Students outside Miramonte Elementary School demand their teachers return to the classrooms. L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy ordered their relocation to an unopened campus after two teachers, in two separate cases, were arrested for lewd acts upon children.
Miramonte Elementary School teachers who were removed from their classrooms during the investigation into two teachers arrested for misconduct will speak publicly on Thursday, after nearly three months of silence.
The "UTLA South Area Action" will be held outside the unopened Augustus F. Hawkins High School in South Los Angeles, where the teachers have been placed since Feb. 9.
A march with posters and chanting will begin at 3:30 p.m. around the campus, and teachers will read anonymous statements from their colleagues about their experience, said Ingrid Villeda, chair of the United Teachers Los Angeles South Area, which includes Miramonte Elementary School.
The entire elementary school staff — including teachers, the principal, teaching assistants and cafeteria workers — was removed over two pupil free days in early February after teachers Mark Berndt and Martin Springer were arrested, in two separate cases, for lewd acts upon children.
Members of the California Faculty Association at a protest last year. California State University employees have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a series of two-day strikes if a new contract cannot be reached.
Faculty at the 23 Cal State campuses voted overwhelmingly to authorize an ongoing series of rolling two-day strikes, if their negotiators fail to make a deal with the University.
Lillian Taiz, the President of the California Faculty Association, said the 95 percent vote in favor of striking showed that the Cal State faculty are fed up.
"The message to Chancellor Reed is absolutely clear, The CSU faculty have run out of patience. It is time to address seriously the issues before us so that our faculty can get back to the business of providing quality higher education to the students of California," Taiz said.
Mike Uhlenkamp, the Cal State spokesman didn't seem anxious about the possible strike.
"This is more noise from the CFA that really has no bearing whatsoever on our current negotiations," he said.
"Our bargaining team has indicated that there are a limited number of outstanding issues that need resolution."
Born into the Killing Fields under the Khmer Rouge, Prach Ly escaped to Long Beach, CA to become one of the first Cambodian rappers.
On a recent evening, about three dozen Cambodians gathered in an auditorium at Long Beach City College for an event called, “Courage to Remember.” Through a translator, Vishsnanh Cragn told her story of how she survived the genocide.
“After that they took my husband and killed him, and then they came and arrested me, they tied me up and took me to the place that they planned to kill me,” she said.
This story about Cambodians killing other Cambodians is one that was experienced first hand by about half the people in the audience. The other half, people in their 20s, only know bits and pieces. They learned more from Cragn, including how she had to resort to stealing food, and how many victims of the Khmer Rouge feel shame, even today. Cal State Long Beach student Brenda Man says when she heard Cragn use the word for shame in Khmer — as the language and culture are known — that really made an impression.
“When she said that, it really struck me because she said she was so proud of being Khmer, being Khmer doesn’t mean that we steal and lie and I had to do it and for once I felt so ashamed of myself,” she said.
Tami Abdollah / KPCC
California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott talks about the impact of the state's budget crisis on the nation's largest higher education system.
The heads of California’s three higher education systems all are lobbying Governor Jerry Brown and state lawmakers to change their budget priorities.
California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott joined the UC president and CSU chancellor at the Capitol on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, we are experiencing almost death by 1,000 cuts," Scott summed up. "So we want to make our case very clear to the legislature and to the governor. We want them to realize that the future of California is at stake."
CSU Chancellor Charles Reed says the state should put $100 million of anticipated savings in California’s prison system into higher education instead.
All three leaders are urging voters to approve the governor’s proposed November tax initiative. If it fails, they say they might be forced to raise tuition, reduce enrollment or cut courses.
The way Jewish youth have come to learn about the attempted extermination of Central European Jews during World War 2 has transformed over time. The genocide attempted by Nazis in Germany is institutionalized among religious Jews, with religious, family, and personal observances taking place in the home, synagogue and in pilgrimages to the death camps.
Sixty-seven years ago, after the end of the war, the extent of the Holocaust was unknown. Many people who escaped Europe, survived, or lost relatives to the Holocaust wanted to put it all behind.
“You had many people who simply tried to put that horrible past behind them even if they had nightmares every night, who made a conscious decision not to talk to their children,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of L.A.’s Simon Wiesenthal Center.
A significant stage in the remembering took place in 1952 when Israel established the national Holocaust remembrance holiday - Yom HaShoah.
“Shoah is the Hebrew world for Holocaust. It means, totally destroyed, total destruction, burnt up completely,” says Phil Liff-Grieff, with the Jewish education group, BJE. A vigorous debate ensued among Jewish leaders, he said, over whether commemorating the Holocaust would define the Jewish people by one tragic event.
“One death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic,” Cooper quotes Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, “the most compelling message, really, is help younger generations put a human face on the suffering and try to put a context on why it happened and what steps we can take to remember and honor the memory of those whose only sin was to be born in a certain place in a certain time.”
That was Liff-Grieff’s job two weeks ago at Adat Ariel, a private Jewish elementary school in the San Fernando Valley.
Liff Grieff talked to about 50 children on Yom HaShoah. He projected a map of central Europe onto a screen. The kids are dressed in street clothes, some with Nike athletic shoes. The boys wear yarmulkes, religious skullcaps. “Where are your ancestors from?” he asks them.
“Poland. Poland. America. Germany. Africa. Poland. Poland. Israel. Mexico. Australia,” were some answers.
The Holocaust is part of this school’s curriculum, so these fourth and fifth graders know about the horrors.
“Here’s my question to you. Why? Why remember something so difficult? What’s it for? What good is it to remember?” Liff-Grieff asked.