Parents Advocate in Force At The LAUSD Board Room To Fight For Choice And Charters

September 19, 2012

  • Print
On September 11, 2012, LAUSD Board Member Steve Zimmer introduced a resolution to limit choices for parents by not allowing the board to hear any petitions for new charter schools.

Parents packed the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board room to share their personal stories and ask the board members to not limit choices for families.

"Six months ago, 6,000 parents rallied asking for more school choices here in Los Angeles. Have they already been forgotten?" Corri Ravare, executive director of Families That Can, asked Board Member Zimmer.

Isabel Lamas from Stern MASS, a charter school in East Los Angeles that is part of the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, said she felt fortunate that her son was selected in the lottery, but asked board members to think of all the families whose children are on waitlists. Currently, more than 10,000 families are on waitlists to attend charter schools in the Los Angeles area alone.

Families That Can also presented 600 signatures from parents from across Los Angeles who were unable to attend the meeting in person, but who signed a petition against the resolution.

"This resolution doesn't serve children in Los Angeles," said Jana Harper, who chose Our Community School in Chatsworth because she wasn't happy with what she saw at district schools in her neighborhood. "I believe that if district schools had the independence and flexibility to allow their professionals the ability to meet the needs of the students at their school they would be competitive with public charter schools and I would celebrate it. This resolution punishes the students and their parents for wanting more for their children."

Parents at the meeting came from several charter schools throughout Los Angeles, including Extera Charter School in Boyle Heights. Other schools represented included: Vista Charter School, Green Dot Public Schools, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.

Prophet Walker, a charter school parent, told board members he attended LAUSD schools until age 16 when he was incarcerated. He added that he became committed to education while serving time, and has since trained to be an engineer. Walker said he moved his daughter from a district school to a charter because he was frustrated with the lack of quality and the bureaucracy in the traditional system.

"Whether it's a charter school or a district school, I support all well-functioning academic institutions. Don't take away choices for students - these aren't throwaway kids," said Walker.

"I'm not here for politics - this affects our kids every day," said Raul Castro of the Latino Coalition, who spoke against the resolution and who told parents to spread the word to others.

"I've seen the difference," said Maria del Carmen Vasquez. Her oldest child attends an Aspire school in south L.A., but her two younger children on waiting lists. "I want the best for my kids - that's why I'm here today."

At the meeting, Board Member Zimmer said he was listening to the concerns of parents, and would present a revised resolution in October. We will keep you posted on any developments, and how they impact charter schools, and more importantly, charter school families.

Take action today and tell your Board Member to vote against this resolution.

The California Charter Schools Association sent live Tweets throughout the meeting. Check out @lacharters to see more quotes.

Several media outlets also covered the issue before and after the resolution was introduced. Here are some highlights:

Add a comment