A Day Without Janitors
By Sydney Thiroux/Granada Hills Charter High School
Picture a campus of over 4,000 students at lunchtime. A line that seems to be about a mile long forms on the way to the cafeteria. Some students are buying snacks from the vending machines. Other students, like myself, bring their own lunch and snacks. Now picture what that campus looks like after lunchtime. All kinds of wrappers and half-eaten meals are strewn everywhere. I have even seen my peers throw away perfectly good salads without even opening them. Janitors definitely have their work cut out for them.
Moving Past 100 Days: The Lies Continue
Perhaps Donald Trump’s greatest talent is his ability to feed fake news to his fans without interference from the mainstream press. In his signature move, he piles on a bunch of smaller lies and then follows up with an outrageous statement. The press then covers the controversy while ignoring the other nuggets. Meanwhile, his base reads them, sees that they have not been refuted and accepts them as truth. Perhaps this is one explanation for the fact that while his approval rating sits at a historically low 42%, only 2% of his voters regret their decision.
This weekend’s events marking Trump’s first 100 days in office provides an example of the problem as the press gets lost in their coverage of his “deeply disturbing” speech in Harrisburg while ignoring Trump’s weekly address. Meanwhile, this address contains outright lies that feed Trump’s alternate reality. Since our impotent press has failed to provide any type of fact-checking, I’ll do their job for them:
"My fellow Americans, I truly believe that the first 100 days of my Administration has been just about the most successful in our country's history.
If Trump is not lying with this opening statement, then he is surely delusional. The hundred-day was initiated during the FDR administration as he responded to the crisis of the Great Depression and acted accordingly. Obama faced a Great Recession that was threatening to deepen and acted quickly by ushering in a stimulus package. Even if Trump had the ability to display this type of leadership, the circumstances of a deep, overwhelming crisis do not exist that would enable him to unite the country around a solution.Read more
The First 100 Days: Trump Builds His Wall
“You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving -- Sean Spicer, our press secretary -- gave alternative facts”
- Kellyanne Conway
As told by Donald Trump, his presidency has been the best. With 304 electoral college votes, his was "the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan." He had “the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe." “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days.”Read more
Stacking the Deck?
“Moreover, ‘lower achieving students’ is not a protected class.”
- Brian Bauer, GHCHS
This week, Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) will attempt to win its sixth national Academic Decathlon championship in seven years. If this were a high school sports team instead of an academic one, the improbability of this accomplishment would probably be more of a focus but instead, it is blindly celebrated. No one seems to ask how it possible for a school that is supposed to draw from surrounding neighborhoods to consistently dominate the competition in a way that can only be compared to the winning streaks of the Harlem Globetrotters or the USA’s Olympic basketball Dream Teams. There is no doubt that members of Granada’s team work hard to achieve their success, but does the demographic makeup of this school give their team an unfair advantage?Read more
Above the Law?
“The LAUSD Board will be voting on whether they support a package of anti-charter laws that would threaten our schools’ funding, flexibility to implement the programs best for our students, and our ability to continue serving our families.”
-Granada Hills Charter High School
Real estate records show that on March 17, 2005, a “Bayer, Brian” whose address was “11141 Tampa Ave” purchased a property at 10600 Zelzah Ave., across the street from Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS). According to tax records, this house was still owned by “Bayer, Brian” on August 20, 2006. However, on December 11, 2008, a Grant Deed was filed stating that there was “an error in the name of the grantee in the original deed recorded on March 17, 2005.” At that point, GHCHS became the registered owner of the property.
If it is true that Brian Bayer, aka Brian Bauer, was accidentally recorded as the owner of the house on Zelzah, it is unclear why it took three and a half years to correct the mistake. The Governing Board is responsible for the $440,000 spent on the property and should have immediately noticed that the deed to the property had “accidentally” been given to their Executive Director. The charter is subject to a yearly “independent” audit, but these auditors also seemed to miss this major problem. As the authorizer for GHCHS, the LAUSD is responsible for oversight and conducts annual reviews. For three and a half years they also missed the problem.Read more
A Tale of Two School Districts
“We are also exploring another option, which is to petition LAUSD. This is promising for many reasons, one of which would be the relative ease in finding a site. We would still seek to locate in the same general geographic area, but Los Angeles has greater inventory”
-International Studies Language Academy
Despite having a school board that is alleged to be anti-charter, the LAUSD approves a lot of these publicly funded private schools. In fact, “no other school system in the nation has more charters or charter students than L.A.” Renewals for these charters are “routinely approved”, even when they have low academic achievement and fail to meet their obligations to special education students. Having their offices raided by the FBI does not preclude a charter operator from being offered co-located space in District schools, potentially disrupting the education of LAUSD students. In the meantime, the LAUSD hurls towards bankruptcy, partially due to the loss of students to the charter industry.Read more
Save Magnolia Ave. Elementary School
There is an actual public school named Magnolia and they need your help. They are set to be a victim of one of Monica Garcia's Prop 39 colocations and her fighting back. Please sign their petition at Change.org.
The Bipartisan Attack on Public Education
“I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina.”
-Democrat Arne Duncan
There is no doubt that Trump’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, is a clear threat to our public education system. Despite “analysis [that] has shown that charter schools [in her home state of Michigan] perform more poorly than public schools”, DeVos has not only pushed to grow the charter industry in the state, but also fought to ensure that charters are not held accountable for the public funds that they receive. For example, last summer, “the DeVos family contributed $1.45 million over two months...to Michigan GOP lawmakers and the state party after the Republican-led Legislature derailed a bipartisan provision that would have provided more charter school oversight in Detroit.” And now Trump has given her the opportunity to spread policies that are “destroying learning outcomes” nationwide.Read more
Petersen is a parent and businessman. He is a frequent presence at school board meetings. He advocates for equitable access for special education students as two of his triplet daughters are on the autism spectrum. Two years ago, he unsuccessfully ran in District 3 against incumbent Tamar Galatzan. He then threw his support behind Scott Schmerelson who defeated Galatzan in the runoff. He raised nearly $3,000.
He said a challenge he faced in this race was there was only one candidate forum.
“I think, in the end, the district is the loser in that because no ideas are exchanged, which I think other than picking a person to lead, that’s what elections are for,” he said Tuesday night.
Paying the Price for Monica Garcia's Win
“If parents are not happy with the school program, it is a school of choice. They are free (and indeed encouraged) to remove their kids from the school. There are plenty of other public school options for their children.”
-Mr. Tschang, former KIPP Principal
As I walked off stage at the only debate in the race for LAUSD’s District 2’s Board seat, a student walked up to me to express his support and to say that “we need you on the Board.” I thanked him and also assured him that I would continue fighting for the students of the District, win or lose. This pledge immediately came to mind as I found a flyer delivered by the District to the house in East L.A. where I had rented a room in order to run against Monica Garcia and her allegiance to charters. The public school closest to where I had lived for the past six months is scheduled to become the latest host for a charter school parasite and the District had scheduled an informational meeting to discuss the issue. On Tuesday morning I attended this meeting with approximately 60 parents of Marianna Avenue Elementary school. According to the flyer, staff was also invited to this meeting, but how exactly were they supposed to participate while school was in session? So much for the LAUSD’s goal of “parent and community engagement”.Read more