Important NBI at the NEA!
Restore Crenshaw High School Music Director Dr. Iris Stevenson
Therefore Be It Resolved That:
1. The NEA calls for the return of Dr. Iris Stevenson to her post as head of the Music and Performing Arts Magnet at Crenshaw High School now.
2. The NEA calls for an end to the LAUSD School Board policy of firing or driving out beloved and successful teachers who foster creative and critical thinking.
3. The NEA calls for an end to LAUSD’s practice of placing teachers in “teacher jail” where teachers are taken out of their classrooms and forced to report to without any charges or explanation, simply to be driven out of the teaching profession.
Dr. Iris Stevenson is one of Los Angeles’ most renowned music teachers and the pride of Crenshaw High School. Under her leadership, the school’s choirs have won numerous national and international music competitions, performed across the globe, and have been invited to sing for world political leaders including President Barack Obama, French President Jacques Chirac and Prince Charles of Britain.
In November 2013, Dr. Stevenson of took members of the Choir on a triumphant Thanksgiving Holiday tour that began during their break. By invitation, the Choir sang for the French government in France and for President Obama at the White House.
Upon returning in December 2013, Dr. Stevenson was suspended by LAUSD administration pending a sham “investigation” for the District to determine whether they approved a trip that they could never have refused to sanction. For five months, Dr. Stevenson had to report to “teacher jail”, and today she is still suspended from her classroom at Crenshaw High School.
The District’s attack against Ms. Stevenson is politically motivated. Ms. Stevenson has been a champion of public education, especially for black, Latina/o, and immigrant students. She fought against the reconstitution of Crenshaw High School. Through Ms. Stevenson, students for many years have been able to break the boundaries of the isolation that comes from the profound racial segregation and mistreatment of the Crenshaw community. For thirty years Dr. Stevenson’s choir members have had the opportunity to travel the nation and the world, performing before government officials, royalty, celebrities, and countless others. She has helped thousands of students overcome so many stereotypes and to refine who they are. The District is targeting and witch- hunting Dr. Stevenson because she fights for her black, Latina/o and immigrant students, raises their expectations and fills their hearts and minds with hope and confidence. She is a living example of what can be achieved through public education and a classroom regime premised on bringing out the best in students.
Winning this fight will build our movement and serve as an example for students and youth everywhere that when we fight we can win. It will strengthen the campaign to save public education and be a milestone in the struggle to defeat the new Jim Crow.