This week in Long Beach, California a group of parents took a Board of Ed meeting by storm in an effort to save their kids’ school. The Long Beach Post reports that the “New City Public School, a chartered educational institution that has been in operation in Long Beach since 2000, has faced an uphill battle over the past year in order to keep operating,” and was issued a notice “that threatened the revocation of the school’s charter if academic and financial deficiencies continued.” Parents find this particularly egregious because the claim by the school district is that New City is in default on loans, when in fact they have a “forbearance agreement for the entire ’12-’13 school year.”
One of the renegade parents who launched into reading a letter of complaint against the school board in the middle of its most recent meeting was our very own Madeline Holler. Watching the video footage, below, of her charging down the aisle as the first person to speak truth to power made me well with mama bear pride and blubber like a little baby. Having the opportunity to watch your friend in the midst of such an act of bravery is one of the greatest things that can happen to a person. If you’re not inspired by her act of civil disobedience, I fear you’re dead inside. Take a look:
Of course we all know New City is far from the only public school in peril in this country. Schools everywhere face closure, severe cuts and underfunding, which is why many are turning to private donations, like the $7.1 million New City just received from a local real estate mogul who believes that “the school’s bilingual and cultural diversity programs … prepare students for business and work with the rising economic powers in Central and South Americas.” But this message, from Madeline’s daughter’s 6th grade classmate, speaks to New City’s true value:
My name is Teo Veliz and I am eleven years old. I’ve been in the New City School for 6 years and I love it very much. Our teachers are caring and compassionate and teach us to achieve our goals no matter how hard we might think it will be.
Our school encourages creative thinking and teaches social justice and fairness. At the New City School, we are not punished, we are shown how to resolve problems through communication and empathy.
My standardized test scores were not exceptionally high but my test scores are not a reflection of who I am. I know that I am smart, I know that I am learning, I know am getting a wonderful education. The New City School is important to me and it should be important to you too. Thank you.
I’m so proud of my friend Madeline Holler and her fellow New City parents! May we all have that kind of courage when we need it.
For more about New City, visit their website.