Center X recruits, prepares, and supports social justice educators—from novices to accomplished practitioners. To illustrate this work, we offer these profiles of members of our community. Each of these educators work in unique ways to transform public schools and further social justice.
Ramon Antonio Martinez
For two years Ramon Martinez taught first grade in a bi-lingual classroom. Then Proposition 227, which required total English immersion, passed. He witnessed his colleagues’ reactions, their questions, their fears. And he decided to do what he knew was the right thing to do—based on what he knew was in the best interest of his students, based on sound social justice theory he learned in Center X's Teacher Education Program. Unlike many teachers, at his school and elsewhere, who limited and/or completely eliminated their use of Spanish in the classroom, he continued to use Spanish as a resource for teaching and learning. Not too many third year teachers working in public schools took this kind of a chance. Ramon did. He also advocated by writing articles, by joining a group that later became the Coalition for Educational Justice. Read more...
Carol Jago, Associate Director of the California Reading and Literature Project at UCLA and soon-to-be-president of the National Council of Teachers of English, doesn’t need a spotlight. She radiates her own light. But no matter how far her light shines, she reflects back to Center X before it was Center X, back to 1977 when she was a fellow of the first UCLA Writing Project, back to 1986 when she was a part of the second California Literature Project (before it was the California Reading and Literature Project), back to her classroom where it all began.
For Carol, Center X is a place where practitioners become professionals, a place that fosters reflection—thinking about the work in order to be more effective in the classroom, thinking about the work beyond the classroom. Read more...
Sid Thompson, a “senior fellow” at Center X, loves the ocean. That love took him to the sea as a Merchant Marine, getting his Bachelor of Science Degree from the United States Merchant Marine Academy. During the Korean conflict he served in the US Navy. This is where he slid into teaching. Many of the enlisted men, black and white, from urban cities like Los Angeles, or rural areas like Appalachia and the deep south, lacked high school diplomas and wanted to pass the GED. So Lieutenant Sid Thompson became a training officer, helping these young men attain their common goal, the equivalent of high school graduation.
Center Xers know him as the first African-American Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. He is most proud of restructuring the large district into small complexes, into communities where the feeder schools were linked to the high schools in such a way that vertical teaming, vertical planning was possible, where parents felt a sense of community. Read more...