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Zimmer makes plea for seniors to apply to state universities

Mike Szymanski | November 30, 2015

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LAUSD School Board President Steve Zimmer has sent out an email reminder that midnight tonight is the deadline for students to apply to the University of California and California State University systems.

“Tonight’s deadline is one of the most important demarcation points in our struggle,” noted Zimmer, whose personal newsletter reaches parents, teachers, counselors and students. He addressed each of those constituents in asking that they help seniors apply for in-state universities. He noted that LAUSD has an equity mission and asks, “How many of our students, 80% of whom live in poverty, will apply, matriculate, persist and graduate? Is our system truly preparing students for success in higher education?”

“Or said differently,” he adds, “is public education in Los Angeles disrupting cycles of poverty? Are our schools eradicating systemic racism and bias? Can public education still help dreams become reality?”

He acknowledged that not all the questions can be answered by midnight but that the schools should reaffirm the district’s mission: Every high school should be concerned about graduation, every third grade class should deal with a reading gap, and the efforts should start at kindergarten.

Zimmer also encouraged students who may get rejections. “To our seniors, especially those of you who are unsure, reluctant or afraid of rejection, I want you to know that your school district, and all of your teachers and counselors believe in you,” he wrote. “I want you to know that seat at the UC and the CSU is your seat. You have worked for it and you have earned it. You have the right to be there, you deserve to be there and Los Angeles (all of us) need you to be there.”

He thanked teachers who work on the applications as if they are their own son’s or daughter’s application, and he urged parents to support their children’s efforts.

And, to those who don’t have a senior applying this year, Zimmer said, “This equity mission is not just about our public schools, it is about our community, our city. For those of us who have grown up in privilege, entitled with the expectation and assumption we would go to college, I ask us to remember most of us are only one or two generations removed from the anxiety our seniors face tonight. Tonight’s seniors may have different names than our parents and grandparents, but their American Dream is the same dream.”


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