Students to school board: Neediest schools deserve more
Aaron Stella | April 28, 2014
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A new movement is brewing at Fremont High School, a school with a troubled past that has been at the epicenter of community and educational change many times over the years in south LA.
For the past week, students there have been using an old-fashioned organizing tool — a petition drive — to bring a message directly to the LA Unified school board. It aims at improving the quality of education for the neediest of LA Unified students and their schools.
“We need a lot more help from the district than what we’re getting,” said Briana Lamb, a senior at Fremont. Long considered a drop-out factory, Fremont was reconstituted in 2010 with some promising improvements. But still it faces vast challenges, serving more than 2,400 of the highest needs students in south LA.
Lamb is urging members of the school board to give what she and other students are calling their “fair share” of the new school funds through the new Local Control Funding Formula. The petition asks the board to use a new metric called the Student Needs Index, developed by local community groups, to address historical inequities.
“Many students aren’t empowered to stand up for their needs and to get the quality of education they deserve,” said Lamb.
Sandra Hamada, youth director at the Community Coalition, said the students expect to deliver the petition with about 4,000 signatures to LAUSD board President Richard Vladovic tomorrow afternoon.
The effort is supported by the Community Coalition, an organization that helps train students and residents to advocate for themselves. “We’re essentially trying to overcome the disinvestment that has fallen upon our community and district,” Hamada said.
While Lamb, as a senior, will not experience the changes that may result from her petition, she said she is determined to ensure that future students receive the quality of education they deserve.
“I have family coming into the school district, ” she said. “I want this school and the school district to be a better place for them when they get here.”