Weekly roundup: A Mendez memorial, national assessment scores, Imaginology festival, district news and more

The City of Westminster is moving forward with plans to build a park and monument commemorating the landmark Mendez et al v. Westminster decision that scrapped the legal justifications for school segregation.

Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez
Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez successfully challenged segregation in California’s public schools with the Mendez et al v. Westminster lawsuit.

As reported in the Orange County Register, the Westminster City Council voted March 28 to approve a pocket park on the northeast corner of Westminster Boulevard and Olive Street. In November, the city also approved a bike path along Hoover Street to be known as the Mendez Historic Freedom Trail.

Last year marked the 70th anniversary of the historic Mendez decision, which declared separate schools for Mexican American students unlawful and laid the foundation for the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954. Central to the case — and featured in this podcast produced by OCDE — was Sylvia Mendez, who as a third-grader was denied enrollment at Westminster’s 17th Street Elementary. Seven decades later, she lauded the council’s vote.

“My father fought hard for my rights to go to a good school,” she said, “and he would be so proud to know that Westminster City Council is fighting to preserve his legacy.”

And here are some other education stories from the week ending April 13.

  • The three-day Imaginology learning festival, which kicks off today at the OC Fair & Events Center in Costa Mesa, is expected to draw some 40,000 families over the weekend. The event features hands-on STEM activities for kids, including workshops and competitions.
  • Newport-Mesa Unified’s deputy superintendent and chief academic officer has been tapped to conduct a six-month review of the district’s safety procedures and policies. Russell Lee-Sung will visit campuses, meet with local stakeholders and provide updates to the school board.
  • OC teachers can afford just 5 percent of homes on the market in the county, according to an analysis by real estate website Trulia. By comparison, 12 percent of listings in L.A. County and 48 percent of homes in Riverside and San Bernardino counties can be bought on a local teacher’s salary.
  • Following two years of deliberations, state education officials have finally agreed on a plan to satisfy the requirements of federal education legislation.
  • A district-level review of Mariners Elementary’s 2016 Gold Ribbon application found some inaccuracies in the document but also concluded that some later concerns were unsubstantiated or embellished, the Daily Pilot reports.
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