If the photo on the front of the latest Monica Garcia flyer to hit your mailbox looks familiar, it is because it was the same one that the California Charter School Association (CCSA) used in its unethical campaign against Bennett Kayser. However, this time instead of falsely accusing Kayser of trying to stop Latino children from attending schools in white neighborhoods, they are claiming that “every child deserves the same level of educational funding no matter who they are or where they live.” (emphasis mine) This is just the latest example of how the CCSA and their pawn Garcia really do not care about reducing the achievement gap for the students of District 2.
As much as the CCSA likes to blame poor results on tenured teachers, they ignore the “evident correlation” that exists “between high free and reduced lunch populations and lower scores on standardized tests”. Contrary to the CCSA’s assertion, students from these areas do not need “the same level of educational funding”; they need more! Instead of wasting scarce educational dollars on charters that enrich their administrators, students in District 2 need programs that specifically target the effects of poverty so that they have the same chance of upward mobility. Diverting money to failing charters further reduces opportunities for our students, but the CCSA still fights to keep them open. Do they care at all about the students in District 2?
In District 4, CCSA affiliated groups are using $1 million of Dick Riordan’s money to convince voters that Steve Zimmer is unfit for re-election, claiming that he orchestrated the $1.3 billion iPad scandal and protected child molesters. As a member of the Board when these events occurred, it is fair for them to question Zimmer’s involvement. However, to do so fairly, ALL Board members, including Monica Garcia, must be held to the same standard. Otherwise, it is apparent that instead of looking to protect students, they are looking for a Board majority that will look the other way when a charter that they represent is raided by the FBI.
When assessing blame for the $1.3 billion in wasted iPad dollars that were diverted from projects “to repair deteriorating classrooms, bathrooms, removing mold, asbestos and other hazardous materials”, one has to look first look at former Superintendent John Deasy. He “was working on [the iPad project] before anyone knew that he was working on it. He was determined to charge ahead, pummel anyone in his way, and take his bows before a cheering crowd of admiring school reformers”, including the ones now backing Garcia. Also, unlike Garcia, Zimmer did not vote to promote Deasy into the Superintendent position. It should also be noted that while Zimmer took responsibility for his part in the debacle, Garcia has never done the same. Yet, the same forces opposed to Zimmer are financially backing Garcia. Do they not think that the students of District 2 deserve better representation?
While the press likes to write about how many donations Garcia has received, little is said about where these donations are coming from. To date, Garcia’s donors include 22 who list their address as Beverly Hills and ten in the Pacific Palisades. There are also many employees of various charter organizations, most of whom do not live in the District. The $224,439.54 in independent expenditures are being spent by committees whose addresses include Sacramento and New York. In other words, outside individuals and groups who seek to make profits using the students in District 2 – the very definition of carpetbaggers.
I am a parent, special education advocate and the Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2. I am endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action and Diane Ravitch called me a “strong supporter of public schools.” For additional information, please visit www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com.