VIEW FROM HERE - The South Los Angeles community is not lying low this week. They are still upset over the removal of Principal Veronique Wills from Barack Obama Global Preparatory Academy and have plans to move forward with demonstrations.
At the LAUSD Board meeting on July 12, teachers and community members of South Los Angeles shared their resentment over Principal Wills’ reassignment and demanded her return immediately. Testimony from the public had school board members scratching their heads and looking to each other for answers.
Not surprisingly, none of the school board members could give any of the stakeholders a legitimate reason for Principal Wills’ removal including Superintendent, John Deasy.
The reassignment of Principal Wills is only a piece of the pie that is fueling discontent with the South Los Angeles community. The real problem is with LAUSD’s decision making processes that have excluded community involvement.
Community members are alleging that LAUSD is making political decisions to transform schools in South Los Angeles into charter schools under its Public School Choice reform.
The community is citing LAUSD’s handing over of Clay Middle School to Green Dot, a charter school operator, without a proposal or solicitation process, as an example of a political strategic move.
According to community stakeholders, Green Dot’s track record and test scores in South Los Angeles mirror many of the public schools in the community. More than 50% of Green Dot’s schools in South Los Angeles have an Academic Performance Index (API) less than 650. Yet, it is being touted as a successful model of academic success.
Furthermore, the community is questioning the meaning of reform if one seeming poor performing school under the administration of LAUSD is given to a poor performing private charter school operator. That type of reform doesn’t make sense – unless it is politics!
South Los Angeles Defends Public Education (SLADPA) is hosting a press conference to shed more light on these controversial decisions and moves by LAUSD. The press conference is scheduled for July 27, 12:30 pm at the Obama Global Preparatory Academy.
Koyaki Kwa Jitahidi, one of the leaders of SLADPA, says, “We hope to raise awareness around the problematic trend taking place in LAUSD where major reform decisions are being made without, or some cases in spite of, the input of parents, community residents and staff. We hope to inspire a process where collaboration between all stakeholders is reinstituted in Public School Choice and other reforms.”
(Janet Denise Ganaway-Kelly offers more than a decade of accomplishments in the housing and nonprofit sector. Janet brings valuable insight in the areas of community and economic development. Additionally, she brings knowledge regarding the leadership and management challenges faced by large and small nonprofits that are struggling or growing organizations. She blogs at jdkellyenterprises.org ) –cw
Tags: LAUSD Board, South Los Angeles, SLADPA, politics, education
Vol 9 Issue 59
Pub: July 26, 2011