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Rally Held in Support of Adult Education in Front of LAUSD Board Member Nury Martinez's Office PDF Print E-mail
Written by Diana Martinez, Editor   
Thursday, 17 May 2012 02:50

D. MARTINEZ/SFVS

Adult education students, teachers and community members held a large demonstration outside the offices of Pacoima Beautiful on Wednesday. They said they were hoping to get the attention of school board member Nury Martinez who works as the executive director of the non profit organization.

Protesters said they wanted to persuade her to reject Superintendent John Deasy's threatened elimination of adult education at LAUSD. As they chanted and held up signs that read:

"Support Jobs Support Adult Ed," "Cut Bureaucracy First," and "Help Us Help Our Kids," under a very hot sun, motorists honked their horns as they passed them by in a show of support.

"I'm a student at Pacoima Skills Center," said Monica Estevez. "I was able to get my high school diploma and now I'm attending Mission College because of the skills center. Without it I wouldn't have had the opportunity and if these centers and classes are cut, it will be much harder for people and will impact all us, even our economy."

"I learned how to speak English by taking ESL classes at the center. Parents do want to learn to speak English so that they can help their children and find jobs, education is important for everyone."

The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol spoke to Nury Martinez who represents the Northeast Valley, following the demonstration.

"We had a really good information meeting on Friday, and I thought we had a really good dialogue," said Martinez who said that she supported the demonstration.

"We had about 100 people on the meeting on Friday and I counted about 60 people at the demonstration. I love all this demonstration, I believe it builds strong communities. We have to all work together on this."

Martinez said she went to the Pacoima Skills Center herself when she was in junior high school and she understands it's value but she said the challenge is whether they will be able to save all of it and supports putting a fee program in place for some adult education classes.

"We need to talk about who can pay for some of this and charge those who can afford to pay a nominal fee for some of the classes. We are asking the adults to work with us and I think it is totally reasonable and when I talk to them, they agree."

Martinez also said if LAUSD is successful in working out a furlough program with the teacher's union, a restoration plan can begin to rescind teacher's layoff notices and adult education but she emphasized that it will be difficult to restore adult eduction 100 percent. She said the governor's initiative to impose a parcel tax will also have to pass in November. "A parcel tax will cost $290 dollars per property and will generate 300 million for LAUSD," Martinez said.

Organizers of the protest indicate that as many as 300,000 adults and high school students attend classes at various campuses operated by LAUSD and the average adult ed student is low to moderate income and doesn't qualify for private training schools or qualify for community college. LAUSD's Division of Adult and Career Education. English-as-a- Second- Language classes, computers, auto mechanics and basic skills are in high demand at these schools along with the high school diploma and GED programs and programs for at-risk youth.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 17 May 2012 03:03