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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

South Central Teacher Says Bureaucracy Is The Problem

Coca Xie |
October 6, 2013 | 3:43 p.m. PDT


"Why bother?" Nichole Shop, a high school teacher, said about voting in the mayoral election. (Coca Xie/Neon Tommy)
"Why bother?" Nichole Shop, a high school teacher, said about voting in the mayoral election. (Coca Xie/Neon Tommy)

Name: Nichole Schop

Neighborhood: South L.A.

Job: High School Spanish teacher

Age: 31

What are the top issues facing Los Angeles, and why? 

I think one of the major issues in LA is unequal dispersion of resources. I work in south central and they have a lot of money for public education but none of them really seems to come down to the level of getting supplies for the classroom, cutting down on class size and things like that.

I think money gets lost and doesn’t travel down to people who need it the most.

What do you think Mayor Garcetti should do to address your top priorities?

I think that one of the main reasons why the money doesn’t seem to flow down to people who need it is because nobody ever asked the people who are actually there in the schools, in the communities, in the hospitals, the workers themselves, the patients, the students, the parents.

They don’t really ask them what is it that they really need, and how they want to get it to them. It goes through management, it goes through supervisors, it goes through consultants, and then somehow the money ends up getting lost through bureaucracy.

So I think that if they actually went to the communities and asked people and then responded to them individually, instead of having it go through all the management, it might solve some of these problems. 

Did you vote in the May election? 

No, I didn’t. I don’t vote because I feel like all of the politicians and all the people who end up getting voted in all have to go through the same bureaucratic system.

It doesn’t end up actually making things get to the people who need them the most. I don’t really know that voting for somebody new is really going to change that whole system. So why bother?

Can you tell me a little bit more about the education problems in LA?

Right now, I teach Spanish and I have 40 kids in every single class, which is the absolute limit that they can possibly get away with legally. The reasons why I have that many students in class, I only have 39 seats but 40 students, is because they refuse to pay for more teachers.

They say that the numbers of students don’t justify paying more teachers' salaries. Their last priority is lowering class sizes. They use that money for consultants. They are going to pay billions of dollars to some consultants to give training on the new coming course standards. That’s where the money goes; they don’t even pay for the papers and ink in the classes. Right now, we have three Spanish teachers in the school, and there are about 2,600 students.

Do you think it’s the school’s or the government’s responsibility?

I think that the problem comes from the bureaucracy, which is a problem in the school system and a problem in the government system. That needs to be addressed and cut down. People who are really affected need to have more [of a] role in decision making. 

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