I, and others here at blogging.la, have often commented on the sad state of affairs at LAUSD. While some readers have blamed the teachers for not caring enough, not being engaging, or not working hard enough (?!), the story of Karen Salazar might persuade these individuals that, indeed, the problem is not with the underpaid teachers at LAUSD schools, but rather with the bureaucracy which is keeping them from developing successful students.
Karen Salazar is an English teacher at Jordan High in Watts. By the accounts of her students, seen here in this YouTube videoand this YouTube video, Ms. Salazar is an inspirational educator, going above and beyond the curriculum. This, apparently is the problem.
In an email I received from a colleague familiar with “Students 4 Salazar”, he states that:
Salazar has been visited and “observed” by the administration over 15 times in the past year. During one of the visits, an administrator criticized her for having students read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, a LAUSD approved text. When she objected to this criticism, she was told that her teachings where too “Afro-centric.” She was then told that the school would not renew her teaching contract for the upcoming school year.
Students are staging a protest Thursday, June 5 outside Jordan High at 3:15 pm.
2265 E 103rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90002
More details after the jump.
Salazar is a Salvadorian, who is using what is known in educational circles as “culturally responsive pedagogy.” The principal, Stephen Strachan, is accused by “Students 4 Salazar” of taking a negative view of her emphasis on the “Black Experience.”
Amazingly, this contradicts common logic: with increases in violence between Hispanics and Blacks in South LA, what schools need is more educators tackling racial and cultural issues in the classroom. Even more refreshing is seeing students spearhead the movement to save Salazar. They are getting some support from the Association of Raza Educators. The public at large is being encouraged to contact the following players and give them an earful.
Stephen Strachan, principal
Richard Vladovic, LAUSD board member representing Jordan HS