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“Like People on the Moon I See, Are Things Not Meant to Be” : An HPHS Teacher Glimpses a Parallel Universe

August 26, 2011

From the Save Huntington Park High School website

What happens when as James Taylor sings, things “not meant to be,” like the reconstitution of urban schools beloved by teachers and students occurs?   Besides the breaking of bonds and cherished history between student and teacher, teacher and teacher and community and school, a kind of No Man’s Land is created-  a void that cannot be filled no matter how many Teach for America “people” are put on your campus to pay off their student loans.

On the website The Parallel  Universe for Dummies, multiverse theory is described as that in which many universes exist side by side to each other.  But, you might protest that in fact what is happening at HPHS or Fremont is not parallel at all, but sequential, however,  when  HPHS Spartan substituted for a week in their old school, for a brief moment in time, the old and the new coexisted side by side- the structure is the same, the students are the same, but the reality is totally different.

Like people on the moon I see

Are things not meant to be”

Let’s take Fremont as an example.  One day,  you have a staff of lovable cut -ups who happen to know how to teach very well.   The next day, everything changes- almost everything.  You have a new staff of displaced teachers, Teach for America “teachers,” and substitutes.  But fragments of memory remain, including a math teacher who has been walking the halls of Fremont since 1966; he IS the parallel part of this universe, along with a few other holdovers. There is also still the fountain on the quad, which was installed in the 1930’s.  The new can’t help but coexist with the old, no matter how they try to scrub it clean of history. Both living and monumental reminders exist side by side with the new universe and both move forward in time along side each other.

“Long ago a young  man sits and plays his waiting game,

but things are not the same it seems as in such tender dreams”

The math teacher’s  reality  and universe are internal and parallel to the one surrounding him. He carries with him over 50 years of  experiences of the real Fremont as he walks past and interacts with aspects of the artificial  new one.   So the parallel universe of the reconstituted teacher is not completely parallel but in fact intertwines with the other universe.  Why have I somewhat awkwardly delved into a physics theory which I know nearly nothing about?  Read on:

The following comments were left under another post but I thought they merited more space: I never returned to Fremont, but I have a feeling, this is what it would have been like.  A NOTE: I believe this teacher uses the term “laid off” in place of  “displaced.”   The teachers at HPHS were displaced if they had permanent status.

From HPHS Spartan  on 8/26/2011

Today is my last day subbing at Huntington Park High School. At one point I was a teacher who came in to work and enjoyed the time spent in the classroom. I was at Hphs for approximately one week (subbing) and in that time I have witnessed the disaster that the “reconstruction” has created in the school. For starters, students do not have permanent teachers (they were “promised” permanent teachers), there are NO consequences for student’s actions, NO tardy policy. I have had students walk in to class 15 minutes before the period ends and I have to allow them to enter class, according to some teachers and staff members the principal has treated them disrespectfully, and on and on. To a certain degree I am glad I had the opportunity to see for myself what HPHS has become. When I was laid off, I was extremely sad; I had been at hp for 12 years, but now after seeing what “they” (D6): have turned it into I feel a bit better; I now can accept that my beloved Huntington Park HIgh is not what it used to be. My heart goes out to ALL the teachers who are in a similar situation or that will soon experience what many of us have experienced”

From HPHS Spartan on 8/19/2011

I am deeply saddened with all the mismanagement LAUSD is demonstrating. I taught in Huntington Park High and our school was also “Reconstituted”. 3/4 of the teachers were laid off and continue to struggle with interviews and job placement. I have been able to sub at the school and it is horrible. There is no structure, no administrative support, students are running a mock, new teachers do not have a handle on the students, and on and on. Is this what the district had in mind when they decided to break apart our school? But wait, next school year the few standing teachers will have to go through the same process of reapplication and re-interviewing.

“And in between what might have been and what has come to pass

A misbegotten guess, alas and bits of broken glass

Where do those golden rainbows end?

Why is this song so sad?

Dreaming the dreams I’ve dreamed, my friend

Loving the love I love……..”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2011 9:48 am

    Excellent quotes – but where did they come from? They’re not on the savehphs blog. We knew it would unfold in this way. That’s why I could not reapply to HPHS – as if there were any chance they would accept me. – P.R. Keller

  2. Fremontwatch permalink
    August 27, 2011 10:56 am

    Don’t know, the person wants to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, since they are subbing, they may be RIF’d or displaced- or they may have been rehired and subbed off track and realized it wasn’t for them and quit.

  3. September 18, 2011 4:13 pm

    They also worry that one result could be that teachers judged ineffective and forced out of one school will be entitled under the union contract to fill positions at other turnaround schools the only places that will be hiring en masse during a budget crisis that is forcing layoffs. The series of events has angered the teachers union and already resulted in a legal challenge.

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