Day 72 Wednesday April 21, 2010: Burning Down the House


Today is Wednesday, April 21, 2010 and this is Day 72 of my time left at the Mont. C-Track finals are on, so the madness of the end of the year has swept the students, including A-Track. So we are having the year-end fires. Yesterday, as Day 73 ended and we being shuttled off to meetings, sprinklers went off on the third floor at the east end of the main building, leading to a waterfall cascading down the stairs. The FD showed and there was a frenzy of mopping. About 45 minutes later comes the announcement to clear the main building. Duh. The Mont has its own pace, evidently.


The Mont will evidently be adjusting that pace next year. I had to shut down showing “All Quiet on the Western Front” in order for a counselor to program students for next year—during what should have been mid-terms. She explained that students would be taking eight classes a day next year, which led to some freaking out. They were also told that the Beyond the Bell program, which aids in credit recovery, will most likely be gone.


So I’d gather this was the first time they had heard of this. Since my fifth period is mostly made up of students from the Humanitas SLC (which I’ve been a team member of since 1995), although I’ve also got a fair number from Aesthetics, the students were told that if they were in Humanitas already, they would probably be in the “The Humanitas Academy of Visual and Performing Arts”.  She did not know about the others, except that on A-Track, the other Academy would be “The Academy of Environmental and Social Justice,” which was said to be replacing P3. (I mentioned this in set up in Day 83 “Superman’s Song”, but now the students are being told there is a direct correlation between these soon-to-be-defunct SLCs and the new Academies.)


Questions, again: Will the students from Humanitas B and C be placed in “The Humanitas Academy of Visual and Performing Arts”? If so, then we’re going to have a lot of students transferring and I don’t believe that this single Academy will be able to house them all.  Oh, wait—if they’re not allowed to transfer, what’s all this about the idea of choice? After all, according to the document “New Fremont High School Timelines”, Academy selection from the students is due May 15. The thing is, the entire class of students in my fifth period (near forty of them) told me in no uncertain or vague terms that their parents had not been notified about any of this. While the “New Fremont High School Timelines” states that student compacts and New Fremont HS academy description (tri-folds) would be mailed out the week of April 19 (that’s this week). No students said they or their parents had received any information on the changes, even though according to the “Timelines” document, the “New Fremont HS Informational Brochure” was supposed to have been mailed out April 5-9.


The appearance here is the parents are being informed after the fact, once everything is being put in place. So here’s another question? Are my students liars? Is this some conspiracy by my students to lie and say that none of their parents have been informed? How can a class of nearly forty students have not one single student informed of the changes when the brochures were mailed out April 5-9? When a counselor tells students which Academy they’ll most likely be in, does that sound like choice is available?

So what’s going to happen on the other Tracks? How will selection be done on C-Track? Will the “The Mathematics, Science and Technology Magnet” cherry-pick its 300 students and the “The School of Law, Justice and Government,” the only other game in town, take the leftovers? That will make the “Leftover” Academy about 750 students—not at all what is being sold. How will B-Track be affected? Who will go into “The School of Communications, Media, and Technology”? Will all of the English Language Learners from CALA B (and maybe A) end up in “The School of Health, Science and Agriculture”?


Welcome to the Apartheid of Education.


If you feel this is an injustice, if you feel that the students are going to be hurt by this, I urge you to attend the community walks the Save Fremont Committee has planned for this Saturday and Sunday, April 24-25. The interested parties will meet in front of the school at 9 a.m.—unless our spunky Terra Bennett says otherwise. We’ll also be asking for aid from other schools throughout LAUSD in this particular fight. We need to reach out to the real community even more, to get signatures. We need to expose this process of the District involving the “community” for the sham it truly is.


Will you be there?


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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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