– Mónica García, 12/6/16
In the months leading up to the March 7, 2017, LAUSD election, incumbent Mónica García has made some questionable comments about the children that she is supposed to represent. For example, in March she suggested that students requiring special education services are not “our own kids”, excluding 12.7% of the LAUSD’s population. Then in September she said that “our biggest problem is that most of our kids, all of our kids, can’t read.” If this statement is true, then García has little to show for the ten years that she has spent on the Board. More likely, this represents her disdain for the teachers of the District and their ability to succeed despite the obstacles that she has put in their way.
As the City Clerk verifies petition signatures and qualifies candidates for the March ballot, García continues to suffer from foot in mouth disease. During Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, she publically said that she was “not sure” if she could “be a productive member” of the group after the other Board members expressed skepticism about Superintendent Michelle King’s 2016-2019 Strategic Plan. Curiously, she “voted the highest rating of five for the plan” despite proclaiming that she was “not sure” that “this strategy is going to get us” to producing “schools that work for kids”. Was the time required to produce a perfect plan keeping her from a task she considered more important; perhaps a meeting with EMILY’s List as they “strongly” court her for the race to fill the Congressional seat formerly occupied by Xavier Becerra?
García’s eagerness to move beyond the LAUSD Board may be the only plausible explanation why a calculating politician would make the mistakes of alienating the special needs community, saying that the students she serves cannot read and openly questing her productivity, all during an election campaign. Yet, even as she shows little interest in serving students she has filed to face the voters in March for a term that will last another 5½ years. Even if she does not enter the special election for the open Congressional seat, does anyone really expect that Garcia will not abandon her School Board seat for the first race where she sees a path to victory? This will leave the taxpayers footing the bill for yet another special election and the students of the LAUSD unrepresented as their Board Member tries to appeal to a different constituency.
The other Board members were unwilling to give King’s plan a solid approval because they saw that it lacked the “urgency” that is needed. Richard Vladovic rated the plan a two out of five saying that he wanted to “see the operational plan.” Mónica Ratliff expressed concern that the goals included in the plan were unrealistic. If García saw the students as more than stepping stones to her next office she might have also demanded more than a plan whose “simplified singular goal [is] 100 percent graduation.” It is not enough to give away “diplomas for all”. Students need an education that will prepare them for whatever path they will follow after they walk across the stage at graduation. This will mean more to them than the piece of paper that they receive.