On Tuesday, 3/19/13, a vote to approve the proposed “Incubator” pilot school would be a vote to change the way of life at Venice High School (VHS) forever.

If the plan is approved, a pilot school will be invited to “co-locate” on the campus of VHS, completely usurping the district school located there presently.  The new school is projected to grow to 50% of the current district school’s enrollment.  However since classroom size for a pilot is smaller than that of a district school, the interloper will eventually engulf all classrooms on campus entirely, completely displacing the current district school.

Where will the displaced students, the ones not picked by this jet-setting crowd, go?

What lessons will they learn from this particular piece of cold, hard edu-economics?

To the members of the LAUSD school board, I submit it is just not worth it.  It is not worth the cataclysmic disruption this will cause to the entire Ven-Mar westside community.  It is not worth destroying this school’s venerable history of academic excellence teaching science, math and languages.  It is not worth fragmenting the athletic spirit of proud camaraderie that extends well beyond the school’s open borders through space, and even time.  It is not worth crushing the school’s empowering tradition of industrial arts and engineering.

To what end would you destroy all this?

To replace it with an experiment indoctrinating children in the tricks of an unregulated, free capitalistic market (the “entrepreneurship-themed innovation culture of Silicon Beach“)?  To explore the boundaries of conventional learning by calling this mimicry “education”? To model for a brace of children the One True Direction for their consumer dollars, directly into the coffers of the school’s corporate underwriters?

This proposal so brazenly flaunts process and the imperative for full disclosure, it defies all reason that with the stroke of a pen, the LAUSD board would irreparably alter the heart of the community of Venice, the realm of our children, … for this.

I urge you to protect your current excellent school and its hapless students, teachers, staff and families, from aggressive commandeering.

I urge you to delay approving the Incubator pilot school until our community can uncover its true intentions.

Because please understand this well.  No one in our community: not teachers, not administrators, not students, staff or families, was informed of this several-hundred page pilot school proposal. No public announcement of it was made.  Nothing is known about the proposal.  Despite assiduous research, still its actual content remains obscure, hidden, no doubt, under some fold in the internet.  A public meeting was forced with less than 24 hours notice and less than two business days from the LAUSD board’s scheduled vote.  Its nominal purpose was to provide information to stakeholders, but most of these have yet to be reached, even after the fact.  The plain truth is that most stakeholders in Ven-Mar remain completely ignorant of any proposed revolution in their public school system, to this very day.  Most of the community at large has no inkling that their public neighborhood high school is being subjected to a hostile takeover.  The pilot will enroll middle schoolers as well, thereby threatening the well-being of several neighboring middle schools too.  The threat to our community is hard to overstate.  This proposed school will disrupt the communal fabric of our lives.  And at the very least, our community is owed time to study its proposals, and mitigate any harm if at all possible.

Thank you for delaying approval of this “Incubator” pilot school until our community can absorb the magnitude of its proposed changes.

Your constituent at large, fervently requesting consideration,

Sara Roos
Venice High School parent

p.s.  If this plea has moved you, please add your voice to it by emailing all the school board members — not even just your own because all will vote on the proposal.  Thank you.