Los Angeles educators and leaders speak with one voice in support of DACA students

ByMike Szymanski
Students at an outdoor protest

Read the full article at LASchoolReport.org >

Educators and local leaders in Los Angeles came out fast and strong against Tuesday’s announcement ending DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and in support of the hundreds of thousands of students it has protected.

Many worry about the effect on the families and children in schools. Here is a collection of statements with links to the entire texts of their reactions. Check back throughout the day for more.

In a rare universal condemnation, all seven school board members and the superintendent of the nation’s second-largest school district spoke against the decision in a news release quoting each of them:

  • LA Unified is unified. The district reiterated that the schools are “safe zones” for all students, employees, and families and offered a link to services: achieve.lausd.net/weareone.
  • LA Unified Superintendent Michelle King: “I am concerned by this decision and its long-term impacts on the students, families, and employees of LA Unified.”
  • LA Unified School Board President Ref Rodriguez: “Dreamers, whether they are students or teachers, have worked hard to contribute to this beautiful country and city. They should be celebrated, not turned away.”
  • Board Vice President Mónica García: “We call on Congress to abide by its oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution because Dreamers help us form a more perfect union.”
  • Board member George McKenna, representing West and South Los Angeles: “I am deeply troubled by the administration’s decision to phase out this vital program, which has benefitted countless children and families.”
  • Board member Scott Schmerelson, who represents the West San Fernando Valley: “I am extremely dismayed by the anticipated loss of opportunities for these students who were brought to this country as children and who stand to lose their dreams of becoming adults who would contribute greatly to the civic and economic vibrancy of our city, state, and nation.”
  • Board member Nick Melvoin, whose district stretches from the Valley to the Westside: “We will not watch from the sidelines as this White House ignores the catastrophic implications of rescinding DACA.”
  • Board member Kelly Gonez, the East Valley representative: “As a teacher and the daughter of an immigrant, I know firsthand the ways in which immigrants, including DACA recipients, have made our country vibrant and strong.”
  • Board member Richard Vladovic, who represents the South Bay and South Los Angeles: “It is unconscionable to punish children — who have lived their entire lives in this country and know no other way of life — for the actions of others.”
  • Jessica Cuellar, a special education teacher at Community Charter Elementary School in Sylmar and a member of the Educators for Excellence DACA Teacher Action Team: “When a 5th grader is afraid they may be forced to leave a country they have known their entire lives, they cannot focus on learning about their identity and finding their voice as a reader, writer, mathematician or scientist. This action by President Trump makes my job harder and will cause chaos in students’ lives.”
  • American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten: “As children return to school, many carry with them constant, crippling terror and uncertainty because of their immigration status.”
  • California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson: “Our country made an honest deal with these students—study hard, earn your degree, and you will get a fair chance to compete for college. We should support dreams, not defer and destroy them.”
  • California Senator Dianne Feinstein: “California is home to more DACA recipients than any other state, nearly 223,000. They’ve made incredible contributions including to our vibrant tech industry, which spurred a letter of support from Apple, Facebook, Google, and Netflix.”
  • Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund): “The fecklessness of the Trump White House and the Sessions Justice Department now endangers countless families, employers, and communities across the country.”
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: “The President should open his heart to the scores of families anguished by his decision, and reverse a course where he is so plainly on the wrong side of history and justice.”
  • John B. King Jr., president and CEO of The Education Trust: “The Trump administration’s decision to end DACA is irresponsible and immoral.”
  • Ryan J. Smith, executive director of Ed Trust–West: “Today’s decision to rescind DACA is unconscionable, inhumane, and moves our country backwards.”
  • Thomas Wong, Center for American Progress: “Ending DACA now would be counterproductive at best and, at worst, cruel.”
  • Michelle Brané, Women’s Refugee Commission: “The president’s decision to end DACA places countless families at risk of being torn apart and puts DREAMers and their children in precarious situations.”
  • California Teachers Association President Eric C. Heins: “This is an outrageous breach of faith and a broken promise to these young people who applied for DACA protection and who have met the education and/or military service requirements.”
  • Teach For America CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard: “This action deeply impacts not only corps members and alumni with DACA status but also the thousands of students in our classrooms who are undocumented and the thousands of students — regardless of immigration status — who will be left without a teacher.”
  • Evan Stoneco-founder and co-CEO of Educators for Excellence: “When children fear that they will be detained and deported to what may be an unknown country or that their family will be pulled apart, it impedes their ability to not only learn, but to achieve the American dream.”
  • Eli Broad, co-founder, The Broad Foundations: “All immigrants deserve the right to live and work without fear, so they can continue to strengthen our nation.”
  • Roberto Rodriguez, CEO and president of Teach Plus: “Today’s decision to end the DACA program falls short of our nation’s truest values.”
  • Sofia Arely Guevara, lead student organizer with Students for Education Reform: “We strongly condemn the actions of Trump, who has once again aligned himself with the hateful values of white supremacists and nationalists who will undoubtedly celebrate this decision.”
  • Alexis Morin, co-founder and executive director of Students for Education Reform: “We know that many of our student members have friends and family who will be affected. We call on schools, local municipalities, local police forces, and community leaders to not comply with this order or ICE officials and declare their spaces as a place of refugee for undocumented youth.”
  • Dan Katzir, CEO of Alliance College-Ready Public Schools: “We hope Congress moves quickly and recognizes the work that schools like ours do to prepare our scholars to be confident and caring adults—to be leaders, change-makers, and ambassadors of equality, kindness, and empathy.”
  • Ted Mitchell, president, American Council on Education: “They are Americans, just like their classmates and friends, in every way but immigration status.”
  • Steve Zimmer, former LA Unified school board president: “Those of us who have had the honor of working arm-in-arm with Dreamers know that their courage has inspired a generation. We are blessed and better that they have shared their stories with us.”
  • Marcia Aaron, CEO of KIPP LA: “Over the next six months, leaders in Congress will be working on a legislative solution to help Dreamers and to make DACA protections permanent. I assure you KIPP LA will be mobilizing to make sure our voices are heard and I hope I can count on the whole KIPP LA community to join us.”
  • Farhana Khera, executive director for Muslim Advocates: “This decision is not only morally indefensible and fiscally irresponsible, but it also proves, once again, Trump’s commitment to the white supremacist platform.”
  • United Teachers Los Angeles: “We all suffer when any vulnerable group is targeted, fueled by hate and intolerance. We must fight vigorously against Trump’s action, to protect these families from further harm.”
  • Marielena Hincapie, executive director, National Immigration Law Center: “This September 5 deadline is a political deadline, not a legal deadline. It was completely manufactured by Texas Attorney General Paxton and other extremists within the White House and the Department of Justice, simply to box President Trump into a corner.”
  • Marshall Fitz, managing director of immigration, Emerson Collective: “This is a completely manufactured crisis and the White House is playing along.”
  • Tyler Moran, managing director, DC Immigration Hub:, “There is no ‘grandfathering’ or ‘heart’ if Trump ends DACA. There is no spin from the White House that can change the fact if he ends DACA the Dreamers lose their protection and are subject to deportation.”
  • Jed Wallace, president and CEO of California Charter Schools Association: “Many DACA recipients are attending, have graduated from, or are employed in California charter schools. These young people, along with hundreds of thousands of other Dreamers, have built professional and personal lives that are resulting in vitally important contributions.”
  • Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund: “It will go down in history as cruel and inhumane, and the first draft of history should reflect this reality. No one should fall for the White House spin that there was a modicum of humanity embedded in their decision today.”
  • Myrna Castrejón, executive director of Great Public Schools Now: “We urge everyone who supports fair immigration reform to contact their elected officials and let them know that you support DACA and Dreamers.”
  • Community College Association president Lynette Nyaggah, representing the faculty in the California Community Colleges system: “We are dismayed by the decision of the Department of Justice rescinding the DACA program.  We see the benefits of this program daily in our classrooms, where students who were brought to the United States as children strive for a better future for themselves and their families.”