From the Bronx projects to champion for Alhambra's youth

In "Alhambra Characters" we highlight our favorite snippets from past interviews. The series puts a spotlight on Alhambra's diverse and vibrant cast of denizens.
 
In 2014, Roz Collier, president of the Alhambra Teachers Association (ATA), told the Source that students today were being denied the opportunities she had as a student. The former math teacher with the Alhambra Unified School District for more than 25 years is fighting to regain those educational advantages. Collier says one of her main goals has been to improve the relationship between labor and management, aiming for a “we” mentality instead of “us versus them.” She will be representing Alhambra at this year’s National Education Association Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly in Orlando, Florida.
 
As president of the Alhambra Teachers Association, what is the driving force that keeps you actively fighting for the betterment of Alhambra students and teachers?
 
My motivation springs from an innate sense of justice, which comes from my background. I come from a working class family and was brought up in the Bronx projects. I wanted to go to school, but I also needed money. I went to community college for free. Thirty years ago, California’s education system was a dream: We didn’t have to pay for community college. But that’s not the case now. Now we have exorbitant fees.
 
What were the educational programs most painful to see cut in Alhambra during recent budget cuts?
 
We were sad to let go of adult education. I think there were student recovery and recreational programs, as well as parent classes. Watching its impact on the community go to nothing was most painful. I think right now the state is trying to figure out where adult education should happen, whether in high school or community college.

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