Parental Engagement

By Carl J. Petersen

Education issues as seen from a father's eyes.

The LAUSD's Failure of Leadership

The District’s School Board had years to prepare for Ref Rodriguez’ departure. So why were they caught flat-footed?

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Proposed LAUSD Board Resolution Would Give Board District 5 Representation

A plan by Scott Schmerelson would seat former Board Member Jackie Goldberg until a special election can be held.

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Silly Parents, We'll Tell You What to Look For

If the LAUSD wants to create a way for parents to evaluate schools, shouldn’t they ask parents to create the report card?

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Is This What Democracy Looks Like in the LAUSD?

Following the example of the charter schools that put them in power, the LAUSD Board excludes stakeholders from the decision-making process.

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LAUSD Board Member Ref Rodriguez Resigns. Now what?

After being victimized by an election tainted by fraud, the stakeholders of District 5 now have no representation at all.

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A Charter School Regulator Plays the Blame Game

The L.A. County Office of Education did not have a copy of North Valley Military Institute’s annual audit. Their charter was still approved.

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A Charter School Cheats, LAUSD Sleeps

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"Existing law prohibits a pupil enrolled in school from being required to pay a fee, deposit, or other charge not specifically authorized by law."

California AB 1575

The North Valley Military Institute (NVMI) is no stranger to the LAUSD’s Charter School Division (CSD). Just last November, the CSD recommended to the District’s Board that they should not renew the school’s charter. During the spring oversight visit, they failed the school in each of the four categories that they inspect, including an “unsatisfactory” rating for fiscal operations. Despite all of these red flags, the District still overlooked the fact that the school was “charging illegal summer school fees and unfairly compensating some students who have been working at the school because they could not afford them”.

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What Message Does Ref Rodriguez Send to the Children of Los Angeles?

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"My focus remains on my job and duties as a board member."

- Ref Rodriguez

It has been nine months since the news broke that LAUSD Board Member Ref Rodriguez was being charged with participating in a conspiracy that hid the true source of almost $25,000 in campaign donations from the public. While his lawyer claimed that the accusations were “much ado about nothing”, the District Attorney’s office felt that they rose to the level of a “Felony Complaint”. Through the use of legal manoeuvrings, Rodriguez’ attorneys have successfully pushed back his court date. Meanwhile, Rodriguez continues to sit on the School Board representing constituents that he is alleged to have defrauded.

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Aiding and Abetting the Killing of an Open Government

"And I would have made millions if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids."

- Villain caught by Mystery, Inc.

With multiple open investigations into alleged violations of the Brown Act, it is clear that the LAUSD School Board needs a refresher course on how this law works. According to LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin, the District’s General Counsel, David Holmquist, “is always present when the board meets”, so he should have been the one to raise a red-flag when the law was violated. Unfortunately, Holmquist seems ignorant of the requirement that “public agencies should err on the side of providing the public with more information, not less” and has declared that the vote did not have to be reported.

On June 5, the LAUSD went into closed session to consider renewing the contract of Holmquist. Before they did so, I took the opportunity to provide the following remarks during public comment:

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California Senate Candidate Alison Hartson on Education

California is firmly blue. Not only did the state’s voters provide 8.75 million votes for Hillary Clinton, all statewide offices are held by Democrats along with majorities of both houses of the State Legislature and 39 of the state’s 53 seats. Both U.S. Senators are also Democrats, although this has not always translated into progressive votes.

In 2001, Dianne Feinstein voted against the majority of Democrats in approving the Bush tax cuts. The state’s senior Senator also voted “to grant President Bush the power to attack Iraq unilaterally.” She “opposed the 1996 ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana” and Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill. Feinstein has also expressed “strong support” for the California Charter School Association (CCSA) and their efforts to privatize education.

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