The Los Angeles Unified School District is trying to “reconstitute” Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy—a change that will directly impact students. The reconstitution forces educators to reapply for their jobs, which will further destabilize the under-supported and under-funded school, according to a press release from United Teachers Los Angeles. After summer break, when classes resume, students may find their favorite teachers are gone.
Paulina Espinosa, an eighth-grader attending Obama Global Prep, said, “These teachers care for us. I would have flunked without the support of my teachers. The people who want to take these teachers away are not thinking about the students.”
Obama Global Prep serves a high-poverty population, with many being vulnerable students. It is one of 37 “Reed Investment Schools” that were under-funded and suffered from high administrator turnover.
Maria Rivera, Targeted Student Intervention Population Program Advisor at Obama Global Prep, said that the school has been “underfunded and understaffed” since it opened five years ago.
The district agreed to provide additional funding to stabilize the school and retain teachers under the terms of the Reed settlement reached last year. UTLA sees the reconstitution as a direct contradiction and violation of the Reed settlement and said the change will the reconstitution destabilize the school.
Many parents attending Obama Global Prep also disagree with the reconstitution. Michelle Miller, one of many parents, said, “I have been a parent here since the doors opened. If it wasn’t for the teachers behind me, my sons would not have graduated. [The people making this decision] don’t know the teachers, they don’t know the students. It’s not right.”
According to UTLA, in the five years since the school opened, LAUSD rolled back dual language programs, and ended music, dance and arts classes. Superintendent Ramon Cortines acknowledges that the district has under-supported and under-funded the school.
The teaching staff aims to revise the schools’ instructional plan to provide academic and socio-emotional support for students by working in tandem with parents. UTLA says it is vital that the district provide funding to support the plan.