Day 115  Tuesday, March 9, 2010:

Day of Silence March 11: The Sounds of Silence


Today is Day 115 of my time left at Fremont.


Let’s play a little game. Let’s pretend that 120 teachers out of 240 teachers and support personnel at an inner-city—I’m so terribly sorry, I meant to write urban—high school with an official population of 4600 (see the LAUSD website which Dr. George McKenna III denied involvement with/knowledge of a Powerpoint for the actual Powerpoint), 85% of which are socioeconomically disadvantaged, 10.86% Special Education (although the mysterious Powerpoint says 500+=10%, but I’m no good at math—that’s why I use a calculator) and 37% English Language Learners—do not reapply for their jobs by March 16—a day I am christening “Black Tuesday 2010.” Even though the administration, or LD7 or LAUSD, claims over 311 applications have come in to replace the 120, never mind, you’re still replacing over half (remember, I’m a glass half-full kind of guy). So what will the New Fremont—oh, wait, we’re not supposed to use that phrase, because John C. Fremont High School, which opened in 1924 and serves several Los Angeles neighborhoods and the unincorporated community of Florence-Graham, and the Avalon Gardens public housing project, will still retain the venerable code of “8650,” will still have the same address—look like?


On Thursday, March 11, we plan to find out. Those teachers who havce signed the pledge not to reapply will observe a “Day of Silence.” On this Thursday, and most likely every remaining Thursday, the staff who have pledged not to reapply will don black garb, symbolic of mourning. On March 11, they will carry it a step further by conducting a day of not speaking, the better to represent the brand-new teachers and those new to the Mont, who have willingly assumed the places of the veterans replaced by the snap of a principal’s fingers.


I urge those teachers who participate to remember we are teaching that day. Standards should be addressed (I feel like I’m in a department meeting: “If everyone would just teach to the standards…”) (I also post them) and meaningful instruction should take place—well, as meaningful as can be in the ensueing silence. On that day, we urge you to, as best you can, maintain silence in your classroom, including adjusting your lessons to fit this. The Great Silence is intended to demonstrate what the New Fremont will be like, for many of us will no longer be here and our positions staffed by new teachers or, more likely, substitutes. Please, if you plan to participate in this action, prepare your students. Stress that they need to work, to learn as best they can. This is not a “free day.” Instead, it is a statement of what is to come.


Please come to the library and pick up a Day of Silence button and plan to join us in our statement. T-shirts are being made for those who have pledged not to reapply.


During that day, there will be two parent/community meetings at Praises of Zion Church, where the Save Fremont Committee held an actual parent/community meeting on February 11th; the meeting times are at 8:00 a.m. (B-Trackers should plan to attend to show support) and at 5:30 p.m. for those working that day.



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    Chuck Olynyk is a Social Studies teacher who saw the effects of reconstitution upon John C. Fremont High in Los Angeles. These are reposting of his original blogs from the Save Fremont website.


    August 2010



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