Friday, June 06, 2008

Parents and ACORN stage rally at Castle Park Elementary School

Parents, kids and grandparents of Castle Park Elementary, with the support of Chula Vista ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) rallied to ask for an investigation of the highly unusual and constant dismissals and transfers of teachers and principals from the school since 1995.

They waved signs reading "11 (eleven) principals in 11 (eleven) years" and "New principal: How long will she stay?" Clowns and a unicyclist performed. Vehicles honked their horns. Many drivers called out their support.

As superintendent Lowell Billings arrived, he spoke to a group of parents. I was impressed that he communicated so well in Spanish. He that they would be big changes soon among the staff. Apparently teacher Nikki Perez, the target of several parent complaints, will be tranferred out of the school next week.

Lowell Billings had transferred Perez in 2004, but she challenged him to tell her the reason for the transfer. He could hardly say, "Because you are part of a group of teachers that has committed crimes, damaged student learning, and prevented anyone other than yourselves from having control over the school." The reason he couldn't say these words was that he himself was involved in the wrongdoing and the coverup. So an arbitrator ruled that Perez should be allowed to return to the school. Lionel Richman, the mediator, is probably quite unhappy with both Lowell Billings and the teachers union for concealing the truth from him.

Tonight Mr. Billings entered the Castle Park Elementary auditorium to join a crowd of over 100 that had come to cheer parents who were to be awarded diplomas for completing "Parents Institute" classes that had been brought to the school by principal Carlos Ulloa.

Parents are unhappy that yet another principal has been pushed out of the school by the group of teachers that calls itself the "Castle Park Family." This group of teachers seems to be fully in control of personnel decisions at Castle Park Elementary. They have attacked Billings in the press quite ferociously, but he still humbly gets rid of anyone whose ouster is demanded by the "Family."

At one point parents burst out with chants of "Let him stay!" ("¡Que se quede!")

Alicia Moreno, who has been associate principal at Vista Square Elementary in CVESD, will take Carlos Ulloa's place. Billings told parents that Ms. Moreno is very strict and will be very good for the school.

Billings didn't say if Moreno would be strict with the teachers who have caused so many problems with the school. A better idea would be to sit the teachers down, talk about the real problems of dishonesty and constant battles for power. If Moreno doesn't deal with those problems, no amount of strictness will help. The dishonesty and power battles, the anger and fear of discovery, will continue in the teachers lounge of Castle Park Elementary.

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