Education issues as seen from a father's eyes.
By Carl J. Petersen
For the third time, Nick Melvoin is unable to get his fellow LAUSD board members to vote on a project that he has been working on for over two years.
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For the second time, Nick Melvoin’s attempts to change the LAUSD Board rules have been pulled from the agenda before a vote could be taken.
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LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner presented a parcel tax resolution without getting input from the public. The voters rejected his proposal.
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“Proceeds from the Tax shall be used for: lowering class sizes; providing school nursing, library, and counseling services and other health and human services for student support; providing instructional programs, school resources, and materials; retaining and attracting teachers and school employees; and providing necessary administrative services.”
- Measure EE
When the business interests opposing Measure EE state that the parcel tax will “compound the affordable housing problem”, I can not help but wonder how many of these same people also worked against California Proposition 10 in last year’s election. Had this proposal passed it would have allowed “local governments to adopt rent control on any type of rental housing.” This would have given local governments a powerful tool in combating the affordable housing problem and gentrification. Unfortunately, the nearly $100 million spent against Proposition 10 helped to ensure its defeat. As a result, most local governments in California are still prohibited from enacting rent control.Read more
- LAUSD Board Member Richard Vladovic
- LAUSD General Counsel David Holmquist
Los Angeles students are in desperate need of the funds promised from Measure EE. As noted by Dr. Rocio Rivas, “California ranks 43rd in per-pupil spending with an investment of less than $11,000 per student, which is below the national average of approximately $12,526. In addition, California is ranked 48th in class size.” As a comparison, in the 2014–15 school year, New York state spent $20,744 per student. Unable to rely on the state or federal governments to help properly fund our education system, Los Angeles must look to fixing the problem ourselves by passing the parcel tax.
- Jackie Goldberg
Backed by Jackie Goldberg’s overwhelming electoral victory, George McKenna and Scott Schmerelson revisited their motion from last August to temporarily appoint her to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board Seat vacated by convicted felon Ref Rodriguez until the votes can be officially certified. Despite the fact that the Brown Act prohibits the Board from coordinating their actions outside of the public view, it appeared from the outset of the May 21st meeting that the decision had made in advance as Board President Monica Garcia had already given Goldberg a seat at the dais. However, the Board had to hear public comment before taking the official vote. This is what I had to say:Read more
- LA Superintendent Austin Beutner
In the days leading up to the strike by Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) teachers, Board Member Nick Melvoin told parents that the teachers just wanted to “get it out of the system for a day or two” and then they would “settle on pretty much same terms that they started with.” What Melvoin did not anticipate was that hundreds of thousands of parents would keep their students out of the classroom and that many would walk the rain-soaked picket lines in solidarity with their teachers. As a result, the teachers won many of their demands that were centered on improving educational outcomes for the children of Los Angeles.
One of the outcomes of the strike is that in the coming years funding will be provided to ensure that libraries will be open in all secondary schools within the LAUSD and will be staffed with a librarian. Elementary schools were not included in the agreement because they are staffed with library aides who are represented by a different union. LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner was, therefore, able to hatch a plan that forced elementary principals to choose between libraries and other vital services. This meant that some elementary schools would see their libraries closed in the next school year.Read more
“This is a compromise, but we owe that to our children and the way that we can model compromise as a Board and as a community. Let’s not forget that the disenfranchised here are our students…If you don’t compromise it leads to this retrenchment and cynicism that then goes to this downward spiral and even more resentment and cynicism and disappointment, and that is never the source of progress.”
- LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin
Last July, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board had the opportunity to put a parcel tax on the regularly scheduled November ballot. Unfortunately, the California Charter School Association (CCSA) opposed the resolution by George McKenna and Scott Schmerelson, falsely claiming that “the proposal [excluded] 110,000 charter public [sic] school students.” Therefore, Ref Rodriguez (in one of his last actions before pleading guilty to felonious acts related to his campaign), Nick Melvoin and Monica Garcia voted against asking the voters for funding that was desperately needed by the students of the district.
Less than nine months later, Melvoin and Garcia had a change of heart. Perhaps they read the writing on the wall and realized that Jackie Goldberg’s impending election meant that the parcel tax was going to pass without their support. Or maybe it was the fact that Melvoin’s expectations for a quick victory in the January strike crumbled when parents and the community supported the demands made by the teachers. In any case, they finally joined McKenna and Schmerelson to take the steps needed to place Measure EE before the voters on June 4, 2019.
It has been 296 days since Ref Rodriguez pleaded guilty to felony charges and was forced from the Board District 5 seat. During this time, students in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board District 5 have had no representation. Considering the fact that their former board member’s crimes were directly related to his election, these constituents have not been represented fairly since the day that Rodriguez took office.
During the time that the LAUSD Board District 5 has sat empty:Read more
“There’s so much underfunding of special needs kids that school districts wrongly try to not spend more than they have to. Who does that help? Nobody! It’s a real problem. Every year, the district spends more on special education than it takes in. And that should not be true.” pic.twitter.com/fssNIxxdij— Jackie Goldberg (@Jackie4LAUSD) April 10, 2019
“Two of my daughters are on the autism spectrum. I’m an ed activist b/c of the fight that we had to go through to get them the services they needed. I support Jackie Goldberg b/c she’ll fight for my kids, and too often children like mine are left behind.”— Jackie Goldberg (@Jackie4LAUSD) April 9, 2019
— @ChangeTheLAUSD pic.twitter.com/cRt7pyv4qJ