Tuesday, April 14, 2009


“You have heard from Jackie Goldberg and John Mockler;  you have heard from teachers and parents and student. Listen to them.”

smf to the Board of Ed at the April 14th Meeting

Members of the Board of Education, I speeak today as Vice President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTA and I bring the greetings of Thirty-first District. Together we represent the entirely of PTA in LAUSD.

I am here in support of the rescission of the layoff notices, it's a good start.

I am here to thank the superintendent and this board for wisely postponing the budget decision process for the past two weeks and inviting public and private dialog with the bargaining units, parents and other stakeholders.

Perhaps - surprising from me - I want to thank Mayor Villaraigosa, President Garcia and Vice President Flores-Aguilar for engaging in some of that public conversation yesterday morning at John Liechty Middle School. I wish the superintendent and all of you could've been there. And I wish the conversation had taken place earlier than the thirteenth day of the two week extension.

I am following Thumper's father's excellent advice here, trying to say nothing If I have nothing nice to say.

There's not much nice to say about this budget - certainly not three minutes worth. It shortchanges and misserves the children of Los Angeles. It fails to realize the intent of the federal stimulus package which is to retain and create jobs.

The rescission of pink slips impacts elementary schools and elementary teachers - but leaves secondary high, dry and exposed.. It eliminates the dropout prevention program. Secondary RIF's , bumping and cuts to counselors and staff will doom Small Learning Communities, Personalized Learning Environments, Small Schools and A though G -- programs that will fall like dominoes without support. Elimination of PSA Counsellors and the Office of Government Affairs takes away programs that don't just save money ….they make money!

The unintended and anticipated consequences of Class size Increases will vacate classrooms. Class size increases will drive parents and children to form charter schools to occupy those classrooms. Who could blame them?

Safety will be compromised as you reduce maintenance. Reduced maintenance will create more need for repair and replacement; the Q Bonds will not last the ten years they're supposed to.

I'm not here today advocating for programs or jobs, I'm advocating for kids.

I write weekly about this district, most of you read what I write. I am critical when I find fault and I try to support when I find good - what I write are Love Letters to the Promise of Public Education in this very challenging environment in these very challenging times.

Last week I got a reply from a reader who's not a parent or a teacher or a district employee. She writes: "I wish LAUSD the best and hope that someday as the 2nd largest district, they will stand second to none.   Until then, keep up the good fight."

Board members, the fight is not with you - this call to arms is to please fight the good fight alongside us.

Do the right thing for kids. And today the right thing is not to proceed with the vote but to proceed with the dialog, and the discussion.

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