Posted December 23, 2015 by The Argonaut in Columns
Spin of being Exclusive left out the Truth

Re: “Playa Vista Parents Push for Locals-Only Middle School,” News, Dec. 17

This article severely misrepresents the intentions — stated repeatedly and explicitly over the past two months — of the Playa Vista expansion plan and unfairly paints the parents of Playa Vista Elementary School (PVES) as exclusive.

Indeed, from the factually inaccurate sub-headline, which incorrectly states the district “insists that sixth graders mix with other kids,” to the first paragraph, which implies PVES parents asked for a middle school for Playa Vista kids alone, through a fabricated “quote” attributed to myself (since corrected), there seems to be a consistent ignoring of facts in favor of editorializing.

The proposal, first presented publicly by facilities staff and LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer on Nov. 16 at Orville Wright Middle School (and subsequently by Supt. Cortines to the Bond Citizens’ Oversight Committee, where it was approved unanimously), was clear regarding the creation of a new middle school.

Quoting from the slides themselves, advantages of the Facilities Plan included “Successful District programs at local elementary schools now have an additional pathway at Wright MS,” and “[Re-establish] a middle school for Playa/Westchester families at Wright MS.”

The intent has always been to create an additional middle school on Wright to serve Westchester, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista families. Never was the idea of the new middle school being exclusive to Playa Vista even discussed, much less planned or presented anywhere.

In fact, despite the district’s plan calling for expanding PVES to K-6 for one year, to give the three communities time to collaborate on the design of the new middle school, many PVES parents have advocated for opening the sixth grade to PDR and Westchester
as well.

In advance of the Dec. 8 LAUSD Board of Education meeting, Playa Vista parents submitted a letter of support for the plan, including the establishment of the new middle school, to all board members. It was signed by more than 600 parents.

Quoting from that letter: “PVES is committed to its continued collaboration with LAUSD and LMU and is excited to partner with the Orville Wright, Westchester and Playa del Rey communities to ensure the success of this proposal.”

Despite the last-minute change indicated by the superintendent’s leaked memo and reflected in his lamenting “some of the promises I maybe not should have made to Playa Vista,” that commitment remains.

The school we envision will serve all three communities for decades to come. We haven’t given up on that vision.

Alex Stein
Playa Vista Elementary School parent

Editor’s note: A quote by Stein was corrected in the online version of the story.


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