Thursday, June 30, 2011

Alicia Brossy de Dios Reports Back from First Save Clay MS Community Meeting

"Any vote for Green Dot is a vote for deform... You are playing with the lives of children — not cars, not bicycles." — The Honorable Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte (LAUSD District 1)

Hello, everyone!

Yesterday I attended a great meeting regarding Clay Middle School and LAUSD's give away of Clay to Green Dot Charter. Congresswoman Maxine Waters was there to listen to concerns surrounding the give away. She said she agreed to this meeting because she had received so many phone calls from concerned parents and teachers who felt like their voices were not being heard by LAUSD.

Parents and teachers talked about intimidation and harassment (some regarding Clay MS, some regarding other schools and Public School Choice). They talked about being disrespected and misinformed (or not informed at all) by LAUSD. Teachers at Clay were given flyers to hand out to their students regarding the change from public school to a Charter run by Green Dot. Parents never received official notification via U.S. mail. Congresswoman Waters was not happy about that. Monique Epps from LAUSD's Charter office was in attendance. Waters politely but sternly questioned her about the way parents had not been properly informed about the changes at Clay. She asked what parents could do if they chose not to send their kids to the Green Dot Charter. Epps said parents could fill out an opt out form at her office and she would try to find them another school but that parents would be responsible for their own transportation. Waters was not happy about that either. She said she could think of a whole lot of lawsuits after all she heard at that meeting. At the end of the meeting a mother mentioned that when Locke was turned into a Charter, the district did provide transportation to those who chose not to attend the Charter.

One woman spoke about the Board's decision to do away with the advisory vote. She mentioned that she is in her 50's and was born in the 50's. She made reference to voting rights and African Americans. With the elimination of the advisory vote, she felt disenfranchised and she said it was an attack on the spirit. There was a lot of emotion. At the end of the meeting Waters said "the organizing is on!" She made a reference to any Green Dot or LAUSD people who were in the audience without introducing themselves to make their presence known. She said "there is a new sheriff in town!" She agreed to meet again next Saturday the 25th at 10 am at Clay MS. She asked Epps if that would be a problem (yesterday's meeting was held at a neighborhood church). I will send any information if it turns out to be somewhere else. I think it would be great if some of us could attend to help the Clay community, but also to see what we can learn from them.

Alicia Brossy de Dios is a public school teacher in Los Angeles and a member of the UTLA Board of Directors


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