Saturday, May 28, 2011

Micah Ali Takes Compton School District Problems To Education Secretary Arne Duncan


Last we checked in with our pal Micah Ali, the most progressive member of the Compton school board, he was advocating for a different kind of charter schools-- ones that put students first, not profits first.

Micah's 33 and was elected to the School Board in 2007 and he's on his way to DC right now, to meet with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to share his experiences working on public policy supporting English language development strategies-- remember Compton is now a Hispanic majority city-- and the Breakfast in The Classroom program, so important for inner city students when you remember that breakfast sharpens memory and cognitive skills.

Micah is meeting with Duncan and other Department of Education officials as part of a convening of the Young Elected Official Network under the auspices of People for the American Way. Their annual meeting will be addressed by three of the most outstanding Members of Congress concerned with public education, Donna Edwards (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Jared Polis (D-CO). He's looking forward to it and he told us, "As a public education innovator, I, too, must commit myself to being a lifelong learner. The profundity of ideas generated and viable solutions learned from others attending the convening will undergird my constant fight for lower class sizes, parent engagement and vocational technical education for students, who prefer to pursue trades."

Meanwhile, back in Compton Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr has just thrown out the corporate-inspired parent petition to force a charter conversion at McKinley Elementary. The paperwork wasn't put together properly.
The Compton Unified School District, which governs McKinley, argued that dating each signature was crucial in determining whether a signer's child was enrolled at the school and had legal rights over the child at the time, the AP reported.

Mohr said in his tentative ruling Friday that he understood the “pain, frustration and perhaps education disadvantages” his 14-page decision might cause but added that he needed to follow the law.

Mohr agreed to hear more arguments June 7.

Sleazy charter operators hope to funnel tax dollars into corporate profits-- and high management fees and salaries-- by de-unioninzing the education system. Foward-thinking progressives like Micah are at the forefront of putting the interests of students first and foremost while protecting the hard-won gains of his community's teachers.

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