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L.A. school leaders, community groups to debunk inflammatory flier aimed at undocumented parents [Updated]

Two L.A. Unified School District leaders plan to hold a news conference this morning with community groups to debunk a Spanish-language flier claiming illegal-immigrant parents who sign a petition calling for a charter school will be deported.

[Updated at 8:45 a.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that the teachers union was holding the news conference.]

The 10 a.m. news conference outside the teachers union headquarters in the Wilshire District is the latest development in ongoing disagreements over a proposal to improve 30 struggling or new campuses, with the school district and its teachers union stalled in crucial negotiations.

[Updated at 8:59 a.m.: A previous version of this post said the disagreement was over control of the schools, but actually involves proposals to improve the campuses.]

Becoming a charter school is one option for the 30 campuses designated for reform plans. Charters are independently managed and frequently nonunion. They often have been criticized by United Teachers Los Angeles, the teachers union, but there is no evidence the union's leadership is responsible for the flier.

Participants in today’s news conference are expected to include school board President Monica Garcia, school board member Yolie Flores Aguilar and representatives of several allied community organizations.

Flores Aguilar authored the resolution that allows groups inside or outside the district to bid for control of new or struggling schools. Garcia is a close ally of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has supported the Flores Aguilar resolution.

Besides calling attention to the flier, which reportedly circulated in the Pico-Union and Westlake areas west of downtown, the board members also plan to assert that community groups supporting the reform effort have suddenly encountered hostile receptions instigated by teachers on campuses where they were formerly welcome, said Jarad Sanchez, education coordinator of the group Alliance for a Better Community.

The news conference is being held at UTLA headquarters in large measure to pressure the union to sign an agreement allowing for more pilot schools, Sanchez said.

Pilot schools are campuses that have charter-like freedoms under a simplified union contract, but they remain under district control. Pilot schools are another reform option for the 30 targeted campuses.

The teachers union officially supports pilot schools, but some within its leadership have said they want more job protections if the number of pilots increases beyond the 10 it has already agreed to.

The district gave the union a 5 p.m. Monday deadline for signing the pilot-school expansion, but the union did not respond.

-- Howard Blume

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Comments () | Archives (29)

If you're going to use big words like INFLAMMATORY, at least learn how to spell them correctly.

UTLA is getting desperate.

If you deport the illegals you will solve most os LAUSD's problems!!!

How can any leader of the teachers' union say with a straight face that the union really cares about educating children? It's sad ... but it's not hopeless: every day more and more families self-select out of LAUSD, leaving behind a district that gets worse and worse. Someday it will get so bad that someone will break it into pieces and start over. So it's not hopeless -- unless you are counting on public education in the next decade or so. That's a lost decade.

Regardless of signing any petition, shouldn't illegal immigrants be deported ANYWAY?

The fliers were unnecessary. If I am not mistaken you have to be a registered voter to sign a petition that affect any form of government action. Furthermore, you must be a legal resident to vote. Therefore, signatures of undocumented immigrants would be invalid. Undocumented immigrants have the numbers but not the legal power to change anything.

I am not for charter schools because they receive our tax dollars but are ran by private groups. I don't want my public dollars going to any private non-public entity. If you want a private school then put up the private dollars.

In addition, charter schools "reform" by setting up a plan or target. These more often only take in the best of the best. If your child has any special needs it is very unlikely they will qualify to attend.

And yes while charter schools are non-union they also pay less for their teachers. If this were basketball you find the best players possible and guess what...those players cost you more money.

When these students are tested they often do not score any better than other students.

So what is the big push? It's money and politics. They push the idea of a charter school as if its a high quality private school. They can then divert money that is going to struggling public schools to these charter schools...but in the end they are still the same tax dollars.

"Two L.A. Unified School District leaders plan to hold a news conference this morning with community groups to debunk a Spanish-language flier claiming illegal-immigrant parents who sign a petition calling for a charter school will be deported."

While the flier's message may not be factual, the issue it addresses is a fact of life. Illegals should not have a voice in petitioning schools because they are not here legally. Millions of people have spent time and money to migrate legally. Those legal immigrants did so to escape poverty, escape oppression, and basically to improve their lives.

Let's not marginalize the sacrifices of our legal immigrants by granting their rights to illegal immigrants.

The threat of deportation via flyer is sad. All that's needed is to yell, "Migra". That would have resolved the issue.

If our government was doing it's job right, then ICE would be there with buses at the meeting to deport these illegals. It is time to get rid of these people.

How about focusing on getting accurate information out before posting it.

Schigolch, you took the bait hook, line, and sinker. UTLA did not make that flier. Period. This is a total smear attack against the union. None of the "tactics" that the organizers of this event complain about has ANYTHING to do with UTLA. It's pure propaganda, manufactured for mass consumption. Mr. Blume, as a journalist it is your responsibility to discover and report the TRUTH, and not just repeat some politicians' talking points.

UTLA continues to be unprogressive and not do what is right for students, teachers, and parents.

The 8:59 "update" is in error. This is about control of the schools. There are 36 schools currently up for bid under the so-called "Public School Choice" motion passed by the school board in August. 24 of those 36 are brand new schools that have no record yet on which to "improve." And LAUSD policy for both the new and existing campuses is soliciting both "operational and instructional plans." Make no mistake, whoever submits the "winning" proposal for a particular school will, for all practical purposes, have control of that school. That's not the way the self-styled "reformers" like Monica Garcia and Yolie Flores Aguilar would like this process to be described, but the truth is the truth.

LAUSD is a sinking ship if I ever saw one, It is time to start from scratch.
My poor LEGAL immigrant parents had to pay into this broken school system all while busting their humps to pay for private school for myself and two other siblings.

Private schools are not unionized for good reason. I personally witnessed two teachers receive their walking papers because parents were complaining. Lets see LAUSD fire any teacher.

More facts that somehow didn't make it into Mr. Blume's article: UTLA has a long record of advocating for civil rights for undocumented immigrants. UTLA has repeatedly endorsed the pro-immigrant May 1st marches of recent years. UTLA tried to amend Yolie Flores Aguilar's so-called "Public School Choice" motion to give parents (including undocumented parents) and staff the right to VOTE on reform plans for their schools. Yolie rejected this amendment, but now she wants to smear UTLA by pretending to defend the rights of immigrant parents.

Let's be clear, today's press conference was called as a desperate attempt to move the focus off the corporate charters and CCSA's bad faith negotiating with LAUSD Superintendent Cortines over Special Education. With little to no community support for corporate charters, and charters making themselves look very, very bad by rejecting and fighting the resolution's requirements to educate special needs children and respect attendance boundaries, they are now wont to try and focus the blame on the hard working teachers of UTLA! This is an obvious smear campaign, and cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

While the content of the flyer in question is deplorable, the fact that at no time during the press conference did any speaker mention the flyer did not come from UTLA, is not associated with UTLA in any way, nor does it represent UTLA's position in any fashion, is just as despicable. ABC's Executive Veronica Melvin made every effort to suggest UTLA was somehow guilty by association. Worse still was Maria Casillas, President of FIS, who asserted "unions need to monitor their own people," clearly trying to place the blame for some rogue individual squarely on organized labor.

To have two prominent school board members then follow these NGO executives, and not call out the previous two speakers' obvious innuendo and lies of omission is unconscionable! Board President Garcia went as far as to suggest certain organizations (standing at the UTLA entrance) were violating civil rights! Us activists in the social justice movement understand Garcia, Flores-Aguilar, and the 501c3 executive crowd owe a great debt to the corporate benefactors backing them financially, but today's smear campaign was way beyond the pale.

Teachers unions can be very nasty when they think they're going to lose $.

We in Santa Monica know this from a few years back when the teachers union wanted to raise taxes to keep themselves in business. They sent students home with a so-called homework questionnaire with all the questions revolving around why new taxes were needed to pay teachers. Back then, the teachers union used the excuse that they were trying to teach students a "civics" lesson.

With this in mind, I would not doubt that the union circulated this flier to block charter schools.

"Flores Aguilar authored the resolution that allows groups inside or outside the district to bid for control of new or struggling schools." COOL! Now people from all over the U.S. can horn in on this. Prepare for busloads of folks that you never dreamed existed showing up on your doorstep to totally derail any kind of intelligent discussions.

"shouldn't illegal immigrants be deported ANYWAY?"

- We have a winner. Yes, you are correct. Criminals need to pay for their crimes.

And this so-called teachers' union is a joke. Do they even care about the horrible education that the kids are getting these days? Probably more worried about getting a paid sick day.

Inflammatory language against illegals is wrong - and that's what they are, illegal, not "undocumented" like in this caption. They didn't somehow LOSE their documents, they chose to come here illegally and educate their kids at our expense. In the process, dragging down LAUSD's once-proud, high test-score and satisfaction status, and even demanding ethno-centric changes to reflect what they want as "Mexicans" or "Latinos" opposed to the "racist white culture."

Flores Aguilar and Monica Garcia are radical anti-charter school members of the school board, who have fought charters because they claim falsely that they only help middle-class kids and whites and leave the hardest to educate behind. Then people blame the teachers for "doing a bad job."

These two have pushed to build all the multi-million dollar beautiful new schools in East L A where they largely educate the kids of illegals, while the westside schools like Uni High, Fairfax High, Emerson Middle and dozens more in all grade levels are crumbling, over-crowded and hence deter the locals from attending, forcing them into private schools, shrinking LAUSD's school size and losing it state funding. (Others including illegals have left for cheaper housing like Inland Empire of Lancaster, Palmdale, San Bernardino, bringing their problems and culture with them, and we hear and read about clashes there. Many of those who lost their homes recently because they bought over their heads are illegals. The illegal problem just shifted around.)

LAUSD has built the MOST expensive schools in the US recently, but from Contreras to Belmont to the former Ambassador, to Broad Performing Arts and Bernstein, they almost ALL cater to Latinos thanks to Garcia and Flores, while they fight charters and anything that benefits legal citizens. They have to wake up and realize all the anger out there. I HOPE they haven't put out false information that the teachers or other pro-charter groups are racist, just to play into their agendas.

I am a resident of East LA with a brother at Garfield High School. I was present at the press event today to stand with Civil Rights organizations to denouce fear and mis-information. We clearly asked UTLA to stand with us! The door is still open. Some of you on this blog are refusing to stand with the community and DENOUCE fear and lies. We were there to speak on behalf of our community and on behalf of those parents that feel like they have been silenced- including my own mom who has been told to be quiet at community meetings in East LA becuase she support Pilot Schools. Pilot Schools are public schools! For those accusing us of a smear campaign: are you not for real parent voice and engagement? If you are then take some leadership and make sure that parents have all the information to make educated decisions. The current environment in our schools works against democracy and everyone that is a human being should be able to participate in the democratic process. Are you with us or not? Stop complaining about being attacked and stand on the side of access and democracy. We clearly made a call out to work together. If UTLA is for immigrant rights then lets stand together against all the other people on this BLOG who are not.

I am the parent that spoke at the press event. My children attend schools in East LA. I am an active parent that wants to see school reform so that our children can be prepared for college and a better future. Schools have failed our students for too long- academically. The achievement level has stayed the same. Something has to be different. Teachers and UTLA: are you with us? It is a fundamental question of solidarity. The best way to get to reform is through Pilot Schools- which maintains the teacher contract. The organizations present today support the same reform. We were there to ask UTLA to be on our side. We know teachers are our best allies! The real issue is that parents in our schools feel afraid to stand on the side of change and choice. We will no longer be scared and silenced! Teachers and UTLA: are you with us? Will you denouce the fear? If UTLA continues to be silent on the issue it will be a great disappoint to parents in our community. Are you going to help get the right information to parents? We want unity! Do you? We want change! Do you! If yes- let's come together.

kevin | November 10, 2009 at 03:16 PM

What??????????????? is he/she for or against undocumented charters???????

makes no sense!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am also an East LA resident, parent and advocate. I denounce the fear for change that has been created in our schools. I am a supporter of Pilot Schools at Garfield and the new Torres High Schools. I was accused by a school staff person at my son's elementary of being for charters! This is crazy! It made me have second thoughts about being involved because one is automatically attacked for asking for school change. I refused to be silenced! I was at the press event today to demand that UTLA provide their members the right information about options to parents- including pilots! We want to work with UTLA! As a parent, I am looking to educators, elected officials, community organizations to take a stand against fear. Will you?

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