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LA charter school expansion defeated by parents and teachers

By Sol Marquez |
December 17, 2017
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KIPP charter school meets defeat at Dec. 14 Boyle Heights (PLUC) meeting.
KIPP charter school meets defeat at Dec. 14 Boyle Heights Planning and Land Use Committee (PLUC) meeting. (Fight Back! News / Staff)

Los Angeles, CA — A packed house is unusual for the Boyle Heights Planning and Land Use Committee (PLUC), but on Dec. 14, over 50 people filled the room. The PLUC meeting was asked by KIPP Promesa Charter School architects and developers for a statement of support from the PLUC as well as a preview of a new Community Plan with a rezoning proposal. Boyle Heights is already occupied by two charter schools which co-locate at 2nd Street Elementary and Breed Elementary.

What charter school proponents didn’t plan on was a powerful show of people ready to fight back. Present in the room were public school teachers who are members of the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), parents and students of Marianna Avenue Elementary, and at-risk for displacement Boyle Heights residents.

“Shiny and new charter schools are not always the best choice,” said Lupe Torres a public school teacher who graduated from Roosevelt High School. “Today the Boyle Heights PLUC turned them down and this is great news for public education. KIPP should not be given the chance to expand and poach students from local public schools. Charters are gaining support from public officials and billionaires looking to profit off families and their students. Which leaves us public teachers fending for ourselves and fighting back like we did today.”

Eloisa Galindo, whose children attend Marianna Avenue Elementary public school, stated, “We know it has everything to do with business and profit when billionaires are supporting charter schools. We raised our voices today and fought to protect public education. We fought against a co-location effort by KIPP Promesa at my children’s school, and we won! No KIPP Promesa Charter at Mariana nor in Boyle Heights!”

Those fighting against KIPP Promesa Charter are ready to continue the struggle, as the LA city council may consider the Kipp Charter school rezoning request in 2018.

Sol Márquez is a Chicana member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and a resident of Boyle Heights.