Photo Credit: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-election-pictures-20150519-008-photo.html
I Move Forward With the Spirit of the Young, Celebrating Our Success, Aware of Our Needs.
On May 19, 2015, I was honored to be elected to represent the diverse communities in Board District 5 of the Los Angeles Unified School District. I am not going to lie, the last two years have been incredibly hard, but also incredibly rewarding.
Here is what I know… The LAUSD Board of Education governs a portfolio of schools that include options and choices that fit any student. We have the best (list not exhaustive) magnet schools, pilot schools, community schools, theme-based academies, visual and performing arts programs, dual language academies, affiliated and independent charter schools, and international baccalaureate schools in the nation. We have the best of the best in the State and in the Nation. We have a graduation rate that continues to soar, and young people who graduate our schools and go on to attend the greatest universities in the country.
But we also have places that face challenges and need incredible amounts of love and resources to lift them up to their potential.
We have a public that wants to see our young people succeed and who continue to invest in public education. We also have structural issues such as fiscal liabilities that threaten LAUSD’s ability to remain solvent in the long-term, an entrenched bureaucracy, unreasonable state and federal mandates, and a per-pupil funding rate that places California amongst the lowest when compared to the rest of the nation.
Here is our dilemma: The Los Angeles region is the land of innovation, the land of first-generation immigrants, the land of Silicon Beach, the land of world-class universities, the land of opportunity, the land where anything is possible.
We have to reconcile why we are a place of opportunity for some but not for all, YET. My colleague, Ms. Garcia has taught me to always say the word, YET. It is a powerful word because it signals to our young people that they will not be a victim of place and time.
I spend every day hoping that when I go to sleep, I have made decisions and taken actions that affirm that when we say all can succeed, ALL MEANS ALL.
Under my watch, LAUSD will not be the place where some will make it while others will not. LAUSD will not be the place where some have choice while others do not. LAUSD will not be the place where some win while others lose.
LAUSD must be the place where ALL MEANS ALL.
So as I move into the third year of my 5 ½ year term, I will continue to listen and try to understand those who believe there is only one way. I will also listen carefully to those who believe there is only one other way.
But in my Heart I know and in my Soul I believe that there is a third way. Our young people do not live in worlds that are “either/or.” They live in spaces and places that are messy and full of joy, and love, and angst, and possibility. They thrive in places where nothing is absolute. The adults live in places where “I am right, while you are wrong.” I yearn to be more like young people who are comfortable with nuance than the adults who believe that because “I believe it, it must be right.”
So I once again ask the Board, as I did when I was sworn in, to be UNIFIED in our quest to become the greatest district in the nation. We are the leaders who will create a world that has never been. A District that is excellent because we will work hard to live up to the expectations of those who are sitting in our classrooms today.
I affirm to those who voted for me on May 19, 2015 that your hopes and dreams for quality and excellence in all of our public schools will be realized.<<Click on the link below to read Ref's previous piece>>