Taking Political Baby Steps

So, this happened last week!

At La Comadre, we want to make sure that our readers know we think it is critical to be actively involved in all aspects of education, up to and including the political component.  We want Comadres to understand how important it is to make sure that the right people are representing them and our kids.  In an effort to provide access to the politics of a local school board race, La Comadre has engaged in a project to promote voting and political participation.  We have a series of pieces, videos and community meet and greets that we are working on to promote civic engagement and participation in the LAUSD school board on May 16, 2017.

If you follow us on social media, you may have already seen a couple of our videos.  

Monday, May 1st, La Comadre held an intimate meet and greet for the candidates seeking to represent Los Angeles Unified School District 6.  About 25 members of the community showed up to meet the two women in the race, Kelly Gonez and Imelda Padilla.  

Each candidate spoke about themselves and why they were running for a seat on the LAUSD school board.  Neither candidate has a child in the district. Both candidates are long time stakeholders in the district.  Both are young and passionate and both are UC Berkeley alumnae.

A parent at the event told La Comadre that she was impressed by the passion in both of the candidates and has respect for their respective accomplishments. But she admitted to being more impressed with Kelly Gonez.  Mostly, she explained, because of her position on Charter schools.

Speaking to La Comadre, a parent, who chose to remain anonymous, said that Imelda Padilla seemed only to address Charter schools in a very harsh and negative way. Instead of finding issues to discuss, continued the parent, Padilla went on a “tirade” about how charter schools are failing kids and embezzling money from the district.  Some in the room were charter school parents.

“They should be talking about the achievement gap and graduation rates, and issues that affect our kids every day, not dividing traditional versus charter schools,” said another attendee.

At one point, Padilla addressed “the elephant in the room” and seemed to go off topic and her prepared notes in response to the question, instead going on about her opponent’s support from the Charter School Association.  Ironically, she also spoke about the reason she herself was a candidate, referring directly to the teacher’s union when she admitted that  “UTLA came to me and asked me to run for this seat,” Padilla confessed.

In contrast, Gonez simply listened to her opponent and did not attempt to engage in a debate with her about charter schools versus traditional schools. Instead, she focused on her work as a teacher in the area and her work in Washington representing the Obama administration. She also addressed the issue of the challenges and barriers that students and teachers face today.

Kelly Gonez said she wanted to “come together to work for the good of kids” and that seemed to go over well with many in the audience. All in all, the forum lasted a little more than an hour and a moderator asked each candidate the same questions, which had been prepared in advance.  As it turned out, the community assembled at the formal meet and greet expressed an interested in making the candidates accountable by discussing specific questions and would have preferred to generate the questions themselves.

What do you think?

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La Comadre

We are Moms, Tias, Ninas and Play-Tias who love children in our lives and we want to help every child succeed in school. Navigating schools and education—from preschool to college—is hard. We want to help each other with this.
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