It was a scene to warm the heart of any musician or stand-up comic. Alas, John Collier isn't an entertainer. He is a teacher, and this was his third period U.S. history class at Fairfax High School on the city's Westside. Forty-five students were shoehorned into a classroom designed for perhaps 30 -- and this on a day when three students were absent.
The impact of California's budget cuts has varied from school to school. Because of the patchwork of federal and state funding for education, some campuses have felt the pinch far less than others. But at schools like Fairfax, hard hit by the $6 billion in education reductions enacted by the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, this is shaping up to be one difficult year.
"I'm very frustrated," Collier said. "I mean, it's a good class -- it's an honors class, and the kids are really good. But it's unreasonable to ask me to teach a class of 48 kids and give attention to everybody."