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‘Walk-In’ Supports Public Education in Santa Monica and Beyond  

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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

January 23, 2017 -- Hundreds of parents, teachers and students from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) participated in a “walk-in” at John Adams Middle School (JAMS) last Thursday to support public education.

The action was part of a national effort by the left-leaning Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools for a “day of action,” not coincidentally scheduled the day before the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Trump is an advocate of school choice, an alternative to a public school system that generally assigns students to schools based on where they live.

“Our walk-in was to send a positive message to our newly elected leaders that education is important for all students and for our society,” JAMS math teacher Barbara Ransom, who is the adviser for the school’s associated student body (ASB), told The Lookout in an email.

The national website for the event lists several “demands.”

These demands include opposition to closure or privatization of public schools, “more teaching, less testing,” “positive” discipline, “quality” and “affordable” education from kindergarten through college “including for undocumented students” and a “living wage” for workers in education.

“Every student regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, immigration status, socio-economics, sexuality and abilities deserves a excellent education like we have here in Santa Monica,” Ransom wrote.

She continued, “It is important for our society and our democracy that all student deserve excellence in education. SMMUSD is a shining example.”

Trump's education platform calls for immediately adding $20 billion towards school choice and giving states the option to attach the funds to individual students, including those living in poverty.

Among the speakers at Santa Monica's event was Mateo Marquez, president of the JAMS ASB. He said he has been part of the SMMUSD's Spanish immersion program since kindergarten.

“I have so much respect for the teachers that spend hours translating material to enhance our learning and for my fellow peers that have to learn so much in a second language,” Marquez said.

He added, “Programs like Spanish immersion, art, and music are vital to our society. We need to make sure the government knows that stuff like this matters and that in Santa Monica we are proud to have these programs and an excellent education."

Marquez also said “public schools need just as much attention as private and charter schools.”

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