The following comment was posted on the blog by a teacher at Weigand Avenue Elementary School in response to Ben Austin’s open letter to me, in which Austin defends Parent Revolution’s campaign to oust the school’s principal Irma Cobain.

The teacher writes:

Mr. Austin claims that “every teacher who signed that 2011 petition is now gone, and the school has gotten even worse since then.” There are exactly TWO teacher names on that petition. One of those 2 transferred to another school, and the other retired. The remaining names are staff members, 2 of whom are still at Weigand, and 1 State Preschool Teacher who holds neither a Bachelor’s Degree nor a California Teaching Credential.

As to Mr. Austin’s claim that the school has “gotten even worse since then,” does he mean that our staff is worse than in 2011? If Ms. Cobian drove teachers away, why have we all decided to leave with her? I wish Mr. Austin had been there today, our last day of school at Weigand. There were many tearful goodbyes, and some students expressed fear about not knowing anyone next year. In fact, this entire week, students have been asking us teachers whether we are going to be there next year. Their tension is palpable, their desire to seek out that “yes” so evident, even if they cannot express it in words. It broke my heart each time I answered with a “no, I won’t be here next year.” Even more difficult was trying to explain why.

Mr. Austin goes on to say “When I see kids attending schools like Weigand, I see kids who are going through a whole lot more at home than I could have ever imagined as a boy, but who don’t have a safe place where somebody believes in them, supports them and loves them.” Mr. Austin, how DARE you imply that we don’t do all this and MUCH more for our students? Anyone who teaches knows that we teachers willingly give our blood, sweat, and tears every day for our students. This is especially so in a community like Watts. You have NO IDEA how much of our personal and family lives we have sacrificed for our students at Weigand. When have you ever set foot on our campus? I have taught at Weigand for 11 years, and let me tell you, the staff at Weigand these last 3 years is without a doubt the most professional, intelligent, and passionate group of teachers I have ever had the privilege of working with in my 16 years as an LAUSD educator. Most of those teachers were recruited by Ms. Cobian herself, because she knows talent when she sees it. Perhaps our test scores dropped because we were actually TEACHING under Ms. Cobian’s leadership, and not simply drilling for the next assessment.

We left Weigand today relieved that this Parent Revolution nightmare is over for us, crushed for our students, and determined to help others FIGHT against your agenda.

— Fabiola Banuelos, dedicated veteran teacher, Stanford University graduate, who will go where I am better appreciated.