Today I stood on the steps of the Los Angeles County Superior Court to call on the courts, state legislature and the Los Angeles school community to change the way teachers are laid-off and to start putting students first.
At my urging and the urging of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, the ACLU and Public Counsel filed a lawsuit (Reed v. Smith) on behalf of Markham, Gompers, John Liechty Middle Schools. The lawsuit argues that children's constitutional right to a quality education is being violated because their schools are disproportionately impacted by teachers layoffs.
That's because these low-perfoming schools attract young, idealistic teachers who want to make an difference where it matters most. So when it layoffs come down, they're the ones who are first to go. Last year at Markham, 57% of teachers were laid-off. This is absolutely unacceptable.
These schools are among the lowest-performing in the district and the state and are populated with low-income African American and Latino children. Our neediest children deserve better and we cannot continue to tear apart our lowest-performing schools year after year and expect the students to excel.
Judge Highberger is scheduled to resume arguments tomorrow, Wednesday, May 12, 2010 and will possibly rule on the request for preliminary injunctions.
We must all come together to call for an immediate stop-gap injunction that will delay all teacher layoffs at these three schools. And we must all work together to permanently stop the system of layoffs that only hurts students and teachers.