Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What's Past is Prologue

Sandy Banks

L.A. Times columnist and Beckford neighbor Sandy Banks remembers a time at Beckford when the custodial budget was cut, as the District is now threatening to do again:

When my oldest started kindergarten (ed. note: Sandy's oldest is now a graduate of Stanford University) at our neighborhood school, the district was flush. A wish list of simple items was posted on her classroom door: A rug for story-time. Easels, paints, little plastic aprons. Parents fished in their pockets for a few dollars.

But a year later, the bottom fell out. More than $220 million had to be cut from the district's budget.

By the end of first grade, teachers' aides were gone; my daughter was spending class time tutoring other children. The custodian's hours were cut back. The restroom was dirty, always out of toilet paper; my daughter was afraid to use it.

In second grade, there were 32 children in her class. They shared tattered books and colored with broken nubs. The school lost its librarian, and music and physical education instructors. The remaining teachers were forced to take salary cuts.

There wasn't a next year for her.

I transferred her in third grade to a private school. I hated to leave. Her teachers were great and the campus was two blocks from our home. But I gave up; my daughter would get only one go-round with her education, and I refused to gamble that the school would improve.

You can read the rest of Sandy's column here.

By the way, a few links that report a correlation in constipation and incontinence in children who attend schools with restrooms they feel are too dirty to use here and here.

We're not done fighting. Not by a long shot.

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