Parental Engagement

By Carl J. Petersen

Education issues as seen from a father's eyes.

Allison Bajracharya: Looking to Fail Up?

Most recently, I served as a senior leader of a network of public [sic] charter schools

- Allison Bajracharya

As a “senior leader” at the Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, Allison Bajracharya was directly responsible for student outcomes. If these schools were proven success stories, her experience could serve as a legitimate springboard for service on the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board. After all, who would not want to take a proven model and apply it to public schools?

Unfortunately, Bajacharya’s record does not represent an unqualified success:

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Jackie Goldberg: A Chance to Reclaim our Public Schools

Jackie has a long history as a public servant with a passionate voice in defense of public education.

- Network for Public Education Action

When Ref Rodriguez pleaded guilty to felony charges related to campaign finance violations last July and was forced to resign from his Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board seat, he left the residents of Board District 5 without representation. When supporters of the California Charter School Association (CCSA) used bigotry to block Scott Schmerelson’s resolution to appoint Jackie Goldberg to fill the seat until a special election could be held, they ensured that this lack of representation continued. During this time, a charter school closed without notice, the police were called to question a kindergarten student, the School Board voted to make it easier for child abusers to enter the classroom, the LAUSD kept classes in session during the strike despite an admission that they could not guarantee the safety of certain students and the District signed a possibly illegal lobbying contract with a former state assemblyman surrounded by scandal.

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The LAUSD's Revolving Door Continues

"Kids First

- LAUSD School Board slogan


While claiming poverty, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is currently spending $2.4 million on the special election to replace admitted felon and charter school supporter Ref Rodriguez. The District’s General Counsel, David Holmquist, was asked by Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson to look into the “viability” of “bringing legal action against this enormous cost which was not [the District’s] fault.” Holmquist has yet to publicly provide an answer.

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The LAUSD Says: "No Voice For You!"

We are looking at our Board rules soon to make sure that we can hear all voices. Time of meetings and all things I think are valid concerns.

- LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin

One item is notably missing from the agenda for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Committee of the Whole (COTW) meeting that was released yesterday. As permitted by Article 3, Section 35145.5. of the California Education Code, the “Board Meeting Accessibility to the Public” resolution was submitted to the District on September 27, 2018. While LAUSD Board rules state that these items will be heard before the COTW, the resolution once again has not been scheduled. The Board Secretary’s office says that it will be heard next month, but they are not the ones that set the agenda.

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L.A. Schools’ Superintendent Attempts a Coup

The secrecy has got to stop.”

- LAUSD Board Member Scott Schmerelson


In a clear case of insubordination, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Austin Beutner has ignored a request for copies of contracts that the District had signed for four months. On at least one occasion, Beutner publicly promised to turn over these “confidential contracts” to Board Member Scott Schmerelson but did not do so until last week. “The consultants’ work was not disclosed”.

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Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) CFO to Leave Her Position

“Under her leadership, she has made important changes in her departments, which I expect will be sustained.”

- Debra Duardo, LACOE Superintendent

The Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) provides oversight over the 80 school districts within the county and can take control if it finds that any of these districts are in danger of becoming insolvent. Therefore, CFO Candi Clark caused a lot of alarm when she made a surprise appearance during public comment at a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board meeting last August. Her warning that the county was concerned about the District’s finances were seen as a vindication from an independent source that the LAUSD could not afford the union’s demands during the ongoing contract negotiations.

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Weaponized Journalism

It has been a great and very profitable partnership with David Pecker and the team at AMI over the last four years and we look forward to the next phase of growth.

- Austin Beutner

At best, the National Enquirer, published by AMI, is mindless entertainment for people stuck waiting in line at their local supermarket. While stories about aliens and other ridiculous conspiracy theories are harmless, their coverage about celebrities crosses a darker line. Intruding into a person’s private life during times of adversity to sell copies of a tabloid is bad enough when the stories are real. Churning out works of fiction using a real person as the main character shows a lack of any moral center.

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Failing Charter Schools and the LAUSD Board's Choice

Data doesn’t close opportunity gaps. People have to do that, so we now need people to take action.

- Carrie Hahnel, EdTrust-West

It is easy to blame a public school for failing to successfully educate a child. Teachers and schools make easy scapegoats in a society that consistently fails at addressing generational poverty, fails to support children with disabilities, and fails at balancing the need to nurture children with the necessity of putting food on the table. In California, we defunded our schools with Proposition 13 and are still wondering why these same schools are not educating children to our expectations.

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Coverage of the LAUSD by the L.A. Daily News: News or Propaganda?

This article first appeared on LASchoolReport.com, a nonprofit education news site covering Los Angeles schools and California policy and analyzing where the Golden State fits into the national conversation surrounding K-12 issues

- Los Angeles Daily News


Three weeks after Candi Clark, Chief Financial Officer of the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), spoke at a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board meeting, the Los Angeles Daily News was still describing her appearance as “unannounced”.  However, the facts tell a different story. Documents obtained in a Public Records Act request by United Teachers Los Angeles show that the text of a speech was created on a District computer registered to Cheryl Simpson, an “LAUSD budget official” and shared with Clark. Her appearance was definitely not “unannounced” as it is clear that there was some coordination with officials at the LAUSD.

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The LAUSD Superintendent's Web of Deceit

Test Two may be more daunting — namely, explaining why [Austin Beutner] put a scandal-plagued and #MeToo-accused former State Assemblymember on the district payroll as a lobbyist.

-Bill Raden, Capital & Main

Instead of meeting with United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) in the days leading up to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) strike, Superintendent Austin Beutner and Board President Monica Garcia were in Sacramento in an effort to “drum up lawmaker opposition to the teachers strike.” They were accompanied on this trip by Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (SRT), the son of “powerful L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (MRT)”. While not publicly disclosed at the time, SRT was there as a paid lobbyist for the District.

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