By Roberta Eidman, MPH. She is a community member and resident of Los Angeles interested in a healthy public commons and excellent public schools for ALL children.
The Deasy era was never really about Public Education. It was never really about the kids, or their parents, or the future of Los Angeles as a cultural and economic powerhouse (ha!). It was about advancing a pedagogical model that specifically caters to the investor class and entrepreneurs.
Unless the Los Angeles community pushes back, you can bet the LAUSD School Board and billionaire dabblers will select a New Supe just like the Old Supe. If Angelenos sit back and do nothing, we can simply watch public resources disappear into the pockets of Charter School operators, hedge fund managers and tech moguls.
For a start, Angelenos must refuse to accept behind-the dark-wall selections. The New Supe search must be public, transparent and vetted as to conflicts of interest or ethical concerns.
Short-listed competitors must be identified officially. I want to see them meet the public before the School Board votes. I envision this taking place in a public forum where the top candidates would be expected to respond to media questions and share their ideas with the public. I’d like to engage our Regional Neighborhood Councils as well Local Control Accountability Plan Parent Advisory Council members. (I have no interest in an internal LAUSD candidate. The existing culture is too saturated with past failures and corruption to be refreshed from within. Sorry, Cortines. )
Since I believe in true Public Ed, I want a candidate with experience in public administration, ideally with some actual teaching time. Since LA is diverse and complex, I’d want to know more about the candidate’s strengths in that arena.
The ideal New Supe is not in pockets of big vendors like Pearson, Gates, Apple – basking in their reflected glow. If the candidate’s district received anything of value from such entities, I’d want to know it came from grants which the district competed for and won fairly and transparently.
I’d do some Googling to see how high-profile events the candidate attends with privatizer types like Bloomberg, Rhee, Campbell Brown, Gates, Broad etc. This tells me where the true heart beats. Obviously, a professional has relationships all across the spectrum of thought – but balance must be preserved.
Last but not least: Specifically, how many educational and curricula innovations took place in prior posts – things like robotics, maker faires, arts education programs launched, etc. Let each candidate respond; let the community check it out. We have the tools, the blogs and the Internet. This is our city, these are our kids. We care. We don’t want another fiasco.