October 29th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

California teacher holds secret class

By Sonya Hamasaki, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - On a brisk, spring-like day in March, Diana Rivera walked into a classroom at Centinela Valley Adult School, just like she’d done everyday for nearly the past two months. She was eager to hear a lecture in her “medical assistant” class, a course she believed would be key to successfully starting a career in the medical field. Getting there had been a struggle.

“I searched and searched for so long,” she said. “I tried to get in three years ago, but there was a waiting list.”

The medical assistant course was started 12 years ago, and over the years, it grew to become one of the most popular on campus. But on that day, just as Rivera was settling into her coursework, everything changed.

“They just came in, gave us notice that school was over, and took us out," she said.

And just like that, her dreams vanished. The class and its instructor were suddenly eliminated due to cuts in state funding.

“It was devastating,” Rivera said. “I was let down.”

But as she was escorted off campus that morning, what she didn’t know was that her teacher was also about to become her champion.

Educator Cristina Chiappe, who created the course and has taught it since its inception, suddenly found herself unemployed. And while she no longer had a physical location to teach, she never once thought to stop the class.

“I didn’t want to leave my students with nothing. They cut the money back. This is not all about money, it’s about education,” she said.

So Chiappe came up with an idea – one that her students and onlookers have described as “brave”, “risky” and “heroic.”

She decided to continue teaching her group of displaced students, and open her own school.

"The students wanted to continue their education," she said. "I proposed to them, if we can open our own site…we'd be able to buy all the equipment so that they can have hands-on training. So we did it."

Her students were thrilled, but nervous at the same time.

"We knew it was going to be something different. You don’t hear this every day. We were ready for the ride, but also a little scared," Rivera said.

Of the 20 students enrolled in the original class, 16 young women pledged to give Chiappe their full support and embark on this adventure.

But first, there were some barriers to confront. Chiappe successfully registered her not-for-profit school, South Bay Careers, with the state of California and Los Angeles County. However, her application for a business license from the City of Lawndale was denied due to insufficient parking, she said.

“I was pretty shook up,” she said.

Thinking about how she didn’t want to see her students let down a second time, Chiappe decided to continue her class in a secret location.

She agreed to show CNN her classroom on condition we don’t disclose its whereabouts.  Each of her students paid $1,600, which covered rent, liability insurance, utilities, a television, Internet service, and medical supplies. Chiappe herself went without a salary.

The doors were open within weeks.

“I couldn’t believe it,” student Sally Montenegro said. “The first day we were in class, everybody was laughing. We couldn’t believe she got the place, she had the tables and everything set up.”

Many of her students couldn’t afford to pay the tuition upfront. So she bought text books and medical equipment as the money trickled in.

“Little by little, she started buying [the instructional materials], and we were always excited when new equipment came in to get the hands-on training,” Montenegro said.

The room slowly filled to include exam tables, stethoscopes, an electrocardiogram, baby mannequins and surgical scissors.

“It was a team effort,” Chiappe said. “The students and I, we did it together. I can’t take all the credit. They believed in my dream.”

But that dream didn’t come without tremendous personal sacrifice.

“The rent is due on the first of the month, and if I didn’t have the money, I had to reach into my pocket,” Chiappe said. “When I was laid off from Centinela, my husband and I (who is also a teacher), sat down and we looked at the numbers, and there was no way I could keep my house.”

The Chiappe family decided to sell her home and rent. “All the efforts should be in the school, versus paying the mortgage,” she said.

Her efforts paid off. Chiappe successfully led her 16 students, who she says she considers to be “family” now, through the course. She also placed them into externships with physician offices in the South Bay community. When they complete 160 hours of service, the young women will receive a course completion certificate and be on their way to starting full-time careers as a medical assistant.

Once their class work was complete, the group even staged a small graduation ceremony, complete with the requisite caps and gowns.

It was only then, as the students celebrated their success, that Chiappe told them of the missing license, and the need to hold their class in a secret location.

“I wanted the students to finish their program. I said from the beginning, ‘I’m going to finish with them, and then everything here will go into storage and I’ll get a proper permit,” Chiappe said.

The students were floored when they heard this. “It came as a shock,” Rivera said. “It’s very brave of her to do.”

“The risk she has taken for us is just amazing, there are no barriers for her,” said Montenegro.

Centinela Valley Adult School has not reinstated their medical assistant course, said Jose Fernandez, superintendent of the Centinela Valley Union High School District. If one of the two state education tax initiatives are approved in the November election, the board will address the possibility of bringing it back.

Moving forward, Chiappe plans to focus on cultivating South Bay Careers.

Her first step is to ensure she has a city business license.

“I will do what I need to get things done, but the law is the law. And I will follow the law, and get the proper permits," she said.

She is currently scouring different cities to work in and is applying for business licenses within those communities.

“In order for me to apply, they have a fee. Obviously, I don’t have the money to pay, but God will provide. That is my rule,” she said.

The risk and the sacrifices she made over the last five months were a small price to pay, she said.

“I’m very humble when it comes to what I do. I get emotional about this because this is something I really believe the students need," she said. "Many of them don’t have a chance to have a formal education. Some of them are single moms, some of them don’t have jobs, some of them are on welfare. I know them well, because I’m part of them.”


soundoff (623 Responses)
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    November 11, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
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    November 1, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  6. joseph rodriguez

    Let's hope that some foundation will step up and help support this great teacher. Billions leave the US each year to help other countries and while that is well and good, we need to help here as well. I am willing to donate.

    November 1, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  7. Jim

    Just wait until CA Prop 30 tax hike is defeated and another 6 billion is cut from education. This is gonna be great. So much for Californians being a bunch of bleeding heart liberals. No education for you.

    October 31, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • LH

      Sorry Jim, cynics didn't defeat prop 30....

      November 9, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  8. Bookldy209

    Years ago my principal and a handful of fellow teachers gently suggested I stop giving extra help and writing tutorials after school a couple of days a week as it made the rest of the faculty "look bad." Congrats to Ms. Chiappe for remembering why we do this in the first place but also understand it works both ways in that many of us are sabotaged from within by our so-called peers.
    ps – I didn't stop either.

    October 30, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Nicole

      Good for you!

      October 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • ed

      It truly is unfortunate that people want to suppress the over achievers to avoid looking bad or because they are not as committed. This is a great (or bad) example of union mindset where everyone is equal. Individuals are not equal,not at home and not at work. At work those that excel and stand out from the crowd should be incented.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
      • Veronica

        Those who want to do more always will. And society is the better for people such as this wonderful woman. However, I bristle at the suggestion that union workers are the cause of this type of situation. It has nothing to do with unions, and it's a cheap shot to try to lump underachievers into that category.

        November 9, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  9. Hamdy I

    This is like waiting so long for a new phone or electronic device and then suddenly, you are told you can't get it. Also, it is not everyday you see kids excited for learning, so let them have this.

    October 30, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  10. erin111

    Does life in US has to be such struggle all the time? People, especially the rich one, really can not pay a little more in taxes to live in an educated, not exhausted society? Everybody would profit from it, including the rich.

    October 30, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  11. Jen

    Yes! I thought the same thing. How can I donate?

    October 30, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • leanforward

      The very best way to donate is vote for Obama so we can let the Bush tax breaks expire. Then we won't need to cancel classes in the first place.

      October 30, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
      • Jim

        Obama can't save this. California Prop 30 might but Prop 30 is going down. CA doesn't want to add to the sales tax and tax the rich to pay for this. Gov Brown's gonna cut 6 Billion from CA education funding if Prop 30 doesn't pass and the votes are still gonna hand him a resounding No! CA hasn't passed a tax hike in years except for a tax on millionaires for mental health spending. That's it. No more tax hikes in California.

        October 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  12. Jennifer

    Oh for the love of God!!! Journalists, when you write a story about someone struggling to fund a business, give readers a way to donate to the business. (CNN, why not make it standard formatting to include a "click here to donate" button on all articles about charities/start-ups?) Don't want to handle the money within CNN? ...Link out to sites like indiegogo. com for fundraisers ... kiva. org for loans, etc. This seems like such a no-brainer.

    October 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  13. cdub2k

    As an aspiring teacher I can't see myself doing this. This lady is very special and I'm sure she means a lot to the 16 young adults that she helped. It does help that she has a supporting husband.

    October 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  14. TPNow

    This is what all teachers should do. Teaching should be volunteer work–not paid by tax dollars. Only then will the teachers who really care be in front of the classroom and we wont have to waste our hard earned money from real jobs on union slackers.

    October 30, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • casey

      And how are the volunteer teachers supposed to earn a living? Bonehead...

      October 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Analystgirl

      And thy are suppossed to sell their homes in order to hold classes? I hope thier family doesn't mind sleeping in their car.

      October 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • lucianne

      You, of course, will continue to draw your own salary, while chintzing out on the people who educate your children and the next generation of taxpayers who will pay for your roads, your emergency vehicles, your social security and medicare...

      October 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      Would you attend college with all its costs, earn a degree or two, and then donate your time? Teaching is the only profession I can think of that requires a degree and pays like a service industry job. It seems strange to me that anyone can suggest with a straight face that teaching should be donated by those that feel the calling. Why not doctors? They take an oath that includes the words "first, do no harm" and then charge patients harmful prices for their service. Perhaps you should suggest that those "with a calling" to medicine provide their services free.

      October 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
      • HarveyHeadbanger

        Teachers go into the profession knowing the salary range they are going to receive, and doctors do the same. Doctors also give alot of their care away, despite what you may think. This courageous woman chose to do what she did-no one forced her.

        October 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Kelso...

      That might be the most riduculous thing I have ever seen posted TPNow. You need to do volunteer work for a year or two with no pay and see how that works out for you. Totally ridiculous and ignorant.

      October 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • danab

      UNION SLACKERS??? Were your teachers union slackers? I owe so much to my teachers. Granted, depending on the area that you go to school at you might get a better education, but a lot of that has to do with funding. My son graduated from a very small school with very little funding. Even though he was the validictorian, it meant very little once he entered college because he wasn't prepared. My daughter graduated from a much larger school with much more funding. The transition to college was much easier for her because the teachers were able to make sure of it.

      The teachers are not union slackers, it is the means that the have available.

      October 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • BioHzrd420

      A lot of what teachers do is already unpaid. They don't get paid overtime for staying late, making lesson plans, grading, listening to students, tutoring, improving lectures, all of which they do every night of the week and on the weekend.... Your suggestion implies that pretty any job should be done without pay because "that's how you find the best". Maybe you should volunteer do your job for 1-2 years without any income.

      October 30, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
      • Howard

        Why are you people even replying to someone with the letters "TP" in their alias?

        October 30, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • photoman67

      TPnow, do you need an adjustment to your tin-foil hat?

      We need more unions in the country, not less.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Jorge

      Spoken like a true mooch...

      October 31, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Aubrey

      right. volunteer work. because I never went to college and I don't have $80,000 worth of loans to pay back. Would you really want your child taught by a volunteer? MY tax dollars are going towards 50% of my student population whose parent's are on welfare.

      October 31, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  15. Sentenceguy

    This is a terrific article about the triumph of determination. All of us who work as teachrs should be inspired. All of us who work as English teachers will notice the first sentence and one irregularity: "On a brisk, Spring-like day in March, Diana Rivera walked into a classroom at Centinela Valley Adult School…just like she’d done everyday for nearly the past two months." In this sentence, "everyday" does not fulfill the function it is used to fulfill. The author needs to use two words instead of one: "every day." If Diana Rivera had done something every day for two months, then surely it had become part of her routine. In other words, it had become an everyday thing. But that does not change the fact that she did it every day. The difference is that one is an adjective ("everyday") and the other is an adverb ("every day"). The author used the adjective form when the adverbial form was necessary. People do this all the time. It can be seen on billboards, in advertisements in magazines, and in articles on cnn.com.

    October 30, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • MaggieJS

      Well, you missed the whole point of the article with your nit-picking remark.

      October 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
      • Chad

        LOL – Missed the entire point of the article!

        October 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  16. Ellen42

    This... THIS is what Jesus was talking about. Sacrificing one's own comfort and gain for the well being of others and the community at large. The woman gave up her *home* to do so!

    All the political and economic arguments flowing from the mouths of multi-millionaire conservatives – who are usually loud proclaimers of their own so-called Christian piety – are only so much drivel when compared to the way Cristina Chiappe "walks the walk."

    And the kicker here? I get this and I'm not even Christian. He was a wise man and teacher, but one my heart tells me was not uniquely divine. If people could only concentrate more on what he taught and not so much on his presumed singularity in history, how much could humanity accomplish? Content over divine status seems to work just fine for over a billion Buddhists.

    But since many loud, wealthy, and politically powerful "Christians" seem more interested in promoting the idea that "our religion is the only *correct* religion and everyone should accommodate *our* preferences," they fail to notice that being loud, wealthy, and politically powerful surely would not have won them many brownie points with The Man Himself. These same self-serving scions foam at the mouth at the mere mention of seemingly socialistic policies while forgetting that Jesus' own personal code of conduct resembled those policies a great deal.

    Perhaps when, or if, the hypocrisy of some conservatives ends, when their wealth and position of power becomes less important to them than walking the walk of their own professed savior, both the political setting and the condition of those less fortunate will improve in America.

    October 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Perskaya01

      Strange that you would hold such a high opinion of Jesus and yet not think he was divine. I say that because Jesus himself proclaimed to be God, so if you're right, then he was a liar. That doesn't sound like a good man to me.

      I suggest he was exactly who he claimed to be.

      October 31, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  17. Marine57

    Good for you, young lady, and kudos for your husband to step in and help support your excellent dream!

    October 30, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  18. Jay

    These are the types of folks that make America strong. It's too bad the politicians have been sucking the country dry for years.

    October 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  19. imastarchick

    It is my OPINION that those who are in charge of public schools better grow up and learn to be responsible with what they have been given. ($ and children) if they want to avoid the stigma of becoming pariahs on our society. There is a lack of fiduciary and ethical responsibility on the part of the leaders of the school systems in this country. I personally am not going to vote yes on any initiative that asks for more money for schools until there is reform at the highest levels of public education. They get enough money already so lets mandate what they do with it and enforce better management.

    Diana Riviera is a hero. Couldn't we all take responsibility to lift one another up even just a fraction of what she has done? Imagine the education our children would get....

    October 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Lee

      Teachers were cut in our schooldistrict this year, techer salaries were forzen, and the superintendent, board of education, and board of supervisors (all of whom are Republican) gave themselves raises. And our Republican-majority county LOVES it.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Imdisappointed

      I see you want to value the work of others, and at the same justify making that work extremely difficult. Please decide in your own mind whether you want ideology or reason.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
      • Jorge

        Actually, Disappointed, we get to value the work of others based on the results, WHEN WE PAY FOR IT, which us taxpayer do. In light of that fact, and the other fact that education in this country is not producing the results that us TAXPAYERS expect anymore, it seems plausible that a review of the management base of public education and its platforms might be in order.

        October 31, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Um...

      The educator's name is Cristina Chiappe. Not Diana Rivera.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • where is the sanity

      The real problem lies with parents. Most parents today simply see school as cheap daycare. It all starts at home.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Jorge

      EXACTLY, public school boards and schools in this country are infested with politicized career bureaucrats (kind of like a struggling dog infested with fleas, really) who are only in it to impose their own little worldview on their district and to cash in on the public gravy train. Each one that comes up after the previous one that has been chased out (the only way to get rid of them) wants to reinvent the school district in some pointless, obsessive, expensive manner when it comes to practical education instead of working towards the common goal of making their district more efficient. Many of the old board members will take up or fight this stuff according to their self serving interests, but believe me, many times the last thing on their minds is EDUCATING THE KIDS.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  20. Paula Barbee

    yeah, I know I'm an idealist but....what if people (psychiatrists, teachers, scientists) taught what they know, just for the benefit of sharing knowledge in a world darkened by ignorance and hate? Yeah, well a girl can dream, right?

    October 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Macey

      The thought is nice, but people DO need to get paid in order to survive in this world. They need food, shelter, clothes on their back and they deserve luxuries.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      Unfortunately, idealism doesn't feed the kids or pay the bills.

      October 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • BioHzrd420

      Yeah and what if nobody charged money for anything and we return to the barter system. Everybody just shares their knowledge and pitches in and sings Kum-by-ya. I think they tried that in the 60s and it didn't work out so well.

      October 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • ann

      The school system likely wouldn't allow it because they do not have an education degree.

      October 30, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  21. Curious

    Personally, I'd like to see a comparison between what her original class cost, and the at-the-time and current salaries of the school board administrators. I'm betting that the higher ups didn't cut their own paychecks when they cut her class.

    October 30, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  22. Leo

    I want to know if the original school refunded the tuition for all those students.

    October 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  23. jeninky

    Why on Earth were they escorted off campus? Will the program they just completed even count (i.e. is it accredited?)? We need more info here...

    October 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • brillow

      well at least they didn't throw acid on them or shoot them in the head

      October 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  24. Not so fast

    While i understand her intentions. The fact is she is breaking the law. The parking rules are there for a reason, and I admit some times they go to far. Can you imagine if a Best Buy or a grocery store opened next door to you and the customers parked in front of your house, or in your drive way. Or in your parking lot filling it up so your customers can't park to spend money in your store.

    the Article didn't go into the details of the specifc parking requirements. but most citys have requirements like this. Take the maxium occupancy (based on the type, size, and nature of the businness) so lets say 19, add the employees, lets say 1, the teacher. and multiply by 80%. So She would need parking for 16 cars. Like I said this is an example, maybe that city is 50% therefor parking for 10 cars. What ever the case. This is the requirement and it is there for a very good reason.

    And by the way, for those who said public transportation, and that most students don't have cars. Look on a college campus. Most college students may not have cars, but many do. Some even borrow there parents cars, or get rides to school. the needs to be space to park for the student to get in and out so they are not blocking traffic.

    October 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • azulle

      Really?? That's all you got from this story?!?!? You're pathetic.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
      • Nikki

        Azulle, right on!

        October 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • rob1271

      she only did it for the 16 students who would have been screwed out of their class. she is now getting the proper permits for future classes. it's not like she has been enrolling waves of classes and not applying for the permits.
      come on, use your head.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Lee

      Not so fast, Next time you are exceeding the speed limit, remind yourself of this. By the way, she is out of compliance with a city ordinance, not breaking the law. There is a difference. All she is risking is a fine and a late filing fee on her business license. I've "built-it," been there, and done that. Where are all of the complaints coming to this woman's rescue regaring her struggle to build a business against the odds of over regulation? Her business just happens to be helping under-represented, under-priveleged people, which Republicans hate. The more empowered such people become, the more the Republicn party becomes irrelevant, the more the wealthy backers lose their power over government and start having to pay their fair share for services rendered by the government in enabling them to make all of their wealth. If you disagree, then the next time you build a business, try doing it in Somalia where there are no government services.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
      • RadarTheKat

        You're misrepresenting the Republican position. We want more people like her, battling the odds against over-regulation put in place by the Democrats currently in charge. I, and any other true Republican, applaud her guts to put her own money behind her dreams and the dreams of her students.

        October 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
      • brillow

        i think most republicans would be thrilled to see this woman fight to stay a productive member of society and helping others to be productive too

        October 30, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
      • brillow

        when you talk about the rich republicans that don't "pay their fair share" keep in mind the 47% that don't "pay their fair share " either.

        October 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Ruth

      I'll lay odds that a number of those students don't have cars and use public transportation. Sometimes business license regulations are totally inapplicable - but try explaining it to the person at the counter. (Good luck to you with that.)

      October 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • bill mahr the idiot

      arrest that woman and burn all her books WTH was she thinking ... trying to educate people. i bet they were mostly women too.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  25. Mitt Romney

    This she-devil of a women broke the law! She took in the poor, mother's who are unwilling to raise their children in a proper household (single moms), women mooching off the government to feed themselves, and even women wh0ring themselves our for pocket change. This lady condones this behavior in order to run her school at no charge. She should be locked up and never shown the light of day ever again!

    October 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • MuYaYi

      Whomever wrote this under the pretense of Mitt Romney should be ashamed of themselves.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
      • southernexposure

        It was probably Barack Obama

        October 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
      • Bill

        Based on way Romney, Ryan and the rest of the GOP treats women, I think it's a little presumptuous to assume these comments were done by someone pretending to be Romney.

        October 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
      • gregory

        MuYaYi......please, grow up. This just shows what some people think of Mitt Romney.

        October 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • j

      you are an idiot !

      October 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • jeannie

      I think you need to put yourself in her position – that is if your "sheeple" mind can allow that – ypu must be on of those dumbdowned sheeple that can't possible think for themselves – I would love to be a fly on the wall if Twit Romney is elected and you have vouchers for medical/medicaid and your social security check is put into the stock market and you or your daughter or friend can't get an abortion if they are raped – what the hell is wrong with you people btw, that is just the surface!

      October 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Chris

      A decent troll, but I think you left a bit on the table. I'd appreciate a little more effort from your next attempt.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  26. socketwrench55

    What a great story of dedication and heroism out of the educational front! Part of me those sees the danger in what this type of story propagates. Teachers are amazingly altruistic. For every one of these stories there are hundreds of readers that come to expect these types of selfless behaviors from educators today. Though this is certainly taking altruism to the extreme, most teachers work well beyond the contracted hours helping students to be successful and reach into their own pockets for classroom supplies and student needs. I wonder if this type of story reinforces a sense that teachers need to be paid much more and that education needs additional funding. Or simply feeds the stereotypes that teachers are born heroes willing to sacrifice everything (even their own home and family needs) for the sake of their students. Seems similar to every Hollywood movie every made about teaching (Stand and Deliver, Dangerous Minds, Mr. Holland's Opus, Dead Poet's Society, Freedom Writers). I've been in education for some time and have given much of my life to the job, something I knew going in. But I just wonder how much of this type of self sacrifice is fed by a media coverage and if it affects the respect society gives teachers at all.

    October 30, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • brad

      My English teacher, pore lady, I gave her such a hard time because my work was late or I flat out didn't do it. She saw something in me and gave me all kinds of chances and nudges. I passed her class with flying colors because of her pushing me. She was a great person.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
      • shootmyownfood

        Visual – "pore lady" – full of holes like Swiss cheese. I can certainly understand why your English teacher gave you a hard time.

        October 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Chen Baishun

      Yes, it is good to make it clear that we shouldn't expect everybody to be a "superteacher" – it's good that she did that, BUT for most people it would be devastating to put in that much effort. We should raise respect for teachers AND treat them as normal human beings. Focus should instead come on administrators

      October 30, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  27. dparker05

    Ms. Chiappe should be nominated for one of those hero awards for people in society. She gets my vote and I wish her and her family much success for giving back to the lives of others. God bless her.

    October 30, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Kimberly

      Amen to that, dparker05! 🙂

      Now – I look forward to (hopefully!) reading a follow-up story about someone – or several "someones" – in a position to help Ms. Chiappe step up and make it possible for her to get the location, permits, and stable funding she and her future students need so this program can get properly established and flourish.

      I think Ms. Chiappe may have hit upon a great solution to a huge problem; niche educational programs like this could be the answer for a lot of people; I can envision independent "education co-op" buildings where students focus solely on specific accredited programs that aren't offered at local community colleges or universities. It would be a great solution for unemployed instructors like Ms. Chiappe who have the credentials and ambition to offer them, and the answer for students who are interested in a specific career or training program that isn't offered elsewhere.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • johnt

      I'm not so sure I would jump on the hero bus, but it would sure be nice if the others here would step up like she did.

      Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if the expectation was that most folks would step up in the face of adversity instead of it being the exception?

      October 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  28. johnt

    So if I hear the "she didn't build it message" correctly then if I cut a tree down l on my property and used it to build a fire than it was the government that was heating my home because the land was in a city, within a count within a state, within the USA. So the tree was indirectly on government land, watered by a government supplied water system.

    So if I follow that logic the government made my kid?

    October 30, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • mark

      If ignorance is bliss, then you must be in nirvana. Why don't you interpret the "you didn't build that" in the appropriate context??? Probably because it would not support your anti-Obama stance. What was implied by Pres. Obama is that when you have a successful business, you alone are not responsible for the success. There are roads, phones, and other infrastructure that is in place AND working that contributes to a company's success.

      Thank God this election is almost over and the country will have the benefit of 4 more years of Pres. Obama, and then, hopefully, 8 years of Hillary!!!!!

      October 30, 2012 at 11:53 am |
      • johnt

        Like I said when YOU build a business come back and tell us how easy it was WITH ALL that government help. The statement was pure socialism and a bash to those who do the real sacrifice to get ahead and BUILD jobs for people like yourself, assuming you actually work, and if you do it's probably a government job. Thanks for your perspective tho.

        October 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
      • lisaspus

        Johnt - I am so sick of people who would rather spend their time name calling than actually discussing the issues. There is nothing socialistic about admitting that outside sources may have had a small part in the success of a business. At the same time, no one, the President or anyone else, is detracting from the sacrifices made by individuals in its success, either. Grow up and leave the name calling on the playground.

        October 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
      • johnt

        I guess I missed where I did name calling. But you are definately right. There absolutely was a small amount of infrastructure that was used. Kind of like me building a house – the wood and other supplies were required. – but I still built my house using my own money saved from a business I created built upon infrastructure paid for by taxes people paid so I will thank you tax payers and patrons.

        And no the government did not give my kid a A on his report card – He did it himself by sacrificing and hard work instead of playing video games. Oh right – he used the Internet and books and teachers, lets tell little Johnny he got it. because the government provided the Internet and teachers.

        October 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
      • proudliberalmjq

        The Democrats need to get out and vote so we can win this election for Pres. Obama so he can have a second term which is very important for the survival of our freedoms.

        October 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
      • Lee

        johnt, just thought I would point out the Sensata Technologies plant in Illiiois that Bain Capital is UN-BUILDING and sending the work to a plant that Bain owns in China. Romney is still a majority stake-holder in Bain, which by Republican standards makes him the builder and chief architect (the workers simply being chopped liver). So Romney isn't a builder. He's an un-builder. Also keep in mind, qualification for president is an ability to help people build things where challenegs make it very difficult if not impossible. Romney's venture capital and job outsourcing credentials do not qualify him for such presidential work. You are trying to elect an out-sourcer in chief.

        October 30, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
      • RadarTheKat

        We all know exactly what Obama meant. Obama's implication is that those in American society who create businesses and jobs, like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and Bill Gates, to name a few, are not special; they were able to do what they only because society put in place the infrastructure, like roads, bridges and other infrastructure businesses rely upon. The problem with this position is that those same roads, bridges, etc are there for everyone, and yet everyone hasn't gone out and created an Apple, Oracle, or Microsoft.

        We're all able to do a lot of things because our grandparents' and parents' tax dollars funded the country's infrastructure. That's not in doubt. We're all able to survive on this planet based upon the energy provided by the sun, too. The question regarding entrepreneurs is, given the basics of sun energy, roads, bridges, and the postal system at our disposal, are there some among us who have done exceptional things and created a better world for us all? To me the answer is clear; YES. And they deserve more respect and recognition than to be told that their successes are due to the basic infrastructure and the fact that the sun shines.

        October 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
      • em hanes

        You seem to be the ignorant one here, if you honestly think the United States will be anything but in a shambles if we have another 4 years of Obama. He is not a business man and never has been, has been sucking off the Govt for all his career, has us in more debt than all the past combined. Get a clue, we need someone with business experience if we are to survive this recession. Its about creating more jobs, not giving money away that we dont have. God Help Us All and save us from the extreme left.

        October 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Durundal

      again, slick, if you cant bother yourself to actually hear the WHOLE speech, stop playing off of soundbites. You just continue to make yourself look more and more foolish. You can read, cant you?

      October 30, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • brad

      Wow, your reasoning skills are pretty pathetic. I don't care for either candidate, but even I realized immediatly what he ment by that saying. So, when you built your buisness, did you cut the trees down and shape them into boards? Did you dig up iron and make your own nails? Did you pave roads to your buisness so people could get their? Did you lay down water pipes, then run treated water to your buisness? Did you provided sewage service, and then clean up that sewage? The trash your company makes, did you carry that out to the landfill? No, many companies from paper manufacturers to road consruction crews to plumbers helped to make your buisness a reality, you did not do it on your own. Do you get it now or do I need to write you a book.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • johnt

        You are absolutely right – during the worst downturn in history our president takes a shot across the bow at the very individuals that are necessary to pull us out of this doldrum. The message was clear and it was a slap in the face.

        The question is why?

        October 30, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
      • I-Right-I

        Brad, the government didn't build any infrastructure; that's what you bleeding heart liberals don't seem to get, including Mr. Obama. Tax money built our infrastructue, small businesses did the work, paid for by, yes, us taxpayers. So, in effect, small business owners not only built the business, the also built the infrastructure.
        Get it yet? The really scary thing is that our current president doesn't get it. ANy time you use a utility, travel on a paved road, etc., your tax money built it, not the government.

        October 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
      • Lee

        johnt is obviously a blow hard. If he was actually a busines operator, he would not have so much time to waste commenting on opinion pieces on CNN. He is a poser, a wealthy-wannabe, a Romney-groupee, a worker who downplays his own value in service to his masters.

        October 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • Lee

        I-Right-I, and yet guns don;t kill people, people kill people. Money can't do anything to national infrastructure without smart people in government making decisions on the best place to spend it to get the most economic bang for the buck. Good luck with your small government when there is no one to do this kind of important job. Keep in mind, there has never in all the history of the world been a large economy without a large government. The Republican ideal is a mythical utopia.

        October 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • johnt

        So Lee – that logic would put you as a welfare recipient – the least you could do is thank me for feeding you with my tax dollars. Man there sure seems to be a lot of 47%'ers on here. It must suck to see successful people around knowing you have such low confidence in your ability that your only hope in life is to live of the government. Thank God for individuals like this teacher who had a visiin and the balls to step out from the crowd – and be someone special

        October 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • gregory

      johnt I am so glad to be in the USA. By being in america, I can build a business all by my self. That's why America is so Great. Right?

      October 30, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  29. mike

    Sounds like government mucked things up a bit – cut funding, all the registration things, the business license. I do hope people see where Government can be a hindrance in creating NEW businesses. They didn't get into the taxing of the business issue. However the teacher was fortunate enough to get the non-profit classification. I wonder what she did for all the insurance things in getting them, paying them and showing they complied with Government regs.

    October 30, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • cw

      I thought this is what conservatives wanted... Smaller government? Now you're blaming them for cutting funding to programs such as this? You can't have it both ways.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:59 am |
      • brad

        I don't think republicans understand that, just like democrats don't understand that they are responsable for some things. The far right and far left are full of idiots. Thank goodness for the people in the middle that actually think.

        October 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
      • Joe Mama

        I know, right? It's got to be one extreme or the other. What other possible solution could there be? Life is only made up of extremes. Obviously this guy hasn't watched enough media programming to realize this fact. It's Ying OR Yang. You can't have both!

        October 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  30. Aware

    The City has a right to zone businesses the way it sees fit so that they don't become a problem for the neighborhood. Ms. Chiappe is a politician herself in Centinela Valley and was on the Board at one point. Don't be fooled. The business license fee is nominal and much less than the rent she paid. She chose not to pay it.

    October 30, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • dragonfire77

      Local politics are always nasty, and ALWAYS bitter, and NEVER civil. You think there isn't someone out there who has a personal beef with her and is willing to go to any length to put barriers in her way? If so, you've never looked closely at any local election. Local politics are the most bitter of the bitter, the most partisan of the partisan, and the most spiteful, and deceitful examples of humanity.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Hillary Rodham

      Agreed! Leave it to CNN to turn a minority who breaks the law into a hero. The media is so slanted. It is very sad. This woman belongs in jail with a hefty fine. BTW her class was cancelled cause she's a trouble maker.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:41 am |
      • WorldView

        Are you really so blind that you do not recognize the accomplishment and sacrifice of this woman and her class? What it (and she) did for her students and society. This is what is so puzzling to me about Republicans: They're annoyingly self-serving and so unwilling to look beyond themselves. As far as the media comment: You guys have your own channel and its the most biased thing out there. The media is not slanted. It just doesn't conform or cater to your wildly biased system of beliefs.

        October 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
      • brad

        You must not live in the real world. I bet her students, who worked hard and are going to most likely bring in more tax dollars then you ever will, would disagree with you. Also, as someone who wants less government, she should be your heroe, she stuck it to the man. (rolling my eyes)

        October 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  31. sir_ken_g

    Gee the republican'ts say teachers are worthless blood suckers...

    October 30, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Godlesscur

      No, teacher UNIONS are bloodsuckers. Teachers are fantastic.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:14 am |
      • FormerMarineSgt

        No – the Republicans say ALL unions are bloodsucking evils. Doesn't matter what the facts are, Republicans use them as scapegoats and pile all kinds of distorted half truths and lies upon these scapegoats.

        Yeah, unions have abused thier powers at times, but like sooo many of the scapegoats that Republicans use, the truth is nothing like the distortions and lies that Republicans have so convinced themselves of.

        October 30, 2012 at 11:39 am |
      • dragonfire77

        You're wrong about that. The GOP has said repeatedly that ALL public school teachers are useless, worthless leeches.

        October 30, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Randy R

      This is college, genius! My wife and I are both teachers and there are some good teachers and bad teachers. Unions are the main problem and wasteful administrators. We teachers are not perfect and we are not all democrats! In some cases teachers are the problem but almost no one thinks thinks teachers are the only problem in our broken education system.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:36 am |
      • Justin Beaver

        Amen for the good teachers. BUt we need to dump the bad ones holding on behind union protection.

        October 30, 2012 at 11:44 am |
      • johnt

        Randy – Good to hear perspective from the horses mouth... Thanks for chiming in with a bit of sanity

        October 30, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Hillary Rodham

      Looks like the Republicans are right. These so called teachers are overpaid problems who disrupt everything. You want some medical asst trained in someone's garage? Not me chica!

      October 30, 2012 at 11:43 am |
      • Carol Palen

        You are an idiot!!

        October 30, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • brad

      Don't know why you would be suprised to hear that from what is generaly known as the less educated side.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  32. LordJesus

    Well they could try craiglist and the you know what section where you can make tons of money

    October 30, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  33. MontanaTrace

    Is there a P.O. Box to send money?

    October 30, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Jaime S

      I mean, I don't have much money, but I can help in services from Networking to programming. how can we cantact this wonderful teacher?

      October 30, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  34. Hannah

    The people on this blog seem to debating government versus capitalism. Well capitalism is alive and well in the education system in our country in the for profit schools that are ripping off students every day. These students spend thousands more for school and an education that could be provided by government at a much lower cost, meaning that more people could attend. The privatization of our PUBLIC school system is happening and you won't like it when it is in place. The public school system that has served our country for a century or more was the great equalizer; meaning that everyone could get a good education. When it is privatized, some will be able to and some will not; if you can afford it you are golden, if not, you will spend your life flipping hamburgers at McDonald's.

    October 30, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • charlesmurph

      Well said, Hannah.

      October 30, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • eurekadog

      Rarely do we see an honest, open comparison of the ACTUAL costs between a public school and a private school. Even rarer is a detailed comparison of the costs to build and operate a new public school versus a new private school. A private school education, in general, will always cost more (to each enrolled student) than a public school education due to the differences in the funding stream for each school

      October 30, 2012 at 11:00 am |
      • Joe Mama

        Differences in the funding stream? LOL what does that even mean? Is that you way of trying to sound like you know why when you really don't know at all? Not disagreeing with the premise, but I just love when liberals whip out the sound bytes but never bother to understand the details. You can't fix something if you don't know WHY it is broken. If you want to change things, please arm yourself with knowledge. Repeating sound bytes from corrupt politicians will do nothing for you or your fellow Americans, only for those few who will truly benefit from the corrupt political agendas.

        October 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
      • AnotherMomma

        @Joe Momma: I know what a funding stream is. It's funny that you seem to belittle someone over this... Right! I have a special needs child in the state of FL. He attends a PUBLIC charter school for Autistic children. The funding or (funding stream) for his school comes for 4 areas – federal $, state $, county $ and private sector (tuition – think parents) and (grants – think Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation).

        Although what this teacher faced is different than what we are up against I can see a correlation in funding cuts. In our case in order for the school to receive federal funds, the kids all have to take the FCAT test. Forget the fact that 60% of our students are non-verbal and don't read. Out of the 100 students who attend the only thing that keeps the federal money coming in are 6 students who score 100% year over year. Because of the way No Child Left Behind was set up he attends a D- school. We may lose the federal money next year, meaning we (parents and advocates) are hitting the private funding stream extra hard this year for donations and parents may actually have to pay tuition.

        October 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
      • AnotherMomma

        @Joe Mama: Forgot to mention those sound bytes from corrupt politicians – you have to use them in order to strive for change. I meet with state and county leaders on a regular basis to help change the system. I don't feel it far to hold a group of Autistic children to the same testing standard as neuro typical kiddos.

        I do have to admit that my son and many of his peers take an amended test given verbally. But still, this is a 10 yr. old who can't follow direction to brush his own teeth... There needs to be change in how our schools are ran across the board. I'm not sold on privatization, the first group to open his school was "for profit". Trust me, they took every single penny and left the students with nothing in the class rooms and teachers without their last 4 weeks pay. As president of the PTO we divided what little we had in our funds and paid the teachers ourselves... Thank God a new group who really was in it for the greater good of community took over the charter or we would have lost the only place that's worked for our boy.

        October 30, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Mike

      Actually Hannah, with the exception of Private college. It cost more to edducate a public school child than it does in the Private sector.... almost 3 times more.
      For example, I live in Minnesota. The private education tuition for k-8 grade is $6000 anually per student. The cost to educate one student in the public system in the same city is $17,000 per year per student. (and they are asking for more in this years levy). Also, the HS graduation rate of the private education population is 99%. That same private population has a 94% College graduation rate as well. Compared to the public sector which has 71% HS graduation rate and a 52% college graduation rate. Since Minnesota ranks in the top 10% nation wide for testing scores and education rating every year. I can only immagine that majority of other states have worse graduation rates than ours in the public sector. How is our public education system better than Private? Its not!

      October 30, 2012 at 11:13 am |
      • dragonfire77

        You're comparing apples to oranges. You're comparing the 'tuition' which is only part of the revenue for a private school to the total cost of education for public school. It's a disingenuous comparison.

        October 30, 2012 at 11:25 am |
      • paul

        Well, when public schools are allowed to exclude students that are not up to stadards, and to kick out any student that doesn't continue to meet standards, then you can compare private schools to public schools.

        October 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
      • Greg

        No, you are assuming that the private school has additional funding, based on zero evidence. The reality is that the private school will be paying property taxes, benefits without the massive state overhead that subsidizes the school benefits, etc., so the private school is doing more with MUCH, MUCH less.

        October 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
      • Bloud

        Mike, I too live in MN and happen to be one of those parents that sent my children to a private school. You say that the average price to send a child k-8 to private school is 6k, well that depends on the school. Higher end k-8 schools are closer to 20k. To factor in the graduation rate from grades K-8 is a little premature if you don’t also factor in grades 9-12 which average between $12-$16k for lower end private schools. The number of children attending a 4 yr college from lower end private schools is not 94% but closer to 50%. The number of children from higher end grades 9-12 private schools with an average price tag of $25k or more, have a 94% or better college graduation rate. (School House Magazine) It has more to do with their parent’s economic status and their ability to pay for higher education.
        Public schools have many hidden costs that are not included in the private school experience which adds to their overhead. Here’s just a few: Counselors, Nurses, Parent liaisons, Special Ed, Language helpers, Psychologist, Security officers, Grief Counselors, Speech/Hearing/Deaf Specialist….. There is also class size: Public school = 35 or more students to 1 teacher. Private school = less than 20 to 1 teacher. The more they cut, the more students get put in the classroom with 1 teacher. Public schools receive their funding through property taxes, the poorer the neighborhood, the poorer the school.
        I chose a private education form my children based on class sizes and inner city choices. And the achievement gap that is running rampant in MN public schools is pretty much a non factor in public schools.

        October 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
      • Bloud

        Greg, you evidently know nothing about private schools and their funding. Yes they take in massive funds outside of tuition. The richer the school, the richer the donations. Unlike public schools which have had their coffers raided by state governments to fund other things and are dependent solely on property taxes.

        October 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
      • Chen Baishun

        The reason why, Mike, is because private schools won't take ESL (English as a second language students), and we are *required* to educate them under law. It costs more to educate an ESL child than a non ESL child.

        October 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Silly1

      No government has EVER been able to produce an equal product at a lower price than a private organization in a capitalistic society. However, splitting resources to maintain government and private organizations has proven to be the least effective and efficient method of operation.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:23 am |
      • dragonfire77

        Actually, it happens all the time. And no one who's ever worked for a large multi-national corporation would be so quick to extoll the virtues of the private sector.

        October 30, 2012 at 11:26 am |
      • InFormed

        You're funny. Corporations are even worse wasters in many cases! Privatization equaling efficiency is one of those nonsense metrics that know-nothing blow-hards often parrot back because they heard someone say it one time. The real metrics and numbers tell a different picture. Do you're research before mouthing off.

        October 30, 2012 at 11:52 am |
      • Greg

        I've worked for several large multi-nationals, and I have never seen waste like I've seen walking through any government building. Nothing is perfect, but private business has incentive to reduce costs. Government has not had such a driver, at least not until the recession. Ever growing revenues supported the bloated bureaucracy, and if things were tight, just raise taxes.

        October 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
      • Joe Mama

        I can list many examples of large, efficient private organizations. How many efficient governments can YOU list?

        October 30, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • P.Y.

      "The public school system that has served our country for a century or more was the great equalizer; meaning that everyone could get a good education." It was then...today in public schools so called "education" is not worth 10% of what we paying for it. and taxpayers paying more for it than any private school will dare charge

      October 30, 2012 at 11:31 am |
      • Chen Baishun

        They are paying more because they have to. Public schools educate students who don't get into private schools (ESL costs money, and ESL students usually go to public schools) while private schools don't normally take taxpayer funds. Some states do have vouchers, but those states also more heavily regulate private schools.

        October 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • RKT210

      I went to public schools, worked hard, earned a full scholarship, and now have a Masters degree and a very good job. Others, with the same opportunity ended up flipping burgers. They would end up flipping burgers either way. The success or failure of educating our youth is much more dependent upon the student and the family than on the schools. Students who want to learn will thrive anywhere. Students who don't will fail anywhere. The 'No Child Left Behind' act killed the schools, as they were forced to waste resources. The big problem? It's the crumbling of the American family structure.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • jeannie

      capitalism is the problem

      October 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
      • em hanes

        Then feel free to move to a socialist/communist country.

        October 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  35. Pete

    Rest assured after she succeeds, local, state and federal government will step in to tax the hell out of her business.

    October 30, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  36. PandoraDoggl

    Good thing we have all those regulations to make sure there's enough parking. I mean, I can't imagine how we could possibly expect a business to realize it needs a place for its patrons to put their cars if the state didn't have these rules.

    October 30, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • MontanaTrace

      How many students even have cars?

      October 30, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Tptlead

      Good observation. It is very important to have adequate parking, particularly if many of the students are taking public transportation. The majority of students in my father's pre-healthcare professional classes at the community college use public transportation.

      October 30, 2012 at 10:52 am |
      • paul

        Many of these municipalities are building shopping centers intentionally with too few parking spaces hoping to push people into public transportation! How does this jive with denying a permit based on not enough parking spaces?

        October 30, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • George

      May be if we stop forcing businesses to pay to build extra people, may be the cost of products would go down. Also, people might just take the train or bus if they don't find enough parking everytime they try. This would save people even more money. But nobody realizes that, especially our political LEADERS.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  37. Jerry

    Cristina Chiappe and students, ¡"Adelante"!

    October 30, 2012 at 10:33 am |
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