If we accept the notion that education is the great equalizer, then we must demand that all children have equal access to education. This does not mean that we should expect that every student will have the same results. However, we should expect as a society that all children are given the opportunity to reach their full potential. Unfortunately, all of my opponents do not share the view that every child is worthy of an education.
At first, it may seem that Walter R. Bannister, who is also running for LAUSD School Board in District 2, is one of the “deplorables” unleashed by the hate-filled campaign of Donald Trump, but the truth is that he has been spreading his message of division for a long time. In 2012 he self-published a book entitled Islam Is of the Devil that declares “the truth about Islam is that it is a religion of war, that allows lying, and rape” and has Tweeted that we should “ban ALL nuslims [sic] from entering the US”. He has shown his anti-semitic leanings with a post that stated that “schools need to teach the truth that most slave ships were owned and run by Jews not whites”. He calls for eliminating “forced busing” years after these desegregation programs ended. He supports “charter schools over public schools” because “charter schools tend to suspend, expel, and force out more students than public schools” and “public schools have to take everyone including drug dealers gang bangers and other trouble makers.” Bannister does not seem to recognize that these “troublemakers” often have special needs or have suffered emotional trauma and that education may be their only path to avoiding jail or homelessness.
After ten years on the LAUSD School Board, Mónica García has learned to code her language better than Bannister. Instead of naming the groups of students that she opposes, she talks about the “people I represent most”, ignoring the fact that she is supposed to represent all 640,000 students equally. She says that she is “not about defunding special ed”, but then asks how this will affect our ability to “serve our own kids?” Why doesn’t she believe that she also represents children with special education needs? Her campaign continues to receive funding from the charter industry, even as the NAACP calls for a moratorium on charter expansion until “charter schools cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.” Her visits to elementary schools are themed with “celebrating the path to college” without recognizing that even students who are not on a college path deserve the attention of the District.
Every one of the 640,000 students and their unique needs should be celebrated by the LAUSD and they deserve better than politicians who use the politics of division. It is easy to condemn the bigotry of Walter Bannister, but the more subtle discrimination in Mónica García’s rhetoric should also not be ignored. I ask for the support of parents in District 2 so that we can ensure that ALL students are represented on the LAUSD School Board.