The LAUSD Is Broken.

Will you join me in my quest to fix it?

Carl J. PetersenAs a father of five, I have seen the best and worst in the LAUSD. Since two of my daughters are on the autism spectrum, I also have insight into the needs of educating students with IEPs and how the district is failing these students. Serving on the School Board is a chance to put this experience to use and give back to my community. My professional experience in planning, logistics and accounting and my degree in Business Management provide me with the qualifications that are needed to contribute to the mission of the board.

My priorities will include:

1) Giving stakeholders more access to the decision making process. The fact that board meetings are held during the day when working parents, teachers and students cannot attend is indicative of a board that has insulated itself from the community that it serves.

2) Moving control away from a bureaucracy downtown so that school communities have more input. Breakfast in the Classroom is an example of a program that many parents do not want but is still imposed on them by the district. If this type of control in not relinquished, many more schools are going to seek the charter school route.

3) It is important that we recognize the programs that work and duplicate them where practical. We must also become more innovative in finding solutions to the problems that plague our system. To do this, we must reward teachers who consistently show that they know how to get their students to excel and make sure that they are not burdened with rules that only serve to stifle creativity.

4) High stakes standardized testing is forcing teachers to teach our students how to take tests instead of giving them the skills that they need to compete in the global economy. These tests have become the goal instead of one of many ways to measure progress. Additionally, rules must be put in place so that any district employee that puts pressure on a student to do well on these tests is severely punished.

5) Tenure provides important protections to teachers. At the same time, we have all sat in classrooms where teachers have lost
the drive that they once had for teaching. I would work with the UTLA to update the existing tenure system, find different assignments for teachers who need a change and end the wasted resources of “teacher’s jail.”

6) While the STEM fields are important, so is a well rounded education. If there is not enough time in a day to adequately expose
students to all subjects, then we will have to look at ways to expand the school day. Adequately funding art and music programs is also essential for a complete education.

7) The current adversarial relationship between the district and the parents of special education students must end. We must also
 recognize that the process of educating these students in islands located within neighborhood schools is not working or even meeting the goal of giving them access to mainstreaming. Instead we need campuses that specialize in giving these students access to a cutting edge education. I would like to see these campuses combined with a magnet for “typical” students who would
like to pursue a career in special education and related fields.