When you look at it on paper, it’s easy to think the two candidates running for LAUSD Board District 7 have a lot in common. They’re both women born and raised in the community, with strong ties to their Mexican heritage. But only one candidate actually has a solid plan for transforming our schools and is a proven leader who has dedicated her entire career to our students. That candidate, who has earned my endorsement, is Tanya Ortiz Franklin.
Ortiz Franklin has a clearly articulated plan for the future of LA’s schools. Her platform centers on six key priorities: College, career and life preparation; fair funding and allocation; community engagement, student safety and anti-racism education. She knows these four priorities are crucial to accelerating student achievement through her work uplifting schools as a leader at the Partnership for LA Schools.
The Partnership launched in 2007 as a collaboration between LAUSD, the City of Los Angeles, and other public and private partners. Today the Partnership serves 14,200 students at 19 of the most historically underserved schools in LA Unified including elementary, middle, and high schools in Boyle Heights, South LA, and Watts.
Ortiz Franklin leads professional development and strategic planning at The Partnership, working alongside teachers and community partners to create more equitable policies and practices at the schools they serve. Her work breathes new life into campuses using restorative justice, social-emotional learning, and arts programs. Having experienced that success up close, she’s ready and capable to extend that excellence to the rest of the district. Of her six priorities, the most important in my opinion are fair funding and allocation, and community engagement. LAUSD has struggled in both categories over recent years, and the fresh perspective Ortiz Franklin will bring to the board is much needed.
The outline of Ortiz Franklin’s plan shows her commitment to implementing responsible and equitable budget solutions that prioritize our highest-need communities. She also plans to aggressively seek local, state, federal, and philanthropic funding in collaboration with government, and business/community partners.
She also plans to consider all options for stabilizing the district’s budget, including district real estate options, creative campus configurations, and benefit choices for new employees. When it comes to community engagement, Ortiz Franklin believes in the importance of amplifying the voices of students, families, educators, and school staff. Her proposal includes conducting authentic on-going community engagement conversations including listening sessions, advisory boards, LCAP input sessions, and “backyard conversations” with residents so decisions reflect the priorities of each school community.
Ortiz Franklin’s style of community engagement is more important than ever as we near school reopenings. Moreover, her plan for “reciprocal learning” opportunities between schools and families will build shared understanding, reduce bias, and improve student outcomes.
We need more school leaders like Ortiz Franklin to bring a fresh outlook on the future of our children’s education – along with the practical skills to transform our most historically underserved schools in LA Unified. I view this election as an opportunity to bring a dynamic new voice to the board; community leaders such as Tanya Ortiz Franklin are our future.
Alma V. Marquez
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