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In Their Own Words: Charter School Teachers Reject “Us” Vs. “Them” Mentality in Public Education

Since July, the L.A. School Report has been publishing their “Teacher Spotlight” series, interviewing charter and traditional public school teachers about their practice and how the education system can provide better support. The interviews touch upon a wide range of subjects, including the academic and personal challenges students face, parent engagement, innovation in the classroom and increasing teacher support. You can read the full series here.

In recent weeks, a few of the teachers profiled have taken the opportunity to speak out about the “us” vs. “them” divide between charter and traditional public schools. It’s clear from their remarks that they view the polarized debate as dispiriting and misguided. As we enter a new era for charter public schools in our state, we should all keep their words top of mind, and remember that we’re all fighting for the same thing: ensuring students from all backgrounds have access to a quality public education.  

Take a look at what these teachers had to say about the “us” vs. “them” divide:

“I think we’re all fighting for the same thing. I think that’s our kids’ education. Whether it’s charter or traditional, I feel like it shouldn’t be a fight against both, or which one’s better, because we’re all on the same mission.”

--Mercedes Jimenez, 3rd grade teacher at KIPP Iluminar Academy

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Photo credit: LA School Report 

 

“I think just the very anti-charter conversation is a very head-downer for us…It must be difficult for other charter schools to have these negative conversations about them when all they’re trying to do…is help students.”

--Paulina Morales, 10th grade history teacher at Synergy Quantum Academy

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Photo credit: LA School Report 

 

“I don’t believe in this charter versus district school tension. I personally feel like we’re all working really hard to make sure our community and future leaders get the education they deserve in order to navigate the systems that are sometimes against them.”

--Michelle Torres, teacher at KIPP Corazon

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Photo credit: LA School Report 

 

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