LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, the union representing Los Angeles Unified School District teachers sponsored pre-class gatherings at hundreds of campuses Thursday morning to send a message in support of access to quality education for all students.
“With the incoming administration, if we are to believe what Trump says, the very existence of public education is under threat,” said Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of United Teachers Los Angeles. “On Thursday, we reaffirm our beliefs in the power of public education, and we stand with our students, parents and community members to say that no matter where you come from, rich or poor, when you walk through the door of a public school, you will have equal opportunities for success and a quality education.”
Demonstrations were held in front of schools throughout the district before classes began, with teachers, students and parents proclaiming campuses as “safe spaces” for immigrants, women and minorities.
UTLA is taking particular issue with Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, and her support of charter schools.
“Privatization of our public schools segregates our communities, divides neighborhoods and leaves out our most vulnerable students,” Caputo-Pearl said.
Expansion of charter schools has been a major point of debate in the LAUSD for years, with some activists — including philanthropist Eli Broad — pushing for a major increase in the number of charters. Caputo-Pearl said DeVos and Broad are trying to “dismantle” public education.
The Broad Foundation insists it does not support the privatization of public schools, but the organization does back “high-performing public charter schools,” saying they provide more education options for families, particularly those in “under-served communities.”
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