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Teacher Gets the X


Karen Salazar is a second-year English teacher with a master’s degree in education from UCLA. She teaches at Jordan High School in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles and, according to LatinoLA, her class is popular, regularly drawing students better known for their imperfect attendance. She has been asked not to return in the fall.

Observed 15 times in the past year, Salazar was criticized by an administrator for teaching The Autobiography of Malcolm X—a sanctioned L.A. Unified School District book—to her class. A union official shared a critique against Salazar with the Los Angeles Times that described her teaching as “too Afro-centric.” Salazar and others told the Los Angeles Times that an assistant principal accused her of brainwashing students.

Salazar's overall campus review describes her as "definitely a teacher who wants kids to wake up and look around them and ask questions and be motivated and be engaged.” Salazar's mentor and veteran teacher Miranda Manners agrees. “I did not see the same things that administrator said he saw,” said Manners. “I saw a new, young teacher teaching her lesson according to the objectives she stated on the board. I saw her engage with her students and interacting with them in a very positive way.” Sixteen teachers have threatened to resign or seek transfers in protest. And her students have taken their outrage online with a YouTube video.

The vice president for the United Teachers Los Angeles has little hope for Salazar returning to Jordan, “I think she was a terrific teacher, who had a real connection with kids, but teachers in her position have a hard time winning these battles.” Salazar would have earned district tenure with one more year of teaching.


Our prayers are with you Karen. We Know that you did a great job.

"Too Afro-centric?" This sounds so illegal that it is ridiculous. What is wrong with students learning things other than "dead white men." If you ask me, much of what we teach is too EUROCENTRIC...but noone would ever be fired for that.

I hope that she sues th pants off this school district.

This is an OUTRAGE!!!!! I am sorry, but this post does NOT tell the whole story. For more information on the Jordan High School and attacks on Multi-cultural education please visit:


If you need a job, we have one for you in Baltimore City. If what they say isn't the most racist, stereotypical, covert thing to say about a teacher doing their job. This goes to show that racism still lives here in the U.S. No wonder LA has the problems it has in their schools....too many teachers teaching...LOL. That administrator need to get a life and find another position because if he/she didn't see teaching for what it was, then they don't need their job.

""Too Afro-centric?" This sounds so illegal that it is ridiculous."

And if it sounds ridiculous, it probably is. Someone accused of being too afro-centric in Watts is like someone being accused of being too "Paris Hilton" in Orange County.

There was a whole movie recently claiming that numerous people have been fired or not given tenure for speaking up for "Intelligent Design." Turns out that every single one of these people was fired for not being a good employee. They had colleagues who spoke about ID who were not fired and they had colleagues who did not speak about ID and were not tenured. Most professors do not get tenured at major universities right away.
When someone close to us is disciplined, we sometimes jump to conspiracy conclusions. I did this when a principal I was very close to was fired. Students walked out in protest, teachers called in sick, we packed board meetings for months, and tried to recall board members. Now, 15 years later, I realize that she simply was not professional. Did she deserve to be removed mid-year? Probably not. But was there some conspiracy at the D.O. against her? No.
15 years from now, everyone at this school will look back and be embarassed that they were ever involved in this website or protest just like I am that I ever defended that principal. Right now, the issue is too emotional, but once that fades away, analytical reasoning will prevail.
The worst part is, since this is a personnel matter, the district office cannot defend themselves and tell why the teacher was really not re-elected.
The unbelievable part of the story is that this is a second-year teacher without tenure. They do not ever give a reason for non-re-electing a non-tenured teacher. This story is all about consiracy theories, conjecture, and emotion. If the story were true, this teacher would be RICH already from the lawsuit.
I was non-re-elected my first year of teaching and could have made 1,000 excuses. The real reason? I didn't have good classroom management. I fixed that and have been a teacher leader every since. Karen needs to do some self-reflection, drop this ridiculous delusion, and work on improving her teaching skills.
I am sure that there will be a lot of emotional responses to this message from people close to Karen, but first please do an honest reflection on why Karen was not re-elected.

Sounds like someone was feeling a little threatened by the thought of second graders being enlightened.

This is outrageous! Educators have known for years that students respond best and learn best what interests them. How much more interesting can it get than your own heritage and background? We've also known for years that black students learn differently that students with a European background. Why do we stay in such outdated and useless ways of thinking? The principal should be fired for being a proponent of such bigotry.


I've got a couple issues.
1. Teacher can say whatever happened she wants and the district isn't going to comment even if it's blatantly untrue. She hasn't gotten anything in writing yet. That's not due till June 30th. When she does, let her show in WRITING that the reason her contract wasn't renewed was because her teaching was "Too Afro-centric".

2. I read her impassioned plea for support. It was rife with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. This is inexcusable for an English teacher. Based on this alone, I do not believe her contract should be renewed.

2. I read her impassioned plea for support. It was rife with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. This is inexcusable for an English teacher. Based on this alone, I do not believe her contract should be renewed.

Where is the link to her side of the story?

Check out the new book, White Chalk Crime: The REAL Reason Schools Fail available at Amazon.com, WhiteChalkCrime.com or at a discount at EndTeacherAbuse.org to understand why firing such a teacher goes on. Our schools are not about education. They are about White Chalk Crime!

Typical, so typical of administrators....

Here in Las Vegas, Nevada is where she should be teaching diversity and African American History. Our problems here in the state of Nevada, which is 50th in the nation in education and extremely high in Violence, is partially due to the Diversity program, which is virtually non-existant.
What I would like to see the the Diversity Program she is "Suppose" to follow.
Rose Moore

I cannot think of a better reason to hire an attorney and publicize this egregious injustice in every media venue you can access. To be accused of being too afrocentric is indeed an outrage as if diversity (despite the rhetoric calling for it) is an artificial construct which is not meant to be expressed within the context of the classroom. Or is it that some kinds of diversity are acceptable and others are not? The latter is a question which bears further examination.

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