Parents Organize to Block Charter at Micheltorena Elementary

Parent Scott Kennedy is asking parents to reach out to LAUSD to block the Citizens of the World Charter School from taking at least eight classrooms on the campus.


According to a staffer in LAUSD District 5 Trustee Bennett Kayser's office, Citizens of the World Charter School now has a one-year contract to be at Micheltorena.

In reaction, parent Scott Kennedy is circulating this letter by email:


I have recently been informed that my local school district in Los Angeles will be offering eight classrooms on the campus of Micheltorena Elementary (my daughter's school) to the Citizens of the World Charter School for the 2012-13 academic year.

This will have serious implications for Micheltorena Elementary and its students.

I am asking that you help me in reaching out to district officials to stop this process from moving forward. Here is how you can help:

1. Call or write the Charter School Office and let them know you are opposed to having a Charter come to the school. Please contact Jose Cole Gutierrez directly at (213) 241-2487 or email him at jose.cole-gutierrez@lausd.net.

2. Request to see the list of signatures of parents from our community that was submitted by the Citizens of the World Charter.

3. Contact the School Board Member for our area, Bennett Kayser, and let him know you are opposed to having a Charter come to Micheltorena. You may call him at (213) 241-5555 or email him at BoardDistrict5@lausd.net

I believe that if we can get enough people involved, we can stop this process. Thank you for supporting the school. 

 For more information on Micheltorena Elementary, please visit the website below.


Echo Park Patch has reached out to administrators and organizers at Citizens of the World Charter Schools for an update.

We will keep you posted.

Cheryl Ortega January 19, 2012 at 08:55 PM
The photo posted here was taken at the Logan St. School's auditorium last summer when the co-located Gabriella Charter School unconscienably and illegally moved into Logan space. The Gabriella School evidently intended to use it for their office/reception room. Congratulations to the Micheltorena parents for fighting for their school. They deserve all our support.
Anthea Raymond (Editor) January 19, 2012 at 09:20 PM
@Cheryl -- That is correct. You took that photo, and it was properly credited. We are reaching out to Citizens of the World for their comments on the new co-location arrangement. You may also see some Charter School advocates blogging for us shortly.
Blooming in Echo Park January 19, 2012 at 11:08 PM
I'm looking at school's now in an effort to try to figure out where to send my son for the 2013 fall school season and so far, the public schools in the Echo Park/Silverlake area don't meet my expectations so we're left with the idea of trying to afford a private school education (scary). I read Mr. Kennedy's letter encouraging parents to stand up against charter schools but I'm still unclear of what the argument against them is? Charter School's seem like a good hybrid of both public and private but can someone please shed a little more light on it for me? I'm under informed and am trying to gage the good and bad of it all. Thank you.
Robert D. Skeels January 20, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Glad to see the community standing up to neoliberalism and privatization. Let me know if I can be of any help in the struggle to keep these privatizers from seizing more of the public commons.
Sierra Jenkins January 20, 2012 at 01:17 AM
I work for the CA Charter Schools Association. To answer your question: Charter schools are public schools that are open to all students. You can find out more and look for charter schools in your area on our website: http://www.calcharters.org/ Hope that helps a bit!
Robert D. Skeels January 20, 2012 at 01:22 AM
The CCSA trade association's answer is a bit misleading and mendacious. Understandable, they are funded by the Walton Family Foundation to increase charter market share. Here's some charter facts you won't see on their corporate website: Charters are privately managed entities whose only claim to the word public is the fact that they drain public funds. Dozens of court cases have ruled that charter schools are not "public entities." Two well known examples include the following: The California Court of Appeals (2007-01-10) which ruled that charter-voucher schools are NOT "public agents." http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-court-of-appeal/1435567.html The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals (2010-01-04) which ruled that charter-voucher schools are NOT "public actors." http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2010/01/04/08-15245.pdf Moreover, the US Census Department expressed difficulty in obtaining information from charter-voucher schools because the aren't public entities. http://shankerblog.org/?p=2756 I know in the light of all the scandals and bad press (http://charterschoolscandals.blogspot.com/) that supporters of lucrative charters are desperate to paint them as public schools, but outside the corporate spin cycle that is the the school privatization camp, charters have been found to be anything but public.
LT January 21, 2012 at 07:22 AM
Blooming, Have you spoken to the principal at Micheltorena? Curious on your impressions. I've been in contact with her for several years now, and I have been thoroughly impressed by what she's done and how much the school has progressed. I feel like putting in a charter school will take the wind out of their sails, and create a divisive community, as has happened with Logan Street Elementary and Gabriella charter.
Sierra Jenkins January 23, 2012 at 05:20 PM
You can find out more about co-locations in this blog post from the CA Charter Schools Association: http://echopark.patch.com/articles/opinion-the-truth-about-co-location#youtube_video-8952187
Jordan Crane January 24, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Our principal, teachers, Micheltorena PTA and Friends of Micheltorena oppose the Citizens of the World charter coming to our a campus for many reasons. A crucial reason is that sharing our campus would inhibit further growth and betterment activities on the campus; in particular, sharing our campus would take away extra classrooms and would prevent us from increasing enrollment and expanding to form a bilingual program school for the year 2012 - 2013, which we are preparing for at the present time.
Jordan Crane January 24, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Micheltorena Elementary is a campus that is the center of a community, comprised of parents, Micheltorena alumni, and Silver Lake residents, that embrace the school and are actively working to elevate the school's status. Instead of turning our backs and throwing up our hands, driving our cars out of the neighborhood to outside schools, we are pulling up our sleeves and getting to work. With the direction of Principal Furfari, we have installed a new library, built a school and community garden, and partnered with the Silver Lake Conservatory of Music to augment our existing music program. Local arts organization Bluepalm is currently working at our school to install a sustainable, school-wide, sequential, standards-based art program that will serve as a pilot to other LAUSD schools. We have received a grant from the Kaiser Permanente Community Benefits program to support after-school cooking and garden classes that teach healthy eating habits and encourage outdoor physical activity. Our lower API scores reflect the testing results of our significant population of Special Needs population, and we value this population as adding to the richness and diversity of our campus. When recalibrated, our API of 844 reflects the talents of our outstanding teachers and the strong academics at the school.
Jordan Crane January 24, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Our work at the school has improved the community at large. Murals have been painted, as part of campus beautification efforts, along the campus perimeter and sidewalk of Sunset Boulevard for all to enjoy. Silver Lake Neighborhood Council members serve on the Friends of Micheltorena board, and talk frequently with Principal Furfari to discuss ways of involving the campus with the surrounding community, including plans to make the school a site where the community can gather in the event of an emergency or disaster. We have plans to partner with Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic physicians to provide health education at the school, as well as better coordinate medical services for our families without health insurance. We offer ESL classes on our campus, and host free-of-charge gardening and sustainable-practices workshops at our garden for the school community and general public. We are the recipients of a 2011 California Safe Routes to School grant which will redesign the crosswalk at Micheltorena and Sunset to be safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as provide funds for other sidewalk beautification efforts and planting of trees along Sunset Boulevard.
Jordan Crane January 24, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Our parents are committed, hard-working and involved in the Micheltorena PTA, Friends of Micheltorena and in the classrooms. Our campus is open and friendly, with teachers and children from many different backgrounds, who are glad to study and play together. Our families enjoy sharing our school and community, and we feel privileged to be able to walk our children to school! Please visit our school website at www.micheltorena.org to get a sense of the activity and movement at the school. The Micheltorena community is committed to the campus and to Silver Lake, and we will keep working to build our dreams at the school. Sharing our campus with a charter school would only inhibit further improvements and growth. Please help us continue our good work, and direct Citizens of the World charter school elsewhere.
Robert D. Skeels February 24, 2012 at 08:14 AM
Parents need to take note that the well paid Allison Bajracharya and Sierra Jenkins don't ever answer peoples' questions here or even say specifically what they consider "misinformation and misunderstanding." All they've done, in essence, is provide a calculated public relations campaign in hopes that they can dupe enough parents into not looking into the truth. That works in many of the communities they exploit, but it won't work in our community. Their fact-free marketing campaigns are hollow and transparent.


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