SACRAMENTO, California.— La mayoría de los distritos escolares de California están a toda prisa alistando sus presupuestos, preparándose para lo peor porque no sabrán hasta noviembre si los votantes aprobarán una iniciativa de aumento de impuestos que les permitiría evitar recortes masivos.
El problema es que si esa iniciativa falla, ni los legisladores ni el gobernador Jerry Brown tienen un plan B para evitar reducciones al gasto de las escuelas por 4,800 millones de dólares, el equivalente a tres semanas del ciclo escolar.
Por eso entidades como el Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Angeles (LAUSD), el segundo más grande de la nación, considerará hoy durante la reunión semanal de su Junta Escolar, la eliminación de su División de Programas de Educación para Adultos; el programa de Inglés como Segunda Lengua (ESL), y otros programas como preparación para la ciudadanía y cursos generales de educación. Eso sin contar que se planea enviar avisos de despido a 1,500 maestros y otros trabajadores de las escuelas.
Mónica Carazo, portavoz de LAUSD, dijo que si los votantes no aprueban la iniciativa de aumento de impuestos del gobernador, el distrito tendrá que hacer recortes al menos por 550 millones de dólares.
"Por eso es que tenemos que comenzar a ver de dónde vamos a recortar", señaló.
Según la Coalición por los Derechos Humanos de los Inmigrantes (CHIRLA), los programas que quiere cortar LAUSD sirven a 28% de los estudiantes y representan sólo el 2% de su presupuesto total.
En un comunicado, la directora ejecutiva de CHIRLA Angélica Salas dijo que la organización se opone a la eliminación de la División de Educación para Adultos porque representa una tabla de salvación para las comunidades inmigrantes y de bajos ingresos y un apoyo para la recuperación económica de la región.
"La propuesta de LAUSD no tiene visión del futuro y es inoportuna. Creemos que el LAUSD tiene liderazgo y sabe cómo presentar alternativas menos desastrosas que además muestren cuidado y preocupación por las comunidades más impactadas", indicó Salas.
En los últimos años, la educación pública ha sufrido recortes por 17,000 millones de dólares. En su propuesta presupuestal para el 2011-12, el gobernador Brown presentó como única opción para evitar más reducciones su iniciativa de impuestos de noviembre. Aún siendo aprobados dichos ingresos llegarían muy tarde para los distritos que inician clases en agosto y septiembre, por lo que estos han sido aconsejados de hacer planes para una reducción de 370 dólares por estudiante, en caso de que la medida no pase.
"Los distritos escolares están en un dilema. ¿Basan sus presupuestos y decisiones de personal en el peor escenario, o en la esperanza de que pase la iniciativa del gobernador, lo que podría llevarlos a la insolvencia?," cuestionó Crystal Brown, presidenta de la campaña Eduquemos a Nuestro Estado y madre de tres hijos que asisten a las escuelas públicas en San Francisco.
"La única alternativa que tienen los distritos escolares es despedir maestros o reducir más el ciclo escolar, eso sin contar con que tenemos salones de clase con más de 40 alumnos, se ha reducido el transporte escolar y se han cortado programas de arte, música, bibliotecas", lamentó Brown.
Read more: La Opinion
On Friday, KFI radio hosts John & Ken apologized for referring to Whitney Houston as a “crack hoe.” John Chester Kobylt and Kenneth Robertson Chiampou host “The John and Ken Show,” on KFI AM 640 in Southern California. Their show is the nation’s most listened to local talk radio program.
“It’s like, ‘Ah Jesus … here comes the crack ho again, what’s she gonna do?” the radio DJs said on Saturday’s show. They went on to say Houston was “cracked out for 20 years.”
“We made a mistake, and we accept the station’s decision. We used language that was inappropriate, and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston,” John Kobylt said in a statement published on their website.
KFI AM 640, a Clear Channel Communications radio station, has suspended the hosts until February 27, 2012.
John & Ken, as the duo are recognized professionally, have a long history of controversial comments.
“They blame us [immigrants] for all that is wrong in education, all that is wrong in the economy, all that is wrong with security in this country,” Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition told Univision last year after John & Ken broadcasted the cell phone number of a communications associate working with CHIRLA, an immigrants rights coalition.
In 2006, John & Ken started a campaign that resulted in hundreds of toilet brushes in Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office after the mayor said immigrants “come here to work: We clean your toilets. We clean your hotels. We build your houses.”
Most recently, on a CHIRLA and the communications associate who’s contact information was shared by John & Ken issued a statement this morning. It’s published in it’s entirety below:
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles applauds KFI’s decision to temporarily suspend John & Ken for, once again, spreading insults and hate. Their distasteful, inappropriate and offensive diatribes know no bounds. We call on KFI to consider suspending these two traffickers of hate indefinitely. We also call on KTLA TV 5 to remove this objectionable pair from the station’s daily programming. Multicultural Los Angeles deserves better than John and Ken.
Read more: Color Lines
Press Statement regarding the John and Ken suspension today:
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles applauds KFI’s decision to temporarily suspend John & Ken for, once again, spreading insults and hate. Their distasteful, inappropriate and offensive diatribes know no bounds. We call on KFI to consider suspending these two traffickers of hate indefinitely. We also call on KTLA TV 5 to remove this objectionable pair from the station's daily programming. Multicultural Los Angeles deserves better than John and Ken.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles asked for the sheriff to assure the parents that their immigration status will not be affected if they go to authorities with claims of abuse.
“Families are not speaking up because they are scared of being deported,” attorney Jessica Dominguez said at a news conference Thursday morning.
Dominguez also urged Sheriff Lee Baca to assign a detective to the case “who is very familiar with certifications of U-Visas.” If approved, these documents give victims legal status for up to four years.
The news conference also featured a father of a Miramonte student allegedly abused by teacher Mark Berndt. The father, who was identified only by his first name, Raymundo, said he did not go to authorities initially because he was afraid of being deported.
The lawyers also distributed photos Berndt allegedly took of their clients along with pictures where he posed with them, and photocopies of notes he wrote them.
“These kids are severely damaged,” Owen said. “They’re going to need care for the rest of their lives.”
Angelica Salas, CHIRLA’s executive director, said the organization would help defend any of the parents involved in the case.
“Like many Angelenos, we have witnessed the horrible details of what happened at Miramonte unfold from afar,” Salas said. “We are here to offer support for these families and let them know that CHIRLA and many other Latino and civil rights organizations will work arduously to ensure that there is sensitivity on the issues of immigration status throughout this investigation.”
Berndt has been charged with nearly two dozen lewd conduct counts against children, and another teacher, Martin Bernard Springer, has been charged with three counts. The cases are unrelated.
Read more: Los Angeles Times
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 9, 2012
Guardians of the Most Vulnerable
Attorneys representing families in the Miramonte School sex scandal call for swift and coordinated assistance to victims, written assurances by Sheriff Baca that undocumented victims will not be deported through Secure Communities program, and a culture of collective vigilance to prevent these crimes from happening again
Los Angeles – Just a couple of days before a completely different set of teachers and administrators was to begin a new chapter at Miramonte Elementary School, the first lawsuits were filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of eight children and their families who were victimized by the sex scandal that has attracted international attention. The laws firms of Owen, Patterson & Owen and The Law Office of Jessica Dominguez, with support from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a human rights organization based in Los Angeles, announced this Thursday their intent to seek protections and assistance for the most vulnerable in this case of despicable violations of sacred trust and responsibility. The most salient concern for these advocate attorneys and CHIRLA is the children who were victimized by the inability of the LAUSD staff to appropriately protect them from harm and their families, many who are immigrants and fearful of immigration retaliation. The following are statements from Angelica Salas, CHIRLA executive Director; Jessica Dominguez, immigration attorney; and, Gregory James Owen, attorney at Owen, Patterson & Owen.
Angelica Salas: “We are all touched and moved by what has taken place at Miramonte School. We pray for the families and the children who have been directly affected. Nothing is more despicable than violating a child’s trust and in this case it appears that some adults and the institution may not have given a damn about protecting the sacred bond between a school, a teacher, and a child, family, and community.
We join today two brilliant and honest lawyers who will tend to the legal rights of these children and their families. We also call on Sheriff Baca to immediately offer in writing guarantees that his department will not take any action against any of the parents or children who seek support and may also be unauthorized immigrants. The Sheriff’s enthusiastic support of the so-called “Secure Communities” program is troubling and may hinder progress in this investigation unless he goes to extreme measures to inform the community they have nothing to fear. Our collective efforts must be predicated on keeping our children and our community free from fear and accessing the services and help they will most certainly need for a long time to come.”
Jessica Dominguez, Esq.: “I am heartbroken by what has happened at Miramonte Elementary School. I am appalled by the lack of oversight at this institution of learning and the disregard these precious children experienced under the care of so-called responsible adults. No community deserves to be taken for granted and left alone to fend the wolves on its own.
I am a mother of two sons and throughout my legal career I have focused on helping families do the right thing, respect and collaborate with institutions, and fight for their rights. I have never felt more of the need to protect children and their families as I have in this case. The fear to speak and to denounce their terrible experience mars every one of their actions and words. No one’s immigration status should subject them to a life of pain and suffering. We are a better nation than that and we should help these children and their families, doing whatever we need to do, begin their journey to healing.”
Gregory James Owen, Esq.: “The very young and the very old are the most vulnerable members of our society. There are and always have been perverted individuals who live among us who, for their own sadistic reasons, choose to violate these innocents that are unable to protect themselves--our children. We as a society are the guardians of our children. In an ideal world, they grow up in kind and nurturing environments. When we learn that our precious children have been abused by a trusted adviser, teacher, or friend--someone like Mark Berndt or Martin Springer--our mission must be two-fold:
We must first root out the abusers and punish them to the extent allowed by our society with the intent to prevent future acts which serve to injure our children. If an institution such as the Catholic church or LAUSD could have prevented this, we must take immediate action in order to change the system. Then, after the perpetrators have been put behind bars, our most important work begins.
It is our experience that the beautiful children who have had their innocence stolen by the deviant acts of these perpetrators will never be the same. They will never completely heal. They will always know in the back of their minds that they have been tainted in some way. It is our collective duty to do everything in our power to help these children to recapture the innocence that was wrongfully taken from them.”
Soon the California State legislature may get a chance to vote on the TRUST Act, a bill limiting the extent to which local police and immigration officials will enforce ICE's "holds" on undocumented immigrants. Thus far, local police have voluntarely collaborated with the flawed program resulting in thousands of deportations of undocumented immigrants without a criminal record. Although "S-Comm" is suppossed to focus its resources on catching "criminal elements", 60-70% of all those detained under this program are not a threat to the community. In this newsreport, CHIRLA argues why S-Comm should be ended and why it hurts the community. Video courtesy of Univision network evening news. Click on video image below.
For Immediate Release: January 27, 2012
Los Angeles— Inspired by Monday’s Republican candidate debates in Florida, Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, filed a bill that would give young people who serve in the military — not college students — a path to U.S. citizenship. Rivera is quoted in the Miami Herald as stating: “If somebody is willing to die for America, then certainly they deserve a chance at life in America.” The proposal is called the Adjusted Residency for Military Service Act — the ARMS Act. The following is a statement from Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a regional human and immigrant rights organization based in Los Angeles with national impact.
“Yesterday, Congressman David Rivera (R-Miami) introduced a bill that in essence will bastardize the spirit of the federal DREAM Act. The DREAM Act we support is a real opportunity for undocumented students brought by their parents to the United States as children to adjust their status if they attend college or serve in the military. Rivera’s proposal is a clear and timed political bow to insincere pronouncements on the campaign trail that call only for the legalization of young people who serve in the military.
The military-only version of the DREAM Act proposed by Rep. Rivera is an insult to every American who believes hard work pays off and leads to a life of choices that may include higher education or the armed forces. Since when is attending college and moving up the social ladder not part of the American Dream? A bright, talented student seeking to better contribute to the only nation he calls home should have more choices than taking arms. Rep. Rivera would not dare ask otherwise of anyone else; why does he treat these Americans-in-waiting differently?”
Para Difusión Inmediata: 27 de enero 2012
Los Angeles—Inspirado quizá por los debates de pre-candidatos republicanos en la Florida, el Representante David Rivera, R-Miami, ha presentado una propuesta que otorgaría a jóvenes que presten servicio en la militar –no a estudiantes de colegio—un camino a la ciudadanía. Rivera le dijo al Miami Herald: “Si alguien está disspuesto a morir por América, entonces claramente que merece una oportunidad de vivir en América”. La propuesta se llama el Acta de Ajuste de Residencia por Servicio Militar – el ARMS Act (por sus siglas en inglés). El siguiente comentario es por Angélica Salas, directora ejecutiva de la Coalición pro Derechos Humanos del Inmigrante en Los Angeles (CHIRLA por sus siglas en inglés), un organismo regional sin fines de lucro con sede en Los Angeles y con impacto nacional.
“Ayer, el Congresista David Rivera (R-Miami) presentó una propuesta de ley que corrompe el espíritu del Acta federal de Sueños (DREAM Act). El Acta de Sueños que nosotros apoyamos representa una oportunidad seria para los estudiantes indocumentados que fueron traídos de niños a EE.UU. de ajustar su estado migratorio asistiendo a la universidad o sirviendo en la militar. La propuesta de Rivera es un hueso político en apoyo a pronunciamientos deshonestos dados a conocer en el transcurso de esta campaña presidencial.
La propuesta del Congresista Rivera es un insulto a todo estadounidense que valora el trabajo arduo y las oportunidades que conllevan al éxito, entre las que están una educación universitaria o el servicio militar. ¿Desde cuándo asistir al colegio o subir de estrato social no son parte del Sueño Americano? Un estudiante talentoso y dedicado que busca contribuir mucho más al único país que conoce como su hogar debería tener más opciones que tomar las armas. El Sr. Rivera no se atrevería a imponer esa limitación a nadie más; ¿por qué entonces quiere tratar a estos futuros estadounidenses de manera diferente”?
Reactions by CHIRLA members on President Obama's third State of the Union Address. How did he address immigration reform? Did his economic plan include the integration of immigrants as a vibrant sector of our economic engine? Video courtesy of KMEX-TV 34 Univision Los Angeles.