Saving our Teachers

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10:  Teachers who ille...

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Things are dire in LAUSD and being a parent at a lower-income school, it’s even worse. Six highly trained and credentialed teachers were given pink slips. In a world of budget cuts and people losing their jobs, this may be ho-hum to most, but these 6 are extraordinary individuals. Our school has a great Dual Language Program (Spanish) and one of the teachers who received an RIF (Reduction in Force) was the one who started the program at the school. In fact, three of the teachers who were notified teach in the Dual Language Program. Our school is also, along with the middle and high school, in it’s preliminary years of becoming an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. Over the past 2 years, all 6 of these teachers have gone through the IB training to ensure the goals of the program are being followed.

With the District proposing an increase in class sizes (We currently have 1:20 in grades K-3, the District wants 1:29), this means that in addition to losing the 6 teachers, the school will have to buy 7 more teachers who may or may not be qualified to replace the lost teachers. As it stands, LAUSD does not have any extra teachers who have already gone through IB training and often, teachers who are credentialed to teach Dual Language, aren’t necessarily interested in doing so. The lack of trained IB instructors puts the schools upcoming approval in jeopardy.

The best thing, is that the school is being proactive about keeping these teachers. For our students and for the approval of becoming an IB school, it’s paramount that these teachers remain. On Tuesday, signs were posted alerting parents to what was happening and six chairs are outside, so that students can write words of support or their names on the paper provided. Next Thursday, the school is holding an emergency meeting to inform parents and the community what is happening. I hope more parents show up and more write letters to the District urging them to retain these teachers for next year, no matter the final budget outcome. We need these teachers!

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  • That was the general reaction of everyone at the meeting. "Can't we just buy them back?" Answer: No, the layoffs are based on seniority (these teachers have 6 - 12 years experience each), so last one hired and all that. "Can we raise funds to keep these teachers?" Answer: Nope. They're on contract so either their contracts aren't going to be renewed OR if they are renewed, these teachers could be sent to other schools.

    Tied up in all this is that the school is a Title I school (this means more than 85% of the student body comes from low income households) and there is a grant the school has that keeps class sizes low (the school will lose the grant if they are forced to bump up class size and can't buy new teachers). Two or 3 of the teachers who received pink-slips also give extra time to help students who are just below proficiency to go up. They volunteered for Learning Center and in the 8 weeks the program has been going on, there has been a positive change in these students routine classwork. We had just voted on extending Learning Center to more grades and students last month, so to find out that half of the LC teachers were pink-slipped was blow.
  • WHAT? They're laying off 6 teachers so they can hire 7 replacements? Dubbayou Tee Eff???
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