First, GET OUT AND VOTE TODAY.
UTLA and LAUSD teachers won the battle but the long term endgame is still in play.
Remember that sea of red out in the rain striking for the good of our Los Angeleno children? Those were teachers represented by the union UTLA. In the most successful strike in Los Angeles in the last 30 years, UTLA managed to win some great gains for the future of school children, teachers and the education system within the LAUSD.
However, if we don’t elect the best candidate to sit on the Board of Education, the future of education for the children in LAUSD will be at stake. And that best candidate is Jackie Goldberg.
I talked to William Page, UTLA Chapter Head for TS King Middle School, Cluster Leader for 7 other schools in LAUSD, father, and teacher, about why its so important to get out the vote and vote for Jackie Goldberg in the run for Board of Education in District 5. Here are my key takeaways:
1. UTLA endorses her. United Teachers of Los Angeles endorsed Jackie with a 155 member yes vote. They are joined by many other unions and organizations including Political Action Council of Educators, American Federation of Teachers Solidarity Committee, California Teachers Association, as well as Entertainment Union IATSE Los Angeles Locals.
2. Experience. She has 16 years teaching experience, served two terms on the LA City Council, served three terms in the California State Assembly, served two terms on the School Board and has come out of retirement to do the right thing and hold the Board and the Superintendent accountable. Because of her experience she knows the inner workings of the school system, she knows where the money gets hidden and how its allocated, she knows how to analyze guidelines and can strategically bring to light the issues affecting LAUSD students with a savvy that only comes from experience. According to Page she is the only candidate willing to bring the fight to the Board of Education. As Page puts it “I don’t want anyone who is going to play nice right now, we have played nice for too long.” Page reminds me that LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner was rebuked by the Board just over a week ago for his lack of transparency. “Why would we back keeping a superintendent in place without checks and balances? She is the person to do this.”
3. Private Money out of Public Education. If the elections go to a run off like they are expected, the California Charter Association is poised to throw millions of dollars behind whomever will be Jackie’s opponent in order to support their agenda. This could mean the continued proliferation of charter schools (remember, the average charter CEOs makes hundreds of thousands of dollars that don’t go directly to the people teaching LA’s children), more over-occupied classrooms, and a seismic shift toward privatizing public education. With a charter funded candidate, we could lose all the gains UTLA got in negotiations. We don’t need more money backed agendas, we need someone who will put the interests and the issues of the students first.
4. Civic Integrity. Let’s put it bluntly: Jackie Goldberg is a badass woman who has always been on the right side of activism and history. She has a long history of working for democracy and equality in education. In the early 1960s, she emerged as a prominent leader in the Free Speech movement at Berkeley (see the picture of her standing on a car speaking to a crowd). She started her career teaching in the Compton Unified School District. Throughout the 1970s, she worked to promote racial justice in Los Angeles-area schools. Many of her students were low-income or spoke English as a second language, so she decided to co-develop and co-direct a model cross-disciplinary reading program to strengthen-important reading skills. This program successfully raised reading scores from the lowest achievement level to the statewide average in three years.
In addition to her work with and for students, Jackie has been an effective community activist. Jackie worked to start a trilingual neighborhood childcare center, an after-school tutoring and arts program, a food cooperative, and to secure a public pool and library for her local community. Her wealth of experience, creation of programs supporting communities of color, and activism are living proof she is the ideal candidate for this Board.
5. This guy. William Page was out on rainy weekends standing in the rain every day of the strike, chanting, dancing, and keeping spirits high for the benefit of children in LAUSD. He is a representation of why we need a woman like Goldberg back on the board.
Page spoke to me from home while looking after his sick daughter. He works tirelessly for her, and just as hard as a teacher for all the children in his school, and as a UTLA Chapter head for all the children in LAUSD. This is a special election which means lots of people will not bother to vote. If Page can stand in the rain for a week, go door to door canvassing on the weekend, then you can make the effort to get out and vote. Even if you don’t have kids, this election will be crucial for many generations of school children to come. Ask yourself: do you want to privatize the public education system when people teachers, parents and professionals have worked so hard for the benefit of middle and working class kids?
He says Jackie is the one for the job, I trust him and so should you.