Los Angles - Angry Chicano parents and children from Marianna Avenue Elementary School protested, April 4, a proposal to place a KIPP charter school on their campus. Parents at Marianna asked Centro CSO to help organize this protest with the parents in leadership. The protest and march started in front of Marianna with loud and furious chants, “What do we want? Public schools, no charters!”
Energized families proceeded via sidewalk on First Street to the office of KIPP charter school’s office in East Los Angeles. Joining the protest and march were teachers from Marianna and other members of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, who brought posters and added to the chanting.
Karla Gonzalez, a parent leader, spoke out and compared charter schools to a plague, urging parents who were present to continue fighting to defend public education. There the parents sent a delegation to the KIPP administration, demanding "No charter co-location" at Marianna.
Eloisa Galindo, a mother of children in local schools, has been fighting for a long time to promote public education and full funding. She stated that charter schools take money and students away from public schools, causing funding and enrollment problems.
Long time Chicano leader Carlos Montes said that federal Education Secretary DeVos has never attended or worked at a public school and is an advocate of vouchers and charter schools as part of the attacks by right-wing Republicans on public education. Montes also denounced Trump’s ICE raids and detentions that are primarily targeting the Chicano communities in the Southwest. He invited protesters to join the May Day march in Boyle Heights.
Marianna Elementary School teacher Richard Barrios spoke during the protest to express solidarity with the parents and calling for unity and support and promotion of public education.
The parents are angry with this charter proposal and see it as an attack on local public schooling and as part of the privatization invasion efforts in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Unified School District has seen the growth of charters, especially in the mainly immigrant communities of East LA. Parents have plans to continue this campaign to stop the charter invasion. Charters are private nonprofits that take public school money and facilities. They started proliferating after the former Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education - dominated then by corporate interests - passed a motion to open the door for charters.
Monica Garcia, the current LAUSD board member in East LA voted for and supports this charter school plague, which has led to a budget short fall and decline in public schools’ enrollment. Charter schools are part of the neoliberal agenda pushing privatization of government services.