Options Program at the LAUSD

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As I sit in the stands at East Los Angeles Community College listening to Dr John Deasy and Cory Lopez and Bennet Kayser and Miss Yosemitie Escevera welcome the graduates: I think this ceremony looks like every other graduation I have witnessed. But it sounds so very different. The Options Program was almost demolished this year, but students wrote a slew of letters and teachers took paycuts to keep it going. So what is the big deal? This is the program for working teen students, professionally employed students, teen parents, and second chance students. These are NOT traditional students: their lives are a little more complicated than usual. As a Cal WORKS Teen GAIN worker, I meet these kids and their parents in my office. I get handwritten tear stained letters from principals about their schools honor student graduating. I hear their individual dreams. I see their report cards. They are kids, like every other student going to high school and graduating this month, but their school is a little different. Assignments are turned in to teachers who meet them individually, some classes only meet once a week. Options is an important option for learning. It should not be cut unless the budget makers meet with these students individually and hea their stories.

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