inspired speech!
Given Garfield's history, it's no wonder they have an admirable culture of resistance. We need to carry their spirit against privatization throughout the district. We need to defend all our schools against Green Dot and other CMOs. We need to self organize and put forth our vision of education and resist the corporate vision embodied by Gingrich/Petruzi/Barr/Duncan. Could you imagine the East Los Angeles Walkouts at a campus run with Green Dot's pepper spray happy security thugs?
After Vice President Flores Aguilar's somewhat arrogant final remarks, the parents began chanting "delay the vote! delay the vote!" It's doubtful she listened, but it was a poignant way to finish the meeting.