Rallies at LAUSD for budget priorities and a student voice
Yana Gracile | April 7, 2014
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With the LA Unified board meeting tomorrow, two rallies are taking place outside district headquarters that seek support for two different educational issues.
Parents, education advocates and civil rights groups, who represent Communities for Los Angeles Student Success, or CLASS, are organizing a “silent protest” on behalf of low-income students, schools and communities by placing 375 empty desks on Beaudry Avenue. The desks represent the 375 LAUSD students who drop out each week, according to organizers.
“We have a historic opportunity to do right for the highest need students who have not received their fair share,” Maria Brenes, executive director of Inner City Struggle, a member of CLASS, told LA School Report. “This rally is calling on LAUSD officials to be bold by comprehensively directing funds to the highest need students, schools and communities.”
As LAUSD is preparing to refine its next budget, CLASS is demanding that $1 billion in extra state funding over the next seven years go to help the students it was meant to serve – low-income students, English learners and foster youth.
CLASS is calling attention to the opportunity to provide more resources and more targeted support to the students, schools and communities that need it most. The group will continue to advocate for more resources and more targeted support for English learners, more money to go directly to school sites, and more funding for foster youth.
The rally is scheduled for 7 to 10 am.
A second rally, tomorrow afternoon, is being stage by LA Unified students who are supporting a resolution to put a student seat on the school board. Some of the students – a group of 25 United Way Student Fellows – did the research and proposed the idea to board member Steve Zimmer who agreed to author a resolution. The seat would be an advisory, non-voting seat.
The goal is to make sure students have a voice on the school board, a voice in the policy and funding decisions that profoundly affect them. Dozens of school districts throughout California already have a student advisory member on their school boards.
The students have collected close to 3,000 signatures from their peers to support the creation of a student board member with an advisory position, far exceeding the 500 signatures required.
Students hope and expect that the board will pass the resolution to make student involvement a regular and frequent activity. The board is expected to vote on the resolution during their board meeting tomorrow afternoon.
Another rally was held this afternoon at the Beaudry headquarters.
A city-wide coalition of community groups and civil rights leaders – including 300 students and parents – gathered to call for greater investment in the district’s highest need schools.
Organized by the Community Coalition, the groups presented a comprehensive, data-driven “Student Need Index” that uses environmental, social and academic factors known to impact student achievement – such as poverty and violence – to produce a district-wide ranking of schools based on need.