March 11, 2014
For Immediate Release
Boyle Heights Parents and Students Rally to Save Beloved School
333 Beaudry Ave, Los Angeles, CA. 90017
For the third week in a row, students and parents from Roosevelt High School's Academy of Environmental and Social Policy (ESP) will take to the streets in protest of LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy's decision to relocate their small school to Lincoln High School, in effect dismantling the school's population and culture. This time, their target is Board Member Monica Garcia, who they criticize for remaining silent during the destruction of their school without any parent, student, staff or community input.
Three weeks ago, students, parents and staff were given notice that their current location at the East LA Skills Center, where they have been housed for the past seven years, would not be available next school year. The school was informed that they would be moving to Lincoln High School, a move which many parents fear would put their Boyle Heights students at risk of gang violence, bullying, and would destroy the small school environment the school has worked so hard to establish. Many students play sports and participate in activities at Roosevelt High, and praise the small school for creating a safe, personalized, rigorous environment while maintaining a connection with Roosevelt's main campus. Teachers at ESP Academy fear that many students will not follow the staff to Lincoln, slashing the student population for next year. The main complaint about this process is the lack of voice given to the community and the lack of transparency on behalf of the school district. The reason their current site is not available has still not been communicated to the school community.
ESP students, parents and staff have rallied at the District offices for the past two weeks in a row, with 9 speakers sharing a public comment at last week's Board meeting. Tuesday, March 11, their focus is on Board Member Monica Garcia, who, according to her 2010 plan for school reform called "Reform the LA Way", announced that school reform should not be a "top down approach" but instead be "created on the ground...in the community...and always accountable to our parents". Parents and students argue that their school is being torn out from under their feet, in a process that has silenced all stakeholders, and Board Member Garcia has remained silent throughout the process. The school community is pleading with Garcia to make a statement that responds to their demands, to meet with their school community, and to add the issue of ESP Academy to the agenda for the next school board meeting.
Also see last week's LA Times article: http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/02/local/la-me-adv-lausd-roosevelt-20140303
The Academy of Environmental and Social Policy (ESP) for Roosevelt High School is an off-site true small public school (roughly 300 students) that provides all students a career-ready and college-preparatory program. http://www.esp-rhs.com/