July 20, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

PARENTS PROTEST VENICE CUTS BY LAUSD

1:31pm
A growing coalition of 290 active and engaged public school parents is calling on School Board President Steve Zimmer and Superintendent Michelle King to reverse the Los Angeles Unified School District’s decision to cut in half the Mandarin Immersion program at Venice’s racially and economically diverse Broadway Elementary School. With plans for the next school year being finalized in the next few weeks, parents note that the time for action is now.

Last week, thousands rallied at LAUSD schools as part of a “walk in” to show support for public schools. Cutting this program, the parents say, validates the narrative that the LAUSD is unwilling or unable to compete with charter and private operators.

“This program makes our kids more competitive and shows how the District can compete against charter and private operators who are siphoning away public school parents, students and resources,” said Jennifer Pullen, a Broadway Elementary School parent and President of Parents for Progressive Education. “Why is the District cutting a program that promotes such high student achievement and that is in such high demand from parents? It’s the opposite of what they should be doing. ”

If the District stands by its decision to cut the number of incoming Kindergarten Mandarin Immersion seats from 96 to 48, there will be only a slim chance for new families to enroll their children in the program because more than 40 seats are already claimed by sibling-priority students. This directly dis-serves the local student population served by Broadway Elementary, the parents note. Cutting the Kindergarten program would also have lasting effects in subsequent years to future Mandarin Immersion classes in grades 1 through 5.

Parents for Progressive Education calls upon the District leaders to do the following:

“Reverse the decision to cut two Kindergarten Mandarin Immersion classes from Broadway Elementary School in Venice. Stop hurting kids. Stop shooting yourself in the foot. Uphold your commitment to a program that is proven to work for students and is reinvigorating a public school that was facing closure.”

Los Angeles’ public schools are facing ever-stiffening competition from private schools and private operators. Parents are removing their children from their local public schools in droves, reducing enrollment and parental involvement. This is creating a Tale of Two Education Systems for Los Angeles students that harms their ability to succeed and Los Angeles’ future competitiveness.

Some parents, however, believe in public school education, and rather than flee, they have devoted time and resources – in partnership with engaged and passionate school officials – to improve public schools. Unfortunately, by cutting the Mandarin Immersion program in half at Broadway Elementary School, the District is hurting students and is:

–Rejecting neighborhood parents who are eager to enroll their kids in their local school. Parents for Progressive Education is fighting for new and local families and a brighter future for Broadway Elementary and our public schools as a whole.

–Gutting a program that has proven successful in the short-term and that has long-term benefits for students in terms of development, language skills, cultural awareness and competitiveness in the global economy.

–Discouraging parental donations, time and involvement in public schools, which face limited resources and where parental involvement is often a key point of contrast with charter and private options.

–Proving itself to be a moribund bureaucracy more interested in perpetuating the status quo than increasing the quality of education for our kids.

In 2010, with leadership from Board Member Zimmer (and Parents for Progressive Education is hoping for the same leadership here) and Principal Susan Wang, parents helped create the Mandarin Language immersion program at a time when, according to the District, Broadway Elementary was facing a shut down due to low enrollment.
Originally 2 classes comprising 24 students each, the program attracted so much demand that it was increased to a total of 4 Kindergarten classes comprising 96 students. Students are now learning in Mandarin in grades K-5 at Broadway.

Program students spend half their day learning in English and the other half learning in Mandarin. It is not a “language” class. Rather, instruction across the spectrum of elementary education – science, math, etc. – is conducted in Mandarin.

Parents literally camped out on the sidewalk overnight to enroll their kids in the program, and demand soon outstripped Broadway’s capacity—the wait list is large enough to support expanding the program to two additional Kindergarten classes beyond the 4 the parents are seeking to preserve.

In response, and to support growth of the program to create a multi-lingual pathway through Mark Twain Middle School and into Venice High that had been a stated goal of Board Member Zimmer, in 2014, the District approved plans to relocate Broadway’s Mandarin Immersion program to a new, dedicated building adjacent to Mark Twain Middle School, in Mar Vista.

Unfortunately, some local residents expressed concerns about traffic, parking and potential loss of recreational space, and facing pressure, the District reversed course and cancelled the project.

Parents were discouraged, but were understanding, and they recommitted to strengthening the Mandarin Immersion program at Broadway Elementary.

But then the other shoe dropped — a directive from then-Superintendent Ray Cortines that only two Mandarin Immersion Kindergarten classes at Broadway Elementary commence in the Fall of 2016, thereby cutting the program at Broadway in half. No real alternatives to cancellation were explored.

To Parents for Progressive Education, this is unacceptable. Instead of growing a proven program, the District is cutting it off at the knees. Instead of maintaining a tremendously attractive program for local parents and involved parents to send their kids to a public school, the District is now acting to turn them away. Instead of making L.A. public schools more competitive, they are reinforcing the narrative and the reality that L.A. public schools are failing our kids, their futures and the future of our economy.

There is no justification for the District’s actions, parents say. They understand the reluctance to build. But there are currently empty and available classrooms at Broadway Elementary as well as other solutions for meeting the local demand for this program.

Tags: in Opinion
Related Posts

New Program Can Help Protect Southern California Homes in the Event of an Earthquake

May 13, 2023

May 13, 2023

Residents Have Until May 31 To Apply For Seismic Retrofit Grants By Janiele Maffei, Chief Mitigation Officer for the California...

Venice Shorts: Tree Trimming Underway Thanks to the Vsa!

April 28, 2023

April 28, 2023

VSA Has Taken up the Task of Trimming Italian Stone Pine Trees. By Nick Antonicello Following the recent toppling of...

Venice Stakeholders Association’s Comments on Traci Park’s Broken Bridge Housing Promise

April 24, 2023

April 24, 2023

By Marc Ryavec I have been struggling with how to address the phenomenon that someone I and many others in...

Column: Tired OF Declinists? Some Enduring New California Positives

April 18, 2023

April 18, 2023

By Thomas D. Elias California has taken a beating lately, with (mostly Republican) governors of other states blasting many aspects...

Venice Shorts: The South Venice Blvd Encampment, Is It a Candidate for a City Cleanup?

April 14, 2023

April 14, 2023

One of the last of the large encampments closest to the beach, Venetians are hopeful help is on the way!...

Venice Shorts: Averill Defeats Tyminski 63%-37% to Become President of Venice Neighborhood Council

April 3, 2023

April 3, 2023

In second bid for top spot, surfer/photographer Brian Averill coasts to an easy win against Venice attorney and outgoing Vice-President...

Column: Install at LAX Tiny Homes From The State Grant

March 31, 2023

March 31, 2023

By Clark Brown On March 16  Governor Newsom announced in Sacramento, his first stop on his State of the State of...

Venice Shorts: Night & Day – Flower & Lincoln Transformed, Back in Business

March 28, 2023

March 28, 2023

By Nick Antonicello In what was a Venice eyesore just a few months ago has been transformed into a place...

Opinion: Please Vote for Daffodil Tyminski

March 25, 2023

March 25, 2023

This is Tom Williams, your neighbor at 1011 Main Street.  With the upcoming VNC election this Sunday, I wanted to reach...

Venice Shorts: Popular Local Jim Robb Seeks Vp Slot, Endorses Brian Averill for President of the VNC!

March 23, 2023

March 23, 2023

By Nick Antonicello  VENICE – In a twist of events longtime Community Officer Jim Robb will now be seeking the...

Venice Shorts: Tabor Family Legacy Amara Hordt Seeks Seat on VNC This Sunday!

March 22, 2023

March 22, 2023

Local realtor looks to follow a family legacy of engaged community involvement here in Venice By Nick Antonicello VENICE –...

Venice Shorts: Erica Moore, A Cheerleader For Venice In Her Run For Community Officer!

March 22, 2023

March 22, 2023

By Nick Antonicello VENICE – Local caterer Erica Moore is making a second run for the Venice Neighborhood Council, but...

Venice Shorts: Running Unopposed, Nico Ruderman’s Deep Dive Into Politics and Government Continues!

March 22, 2023

March 22, 2023

By Nick Antonicello VENICE – It has been an interesting two years of political action, involvement and advocacy for Nico...

Venice Shorts: “V” for Venice Volunteer

March 20, 2023

March 20, 2023

Media professional, local business owner and Dad, Eric Alan Donaldson is defined by his volunteerism and love of Venice. By...

Deborah Keaton, a Consensus Building Candidate for VNC Community Officer!

March 20, 2023

March 20, 2023

Creative director, global brander and private business owner seeks a general consensus on what’s best for Venice moving forward.  By...