What is your name and what office are you running for?
Carl J. Petersen, LAUSD School Board District 2
What are the 3 most pressing issues facing your district or city? Please prioritize them. What if anything do you plan to do about them if you are elected? What specific promises will you make to the voters in order to be elected? What will be your primary focus if elected to office?
1. The impending financial bankruptcy of the LAUSD: Programs like John Deasy’s iPads for All and MiSiS have drained resources from the District while it also hemorrhages students due to the unwillingness to compete with the charters. The incumbent brags about adding new school facilities but does not explain why this was done while the District was facing demographic shifts that would make these new buildings unnecessary. In the meantime, older schools still have drinking fountains that leach lead into the water consumed by our children. The taxpayers of this District need a leader who will provide proper oversight of the Superintendent to ensure that their money is actually spent on educating their children and not costly programs that benefit those who pay for her campaign.
2. A dropout rate that is still too high: If we want 100% of our students to graduate that we have to pay attention to each and every student. When the District pours all its efforts into preparing every child for college it ignores those who are on other paths. Vocational training must be reinvigorated and the Special Education centers need to remain a choice for parents whose children have moderate to severe disabilities. Without art and music classes the United States will lose our status as a leader in innovation. Our iPhones may be made in China, but they are still designed in the United States. Do we want to lose that too?
3. The unwillingness of the District to properly regulate the charters: When charters are able to cherry-pick the easiest to educate students out of the District it causes a cost imbalance that hurts all children in District run schools. Additionally, improper oversight has allowed cases like El Camino Charter High School where the principal was able to place charges for first-class airfare, expensive dinners and personal charges on a credit card paid with taxpayer funds. Even when caught, he was “punished” with a $215k severance package. Recently the LAUSD approved the renewal of a charter that even the California Charter School Association had rated as a one out of ten, was not providing required services to children with special education needs and had not reclassified an English learner in three years. For these reasons I support the NAACP’s resolution calling for a “moratorium on charter school expansion and for the strengthening of oversight.”
Should your district reduce the cost of services by contracting out or privatizing government services? Why or why not?
No, the District should not privatize government services. First, any actual cost savings would have to be high enough to cover the provider's profit margin. Second, while the entire focus of a corporation is to make a profit, the District’s focus should be on the students. The LAUSD is a bloated bureaucracy that has wasted money on programs like iPads for All and MiSiS. The solution is to focus on correcting the problems not lining the pockets of corporate donors.
Should taxes be raised, lowered or remain the same? What about fees?
The District does not have the ability to collect taxes. I have personally fought against the imposition of illegal student fees.
Do you support or oppose Common Core? Why?
I oppose Common Core, primarily based on its overreliance on standardized testing. I also believe that there was not enough input into this program by professional educators and this has made it a flawed system.
Who is your political role model or the politician you most admire? Why?
Instead of admiring politicians, I admire specific actions. Bernie Sanders has been very effective in bringing a new generation into politics.