Friday, November 16, 2012

Report from the second candidate forum in the second school board district: MONICA GARCIA STILL MISSING

by smf for 4LAKidsNews

16 November ::  There are now eight declared candidates for school board from school board district #2. Seven of us braved LA traffic, the darkness of night and the slight chance of scattered showers last night to attend a well attended community forum in the Pico Union/Koreatown  community.

Thank you to the Hosts and Sponsors and Organizers. The District 2 Neighborhood Coalition and CARECEN.

The was no shortage of ideas – ranging from empowering all parents to vote in school board elections despite their citizenship status to filing a lawsuit to challenge the Prop 39 giveaway of classroom space to charter schools.

There was, however, a shortage of incumbent Monica Garcia.

The candidates who have declared our intention to run – and are busy collecting signatures to go on the March ballot are:

  • ABELARDO DIAZ High School Teacher
  • SCOTT M. FOLSOM Parent Student Advocate
  • ELEANOR GARCÍA Aerospace Worker
  • MÓNICA GARCÍA Member of the Board of Education
  • ANNAMARIE MONTAÑEZ Teacher/Doctoral Candidate
  • ROBERT D. SKEELS Educator/Education Researcher
  • ISABEL VAZQUEZ Teacher/Community Advocate
  • MICHELLE "HOPE" WALKER Parent/Evangelist/Speaker

…collectively: The Monica Garcia is Missing Octet – because once again the Board President didn’t respond to the invitation and didn’t bother to appear. But hey, last night was the X Factor Results Show – and Thursday Night Football. (Bills 19, Dolphins 14)


Four years ago Mayor Tony used the strategy of ignoring his opponents to win his reelection for mayor. Monica has often been accused of letting the mayor do all her thinking – maybe that’s what’s going on now. Antonio, whose thinking has never been popular on these pages had a certain level of popularity going for him. Monica may be popular somewhere – but besides from the Mayor’s office and the boardrooms of Charter Schools and Gates, Broad, Walton and the editorial pages of the Dallas newspapers I don’t know where it is. 

If she was brash, overbearing, loud and successful it would be a different story – but successes have been few.  She has successfully gutted Adult Education and Arts Education and Class Size Reduction and Afterschool Programs.  She has successfully out-sourced Parent Engagement to Maria Casillas and Families in Schools, Inc.  The ®eform ®egime has successfully implemented the California Charter Schools Association’s interpretation of the Charter Law and Prop 39 to turn Charter Schools into a growth industry in LAUSD.  I suppose she and the two superintendents she+Tony have installed have successfully made Testing Job One – over Teaching and Safety. The Miramonte and Telfair  scandals were hardly successes, reporting abuse to the Sacramento not so good.

Tony+Monica’s education agenda was passionately opposed to the slow and incremental progress shown by the District previously – it was about urgency

Any success Monica can claim has been incremental…or illusory. Yes LAUSD has done a little better than the State of California – but we started well below the state. The gap narrows: incrementally. 

Monica at the First Debate
Monica at the Second Debate 

We contemplate an empty chair:

the candidate who isn’t there.

She wasn’t there again today -

Oh how we wish she’d come and play!

                              - with apologies to William Hughes Mearns

I have know Monica since she was José Huizar’s chief-of-staff.  I have never known her to shrink from a fight or fail to advocate for a position she believes in. She has a bit of Tony’s Energizer Bunny about her: ¡Presente!

She aggressively fought for the A-G curriculum/grad requirement alongside Maria Casillas back in the day – and won that fight on the PR and organizing front …only to fail to follow through in the actual work of implementation.

I’m sorry, but if you passionately believe in something and you are the president of the board of education you don’t let it slip between the bureaucratic cracks, distracted by bogymen like “bad teachers” or “bad parents”Tablets-for-Everyone or Race to the Top or Common Core State Standards (a misnomer of Orwellian proportions: these are federal standards “voluntarily” forced on the states, not by the feds but by the Gates Foundation and the textbook+testing cartels).  It isn’t bad actors  or Beaudry bureaucrats or the bad economy that undo A-G – it’s an absence of leadership.

A-G is proving to be a disaster – should it get actually implemented it will drive the Graduation Rate below 50% and the Dropout Rate off the charts. (I suspect that if Prop 30 failed A-G would've been thrown under-the-bus, probably in a vote last Tuesday – now we will have to see it though until next July 1st when ®egime Change takes place.)

Monica’s loud and oft-stated mantra has been A-G, College Ready and Career Prepared; 100% Graduation and 1o0% Attendance.

He own attendance to date has been 0%. Unready and unprepared.

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