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Angry mothers and students protest a proposed charter high school in East LA

by Carlos Montes |
October 16, 2021
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Protest against charter school in East LA.
Protest against charter school in East LA. (Fight Back! News/staff)

East Los Angeles, CA - Over a 100 students, teachers and parents from Garfield High School (GHS) held a protest in East Los Angeles on October 13, against a planned construction of a new charter high school.

East Los Angeles unincorporated area has become saturated with private charter schools, causing a crisis in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) public schools. Mother Antonieta Garcia spoke about the damage another charter school will cause to public schools and the environment. GHS students led chants denouncing the charter school.

Garfield High School is being threatened with the construction of a new Ednovate Charter High School only a block away. Ednovate is a corporate charter school operator with wealthy investors in its board and plans to expand. Ednovate plans to construct a two-story building with 16 classrooms for a high school a block from GHS. Ednovate used a maneuver to avoid public scrutiny, using a land planning tactic to avoid the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) study. This new high school will devastate GHS with less students, leading to less funding.

Ricardo Rivas and Juan Garcia, two great teachers at GHS, thanked the community of parents and students for participating. They also talked about the vast history and tradition of excellence at GHS.

Lupe Torres with Centro CSO’s Education Committee and an East LA resident talked about getting involved by doing a community door-to-door walk to reach more residents. A Centro CSO forum is set for November 4, at 5 p.m. on charters and privatization attacks on public schools. Torres urged all to contact CSO to get involved.

Eastside Padres also joined and supported the protest.

LAUSD enrollment is already down, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic hardships. East LA already has Esteban Torres High School and Garfield High School and both have excellent instruction programs. Also nearby are Boyle Heights’ Roosevelt High School, Mendez High School and Bravo Magnet High School. There is no need for another high school in the Eastside area.

Garfield High School has a long history of academic and cultural excellence. Multiple generations of families have graduated from GHS. Jaime Escalante, a well-known math teacher, became famous at GHS. He is portrayed in the movie Stand and Deliver. The well-known rock group Los Lobos also attended GHS.

To get involved with Centro CSO’s Education Committee, be sure to contact CSO at 323-943-2030, [email protected], or @CentroCSO on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The next Centro CSO public meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on October 20.

Centro CSO has also started a petition (https://www.change.org/p/supervisor-hilda-solis-protect-garfield-hs) to fight back against Esperanza and is fundraising for legal support at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-centro-cso-donate-now. 

Carlos Montes is a graduate of GHS, a long time advocate for public education, as one of founders of the Brown Berets in ELA he was a leader of the historic ELA HS Walkouts of March 1968 a key event in the urban Chicano Movement of the late 1960’s. HBO produced the movie Walkout about these events.

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