Pass / Fail | So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Gardena High student dreams of college despite harsher reality

UCLA Royce Hall
UCLA Royce Hall
creative commons/prayitno's flickr

A week late, but still worth checking out. Last Thursday was International Women's Day, and various sites paid homage by running pieces by female writers.

One essay was by Gardena High School senior Janeth Silva, who is a member of the Women's Leadership Club and the AB 540 Club. AB 540 is a California law that allows qualified undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.

Silva says she is part of "a particularly vulnerable population in this dysfunctional education system because it is completely legal to discriminate against us."

A small excerpt of one encounter Silva had with a school counselor:

"Everything was going great until she asked me for my social security number and I informed her I didn’t have one. She would never again summon me in to her office or try to help me step on to that road to college she once had assured me I was destined for. I never imagined that discrimination could be such a painful mix of sadness, anger, and powerlessness. From one moment to the next, my legal status had somehow rendered all of my years in gifted programs, hard earned certificates, and other accomplishments non-existent."

Silva created the "AB-540 Crew" on campus, which has held awareness workshops and advocates for equal treatment for such students. Check out Silva's full essay "Undocumented and Unafraid."

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).