New Elementary School Celebrates Opening in South LA


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The skies were overcast, but the mood was sunny. After two years of planning and construction, the Dr. Lawrence H. Moore Math/Science/Technology Academy opened in August.

The clean-lined modernist buildings at 61st and Hooper serve 754 students, ages six-eleven. The new school helps keep classroom sizes down across the neighborhood, a fact not lost on student body president Freddy Herrera: “It is awesome that we have a new school in our area, because at the other elementary schools, it was overcrowded. Here, we don’t have that problem.”

The new academy focuses on what are known as STEM skills—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. California Congresswoman Louise Roybal-Allard, said these skills are more critical than ever before, because “it is important to the future success of our country and our competitiveness in the world marketplace.”

A June study by Change the Equation, an organization which works to promote STEM education, said there are two jobs open for every one worker employed in science- and technology-related jobs. And those jobs are often well-compensated. Stem workers with only bachelors’ degrees often make as much as workers in other fields with advanced degrees.

A group of sixth-graders were on hand to help with the ceremonies. They were pretty happy about their new school. Jasmine Perez, 11, said it was a friendlier school than the one she’d been at before.

“In my other school, it doesn’t compare to this at all. There’s, like, many, many kids who are mean and disrespectful, and when I first came to this school, I thought, ‘I will have a happy year here.”

Sergio Castro was very clear about the pluses of the Moore Academy, saying, ”It’s easier to learn stuff here, because in the old school, I was always struggling. But here it’s way easier, you know? ‘Cause it’s quiet, and the teachers—they focus, like, they focus on the lessons a lot. In the other school, it was kind of the same, but they seem more professional [here] than the others, you know?”

And, as Jasmine pointed out, that means the kids get more attention from their teachers.

“I like this school because I have a great teacher. She’s a really rare teacher to me, because I don’t usually have a teacher who supports me and, like, pushes me, and tells me, ‘You can do this, come on! Shout-out to Ms. Grande!”

And when the kids are willing to say they actually like their school, that’s a big shout-out to the school, too.

USC students react to Wednesday’s shooting

Listen to audio interviews with USC students Ran Xu and Anun Odjargl, and neighborhood resident Jose Lopez.

Interviews by Annenberg Radio News reporters Natasha Zouves and Sean Patrick Lewis.

Pet overpopulation in South LA raises questions about animal safety

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By Conrad Wilton

imageSouth Los Angeles resident Dina Cabrera feeds salmon to stray cats that wander into her backyard. But don’t worry; she caters to all animals.

“I have 3 dogs, 7 cats, 2 parrots, one cockatiel, 20 finches, 3 squirrels, and I’m not counting all the wild doves and finches I feed every day,” said Cabrera, who is often considered the “Snow White” of her community.

Cabrera manages to provide food, medical care, and love to all of her pets, but she still finds a way to work fulltime as a legal secretary and raise her three-year-old daughter Sophie, who, like her mother, loves the animals around her.

After asking Sophie, who her favorite pet was, she responded with “Mimi,” a 16 year old Chihuahua and holds two records – one for the oldest animal in the Cabrera household, and the other for the animal bringing in the highest vet bills.

“Sometimes it’s hard because there are so many and the bills can get pretty high,” Cabrera said.

imageCabrera has opened her home to stray animals to combat the rising rate of pet overpopulation in the city of Los Angeles. LA County Animal Control Officer C. Green has been rounding up stray animals in South LA for over 13 years. He says pet overpopulation is out of control because many pet owners fail to spay and neuter their animals.

“Some people just don’t come in even if we spay and neuter for free,” Green said.

The Los Angeles City Council passed a law in 2008 that requires all pet owners to spay and neuter their animals. Although many people simply ignore the mandate, Green says it is enforceable. But Cabrera says regardless of the law, there are some South LA pet owners who will never spay or neuter their animals because of a negative cultural stigma.

“The Hispanics I’ve encountered, being Hispanic myself, don’t want to spay or neuter their animals because they thing it’s cruel,” said Cabrera, “and I always tell them it’s the first thing that needs to be done.”

But spaying and neutering operations are only part of the solution.

imageIn the city of Los Angeles, pet owners are only legally allowed to house three animals. But according to Green, many South LA residents have several dogs to combat crime.

“If you’re going to kind of rough neighborhoods, you’ll see people with 4, 5, 6 dogs. And that’s where the problem comes in at.”

So what’s the solution? “I think people need to become more educated about animals,” answered Cabrera.

According to Green, many animal shelters and volunteer agencies are currently boosting their efforts to educate Los Angeles pet-owners about pet care and overpopulation.

As of now there is no government legislation on the table to curb pet-overpopulation in South LA, but animal lovers like Cabrera believe this is a top priority.

Supporters of DREAM Act wait for a decision

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imageSupporters of the California DREAM act gathered this morning to urge Governor Jerry Brown to sign the bill into law. If the bill passes, undocumented college students in California would be eligible for publicly-funded financial aid.

Conrado Terrazas says the bill has widespread backing.

“We have very strong support from people in labor, business,the education community and non-profit sectors,” he says. “I think we’re looking forward to [Jerry Brown] showing leadership on this as he did with AB131, and to sign it.”

But not all believe the DREAM Act would be a good thing.

Assembly member Tim Donnelly (CA-59) says the bill would be counterproductive.

“The only thing they’re doing is passing bills to undo the safety net and increase and create more incentives for illegal immigration,” he said in a television interview.

The Center for Immigration Studies says this act would affect one million students.