URBAN PERSPECTIVE - South Los Angeles advocates are lining up to take on its big bully in education, Los Angeles Unified School District. Recently, Superintendent Deasy announced a restructuring of Crenshaw High School to a full-school magnet causing a reconstitution of staff. The community is in an absolute uproar.
Unlike a childhood bully, LAUSD seems to be brushing off the assertiveness of local stakeholders who have demanded involvement in revamping of their schools. This tactical move to alienate them has social justice advocates labeling the Crenshaw reconstitution- Civil Rights Ground Zero.
“This move by Deasy isn’t sitting well with the locals and is being seen as another bully intimidation tactic by LAUSD to take over schools where there are higher ratios of African Americans,” said Kokayi Jithadi, Ma’at Institute for Community Change.
There are general acknowledgements that the school needs to improve. However, the school has seen some improvements in the California’s Academic Performance Index. South LA advocates believe they have the recipe to turnaround Crenshaw High if their LAUSD bully includes them as a partner.
One of the models proposed is the Extended Learning Cultural Model. This model based on using the community to improve school performance through culturally-relevant curriculum.
“Our partnerships are made up of Academic Researchers and Foundations that have graciously supported a great deal of the work, not a political ideology, ” exclaims Kahllid A. Al-Alim, Coalition for Educational Justice.
“By allowing the community to have input in the way the Extended Learning Cultural model is created, it pulls in the necessary leadership from the various organizations (business, nonprofit, Community Councils) that have a deep invested interest to raise the quality and standard of living in our historically disenfranchised neighborhoods.”
The failure of Crenshaw and other high schools such as Dorsey are not so much the students or the community as it is LAUSD. It’s the harassments and constant threats that give cause to outrage and calls of discrimination. The reason is that the orchestration of three proposed magnet schools with accelerated and college-ready preparatory archetype is only an excuse and stems from constant bullying.
“LAUSD has failed Crenshaw, Dorsey and schools in South Central Los Angeles not just through budget cuts but also through acts of intimidation and harassment towards parents, teachers, and students. We believe their actions are on purpose! After giving it extensive time to make a change, the community no longer buys into the Accelerated, Preparatory only College Ready remedy,” said Jitahidi.
LAUSD is instigating an uprising. A Community Open Forum on Crenshaw High School is scheduled for Tuesday, Novermber 27 at 6:30 pm . The purpose of the town hall is inform on the impeding proposed changes, address school improvement, and galvanize advocates for the work ahead.
Jitahidi shares about the forum, “For African Americans, the battle around Crenshaw is the launching of a new awareness and commitment to the historic fight for quality education in our community. With that, we demand that any changes carried out at Crenshaw and any school in our community be done in partnership with the community. This is vitally important for African Americans, in particular, who feel like their voices do not matter at LAUSD.”
The fight for Crenshaw is being waged for the model that reflects the ethnic majority. It seems the resolution is to allow the Extended Learning Cultural Model to develop and/or have the community engaged in the educational success of the school.
Al-Alim sums up, “There are many ground zeros across the nation and I believe this is a human rights fight due to the fact that America has had a long running history of discrimination and the mis-educating of its former slaves. We have to allow this model to unfold. The eyes of the nation are watching. America’s survival depends on it!”
Now, might be time to add LAUSD’s community bullying to the types of bullying definitions. By all descriptions, it resembles the repeated unwanted, aggressive, and imbalance of power behavior inflicted on those cut-off from partnership and school influence.
COMMUNITY FORUM DETAILS: This forum is open to the public. The Community Open Forum on Crenshaw High School will be held Tuesday, November 27, 6:30 pm at the African American Cultural Center, 3018 W. 48th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90043. Call 424-240-8510 for more details.
(Janet Denise Kelly is a CityWatch featured contributor. She 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 and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org) –cw