That's where I spent Cinco de Mayo and I was amazed. When my friend Carmen Garcia asked me to come in and speak to the kids in this South LA public school about being a writer, little did I know there would be almost 100 adults there, all sharing their career experiences, at a school that has been transformed over the past several years under the direction of Principal Roblin Polito Shuffer. This was a failing school. Now the facility is clean and bright, the teachers care, the parents are involved and the kids -- oh, the kids! Most of them Latino, from a stigmatized neighborhood, and they love attending school which they do with confidence and joy. They are held to standards, but no one here yells at them. No one raises a voice or doubts their ability. They know they are cared about, they know they can achieve. Sally Lieberman organized the day. Teachers and parents volunteered their time too. It was such a great experience to see so many little children so enthusiastic about learning. Imaginative, inquisitive, attentive. I loved both second grade classrooms I got to visit. The school offers ESL classes to parents who want to learn English. Public education in LA gets a bad rap. When it works, it deserves to be celebrated.
Author, Playwright, Troublemaker