Economy Education LAUSD

Student Storm Swirling at Santee? – UPDATED



Stellar USC grad student, Emily Henry, was reporting at Santee Education Complex
yesterday and found that it isn’t just the teacher’s union—UTLA— that intends to keep protesting teacher layoffs, there is a rising tide of student and parent anger that threatens to hit a boiling point.

Last Friday, there was already one student walk off and more are scheduled.

Here’s the opening of Emily’s report:

According to reports earlier today from Jose Lara, a teacher at Santee Education Complex, students are prepping for a walkout in the coming days. Teachers are also preparing for a hunger strike. However, in the last few hours Lara reports that Santee High School is “on lockdown” and that students from Manual Arts School and West Adams have walked out and are circling Santee in an act of solidarity.

Read the rest here.
And then listen to the mini-podcast.

Santee high school is one of the mayor’s cluster of schools (which is a whole other conversation),
and some of the mayor’s people came over to try to quiet things. As you will see from Emily’s report, they did not succeed.

Everyone with sense knows that the coming teacher cuts are bad. But parents and students at the district’s troubled urban schools like Santee feel that they are already operating too close to the edge, and that additional resources pulled away will create a calamitous deficit that cannot and should not be tolerated.

Originally 55 teacher layoff notices went out at Santee, which students said would have decimated the school’s math and science departments. Now that number has been cut in half. But it is still too many, students say.

The question is: as righteous as they are, can the protests and the walkouts really accomplish anything as ever more draconian cuts are promised? Students claim the stakes are too high to stop.

We will stay tuned. And we hope Emily Henry will help us do so!

UPDATE: 8 A.M. Despite Lockdown threats four hundred or more students are gathering outside Santee this morning intending to march to the district headquarters. They are being told to go inside. They ain’t going. Teacher Jose Lara is Twittering @Josedelbarrio

While we’re on the subject of whether these protests are effective, read an excellent column on the issue by Venice H.S. teacher, book author, former TV writer, Dennis Danziger, called “The Day My Union Died.”

Here’s how it opens:

As I cruise around L.A., his eyes follow me. He’s in my face when I stop for a coffee or pull up at an ATM. This blond, 30-something, smiling white dude on the ubiquitous billboards looks like he might have sold sub-prime mortgages and enjoyed it. In his hound’s-tooth suit and bow tie, I’m pretty sure he fights tax cuts for the rich, and above his head I read these words:

Hiring dropouts is just good business. Honestly who else would work that cheap?

Below his beaming face, I read:
High School Dropouts make 42% less money.

Stay in school.

But on May 15, 2009, I planned to do just the opposite…..

(Photo of May 18 Santee walkout by KTLA-TV)


  • It’s interesting that Marshall Tuck, who helped build the Green Dot organization & momentum, would discourage peaceful student protest regarding the conditions under which they must be educated. I highly recommend he watch the film Walkout about the Chicano student protests in LAUSD 30 years ago & rethink his position!

    The media makes much of Green Dot’s community organizing tactics in staging a parent revolution. I would very much like someone to ask Steve Barr what he would do if students walked out of one of his schools to make a statement about decisions regarding their education. And what if parents chose to support their children in such an act of protest?

    It’s a scary day for education reform when the innovators begin to take on the self-preservation positions enshrined in the failing establishment.

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