Here we’ll address some of the key questions that are coming up in the press, at candidate meet-and-greets, and in the many, many mailers that the special interests are flooding our mailboxes with.
* * *
So, What Do You Think of Betsy DeVos?
Betsy DeVos, the new Secretary of Education, stands against everything I believe and have fought for in my 18 years in public education. She never attended public schools, would not send her children, has never worked in one. I am against vouchers.
I am a proud product of a public education. My three children are graduates of LAUSD. And the successes I’ve had serving on the boards of three different LAUSD schools are among my proudest and fondest achievements.
Instead of serving and learning, DeVos has donated millions of dollars from her family’s fortune to public officials. She then lobbies those same officials, pushing them to support voucher programs that pass public money to conservative religious schools. She earns a return on her investment when taxpayers foot the bill for these private institutions that she prefers.
More than 80% of our nation’s children attend public schools. These schools are the backbone of our educational system and the font of our future. They are our best and most essential avenue to success for an ever wider range of Americans. That’s why making public schools work has been my passion for 18 years.
Supporting the children, teachers and administrators at our public schools is a high calling and our most important mission. A mission Betsy Devos is utterly unqualified to fulfill.
* * *
Are you the Charter candidate, then?
I am not running on a charter platform – I support all public models. This is a big district, with a lot kids in schools reflecting many different working models – traditional, pilot, magnet and charter. This board needs to become EXCELLENT at supporting all kids, from all neighborhoods, in whatever type of public school they happen to be in. We need to be lean, fast, and respectful, and not allow our ideological predilections to drive decision-making that ends up hurting kids because they’re in a school type you don’t fancy.
Too much ink and hot air have been wasted on this issue. Let’s get on with it already. LAUSD needs a board focused on excellence, not politics.
* * *
Do you really think your experience on the board of a large LAUSD school is applicable at the giant LAUSD?
Yes. Absolutely. To understand, though, you need to turn the question around: What could be better preparation?
My experience means I’m the only candidate who has balanced a school budget. I’ve negotiated successfully with an arm of the UTLA. I’ve developed policies to help a real school run well in the real world. And I’ve reined in a dysfunctional, unfocused school board. These are the skills you want your next board member to have ALREADY developed.
Further, did you know that none of the current board members have children who have been through the system, as mine have? I will bring a fresh perspective representing the parent and student voice.