While the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) likes to pretend that all students will graduate high school and advance to college, this is an impossible goal for students with severe special education needs. Fortunately, under California law, school districts must continue serving these students until they reach the age of 22 so that they are given the opportunity to reach their full potential. One of the options for young adults who have finished the high school alternative curriculum is the Career and Transition Centers (CTC) that are located throughout the District.
If there is one man who pushed me on the path towards atheism, it was Randall Terry. As a forerunner to the violent right that we see today, Terry founded the group Operation Rescue to physically deprive women of their rights at health care clinics. As a volunteer escort, I was regularly punched, pushed and shoved by the members of these mobs as they tried to enforce their own form of sharia law. Terry himself was charged with assaulting me outside a health care clinic in Downtown Los Angeles.
During my first run for the LAUSD School Board, I was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times (LAT) Editorial Board as they considered who they would endorse. Unfortunately, this discussion devolved into an argument over my support of the opt-out movement for standardized testing. I had explained that one of the reasons that my wife and I had decided to exercise our rights under the state education code and exempt our children from taking these tests was the unnecessary stress it imposed on students. A member of the Editorial Board accused me of hypocrisy as I had also allowed my children to choose to take AP tests. She was unswayed by my argument that since the payoff for undergoing the stress of taking an AP test was possibly receiving college credits, the stress of taking that test was an acceptable cost. To her, stress was a necessary part of life and she did not see a reason why children should be protected from it.
The LAUSD School Board took the rare step of considering the denial of a charter school’s renewal during their April 2, 2019, “special” meeting. In reviewing the hundreds of pages of documents supporting this recommendation, it was clear that the Community Preparatory Academy (CPA) has been in trouble since it was opened five years ago. During public comment I summarized the worst of their offenses for the Board:
I listened to the small talk as people slowly filled in around the conference table and wondered to myself how many other people actually realized what was going on. If the seemingly random makeup of the people in this surprise meeting was not enough of a clue, the stack of large envelopes, the presence of the newly appointed head of the company from our new parent company and the stranger that accompanied him should have been. My streak of 31 years of employment, 14 years with this company, was about to come to an end.
While the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board has promised for years to address complaints about difficulties that parents and other members of the community face when trying to participate in school board meetings, it took a member of the public using the education code to place an item on their agenda for it to finally be addressed. At Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, the Board heard from parents who supported the “Board Meeting Accessibility to the Public” resolution before discussing the item. As the person who brought forward the proposed resolution, I was given the opportunity to speak first: