Thursday’s Los Angeles Times headline reads “New LAUSD board has its first meeting today, with charter school backers in the driver’s seat.” However, we at La Comadre would like to challenge the LA Times and other news outlets to avoid further divisive labeling of the new and current leadership at LAUSD. The headline could easily forego the latter part of the title and simply refer to the new board as, well, the new board members. That said, the article goes on to report on the board’s new direction and the changes in leadership roles that were ratified at Thursday night’s meeting.
I should note first that Superintendent, Michelle King, was granted an extended contract by the outgoing board in June by a vote of 6-1, thus solidifying her stay until at least 2020. Last night, Kelly Gonez and Nick Melvoin were sworn in for their first terms, and the district bid adieu to Steve Zimmer as Board President and elected Dr. Ref Rodriguez as the new Board President of the LAUSD. All have vowed to do what is in the best interest of the children of the district. In fact, he offered his Kid’s First resolution saying as much during the meeting and it was ratified unanimously.
To date, Dr. Rodriguez has done an excellent job representing his district and the entire district, despite the fact that he is the founder of one of the largest and most successful charter school programs in the district. If nothing else, he has shown that there can be balance in representation and that the district needs have come first We congratulate Dr. Rodriguez and wish him the best of luck in his new role in leading the Board of Education.
Sadly, UTLA leadership cannot help themselves and offered this gem on the occasion,
“We expect the new school board members to represent all students and build the civic institution of public education, not tear it down,” said Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of United Teachers Los Angeles. “While we hope the new board members understand this, we also know who bought the last election, and we know the battle ahead to get the schools our students, educators and communities deserve. We’re ready to continue that battle.” Not exactly the most welcoming message, but after all, the former board was the most divisive UTLA leadership in recent memory, so I suppose this rhetoric par for the course.
Regardless, we have great hope for LAUSD with its new leadership, and we will be monitoring the new board’s progress very closely to keep our Comadres apprised of the changes at LAUSD.
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