School’s (Not) Out for Summer

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Thanks to all the effective voices that made this possible for our youth!

– Mónica García, 12/14/16

LAUSDlogohighresDuring last week’s LAUSD meeting, the Board suddenly reversed course and abandoned a carefully compromised plan that would have slowly returned the beginning of the school year closer to its traditional Labor Day start. Without a warning to the parents who had been pushing for this change, they rejected the calendar that they told Superintendent Michelle King to craft last September and told her to start over again with the schedule that is already in place. After the vote, Board member García took to Twitter to thank “all the effective voices that made this possible for our youth!”, ignoring the fact that she had effectively silenced all other voices through her parliamentary maneuvers. Those who had celebrated their advocacy for change just a few months ago only found out about the reversal in the next morning’s news reports. Once again parents’ voices had not been heard during the deliberative process of the LAUSD Board.

García has been particularly active in working against voices that contradict her own agenda. When the issue of summer vacation came before the Board in September, she insulted the students of the LAUSD with her comment that “most of our kids, all of our kids, can’t read.” For reasons that she did not explain, she felt that those wanting to start the school year after Labor Day were somehow to blame for this perceived lack of accomplishment. In her arrogance, she did not see this as just a difference of opinions; only her view was correct and her opponents could not possibly care about the children. Never mind the fact that a majority of parents wanted a return to the traditional calendar. Does García believe that these parents are working against the best interests of their children?

This would not be the first time that García and the forces that she aligns with have sought to demonize parents who have sought changes to the way that the District is operated. Before John Deasy was forced to end his tenure as LAUSD Superintendent, he had “two reliable allies [on the Board]: Mónica García and Tamar Galatzan.” García supported the same Superintendent who celebrated a winning round in court by calling it “a civil rights victory for our students with special needs”. Who were the District’s opponents in the case? They were parents who wanted to preserve the choice to send their children to special education centers. Earlier this year García voted to continue this court fight after these same parents won a ruling in the Appeals Court.

In an effort to shut down opposition to his ill-fated iPad for all program, Deasy also termed this to be a “civil rights issue”. At the time, opponents were showing concern for the misuse of construction bond funds, the fact that the software was untested and problems with the bidding process. They were dismissed with the accusation that they were interfering with the ability to “provide youth in poverty with tools that heretofore only rich kids have had.” With any chance of a meaningful dialog silenced, glorified toys were prioritized over smaller class sizes and $1.3 billion in education dollars got flushed down a bottomless pit. When García uses the same tactics against those wanting to return the school calendar to its traditional start date, she eliminates the possibility of collaboration and providing the best possible solution for our students.

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I am a parent, special education advocate and a candidate in LAUSD’s District 2. Diane Ravitch called me a “strong supporter of public schools.” For additional information, please visit www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com.

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