Monday, June 20th from 4:30 to 6 pm at North Hollywood High School, the parent associations of several highly gifted magnets will be hosting a moderated discussion with Superintendent John Deasy. Of special concern this year was the proposed elimination of the magnet coordinators for the 2011-12 budget. Anyone with a child in a magnet knows the coordinator acts as the principal in these schools-within-a-school, and without the funded position many feel magnet programs will get lost on larger campuses. Judging by the questions, this is more than just about magnets. It appears this may be the watershed moment for parents of gifted and highly gifted students where, like the character in “Network,” they stand up and proclaim they’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
LAUSD has long addressed grievances of special ed and other groups, whether out of the goodness of their hearts or by court order. Yet, year by year, specialized instruction for gifted children has been whittled away to a whopping $15 per child, and as parents have found the magnet programs a reliable resource, it’s become apparent that LAUSD does less and less for these children than they do for other children with “special needs.”
The magnet program itself is a response to a court order to maintain desegregation, so it’s highly unlikely the programs will disappear, but without the support and funding, these programs can not serve the needs of families. Over the years, we’ve utilized magnets and open enrollment, and we’ve looked at other options that LAUSD has for attendance. If it weren’t for these choices, we’d long ago had given up on LAUSD.
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