It hasn’t been the greatest month to be an LAUSD parent. Or for that matter, a staffer, an administrator, or a teacher. First the Miramonte scandal rocked the headlines with one teacher, then a second, and then another arrest of a janitor at a different school. Several more instances of inappropriate behavior have resulted in teachers and aides being removed from schools. Beyond the scandals, budget projections are out, and as dire as they’ve been the last four years, this year seems to be even more horrific.
And yet, we muddle on. Parents attending meetings for the parent teacher organizations or school governance councils. Parents looking for prospective middle schools and high schools are touring. Despite the fact that these criminal acts have gone on, and despite knowing the battle we face with Sacramento and the district to keep the schools financially afloat, we also know that there are incredible things going on inside classrooms throughout the district. We believe in those great teachers and the fantastic school sites.
The hardest thing to face is the impact these news stories have on the good teachers. Some media-grabbing lawyer implied last week there is something insidious about children in a classroom after school. Really? I sincerely hope he doesn’t have kids, or that by the time he does have children, that he realizes that the best teachers have kids in the classroom long after the bell rings. Some are offering tutoring, others are offering a safer place to be than out on the yard. In the case of my daughter’s school, so many of the teachers have their own children attending, there are rooms after school that almost look like a regular class during the day–children doing their homework, playing school, or helping the teachers prepare for the next day.
With regard to the cuts, the fact that anyone still wants to be a teacher or a principal is a miracle in itself. With the news scandals in recent weeks, it has to make good teachers question everything they do, which is horrifically sad. As parents we need to be aware of our children’s surroundings. And we have to be focused on how the cuts affect those who want to be a teacher, and those who watch staff. Parents should engage in very active conversations asking how these types of incidents are prevented at their children’s schools. And be on campus. And most of all, support the great teachers we all know.
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