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Scare tactics in charter schools debate?

November 10, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The Spanish-language flier says that if you sign a petition in favor of charter school, you could get deported. It's the latest in the fight over who will run Los Angeles schools."We will not stand for fear tactics, we will not stand with any negativity that will stop reform in Los Angeles," said Monica Garcia, president of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.

Garcia is outraged over the Spanish-language flier warning parents who sign a petition in favor of charter schools could be deported. It was reportedly circulated in the Pico-Union and Westlake areas.

"That if you sign a charter petition you will be deported. The lowest kind of misinformation and fear tactics I have seen to dis-empower parents. Everything about this resolution is about empowering parents," said Yolie Aguilar Flores, member of the LAUSD Board of Education.

Community groups and school board members held a rally in front of the headquarters of the United Teachers Los Angeles union. Although they never accused UTLA of being responsible for the flier, the union says the message was clear, and they are upset about it.

"For this school board to stand by in front of our building and insinuate that we do not care about our students and stand up for them is insulting," said Julie Washington, UTLA elementary vice president.

"We had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with it in any way shape or form," said UTLA President A.J. Duffy. "As a matter of fact, we stand on our lengthy record for standing up for immigrant rights."

The fight is over who will run some of L.A.'s underperforming schools. The school board wants to give outside operators the chance to run them, but the teachers union worries it might lose jobs.

Parents say they want what's best for their children.

Elizabeth Lugo says she wants change. "As a community we need to come together and really demand that they move forward and expand small schools and pilot schools," said Lugo.

The school district and the teachers union have not been able to come to an agreement over charter and pilot schools, but LAUSD is still moving ahead with plans to accept bids for outside operators to run several schools. That's scheduled for the beginning of next week.


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