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Southern California Voices / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY
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Today's Agenda

March 29, 1993

Public schools are taking a pounding in California. Most of the complaints boil down to money: oversized classes, too few textbooks (and old ones at that), cuts in teacher pay (with resulting labor problems), classroom shortages, deferred or canceled maintenance. The list goes on and on.

So what do students think about this? Surprise--the public schools have their defenders. After all, as one Long Beach public high-school student puts it in the Youth column, "When we say that the schools are failures, we are saying that the youth of this nation are failures." Though opinions are decidedly mixed about the quality of public versus private schools, many students praise the dedication of their teachers, the diversity of their classmates and the "real world" quality of their education.

The praise for a job-training program for high-school students sponsored by St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood is more quantifiable. Every graduate of the training who passed the state licensing exam for licensed vocational nurses got a job.

Every one.

The 13-month program, outlined in Making a Difference, is sponsored by the city and school district of Lynwood, and is free to students. With new funding from the L.A. Private Industry Council and Rebuild LA, the training has expanded to include adults, some of whom were displaced by last year's disturbances.

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It's hard to think of Irvine and low-income at the same time, but as an innovative teacher reminds us in Testimony, Tustin Marine Corps Air Station is in Irvine, and its families send a rainbow of children to public schools. Bruce Baron, now an elementary school principal, mourns the planned closing of the station, "and with it the opportunity for these families to participate in the American Dream."

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What can a single mother do when her daughter defiantly throws herself into gang life? In the case of Susan Darley, the author of Community Essay, she can turn into a tough "father" and, despite the pain, draw the line about what behavior is acceptable. The ensuing storms culminated in locking a beloved child out of the house. Did she come back? Was the family reconciled? Sorry, can't give away the ending.

In today's Gripe, defense attorney Carole Telfer, who works in Norwalk Superior Court, decries the lack of black potential jurors for black defendants, and says there's a disparity in the pools for black and white defendants. She sees signs of discrimination in the choosing of jury pools, and believes that black defendants ought to have their cases tried in downtown L.A., where the pool of black potential jurors is richer.

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What would have happened if Greg on the "Brady Bunch" joined the Unification Church? Or if "Scooby Doo" visited Korea? Or if comedian Steve Park was invited to host "Saturday Night Live?" Find out in Second Opinion, where Korea Times writer Philip Chung lets us in on the "lost" Korean-American episodes of our favorite sitcoms.

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