- Posted April 17, 2014 by
Porter Ranch, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Time For A Change
By Carl Petersen
The students, parents, teachers and other community members within the Los Angeles Unified School District have been trying to tell the Board of Education for years that our children are not receiving the education that they deserve. We have not simply offered them a list of complaints and demanded that they fix these issues, we have given them proposed solutions. In many cases we have simply asked that they get out of our way so that we can fix them ourselves. Too many times our voices have fallen on deaf ears and our district continues to fail.
At some point it is time to stop complaining and step up to the plate. For me that time is now and on March 3, 2015, I will run for the District 3 seat on the LAUSD School Board. Between now and the election I hope to not only earn your vote but to motivate you to become part of my team. Education is our investment in the future and we should all feel invested in our district’s success.
As a father of five, I have seen the best and worst in the LAUSD. Since two of my daughters are on the autism spectrum, I also have insight into the needs of educating students with IEPs and how the district is failing these students. Serving on the School Board is a chance to put this experience to use and give back to my community. My professional experience in planning, logistics and accounting and my degree in Business Management provide me with the qualifications that are needed to contribute to the mission of the board.
My priorities will include:
1) Giving stakeholders more access to the decision making process. The fact that board meetings are held during the day when working parents, teachers and students cannot attend is indicative of a board that has insulated itself from the community that it serves.
2) Moving control away from a bureaucracy downtown so that school communities have more input. Breakfast in the Classroom is an example of a program that many parents do not want but is still imposed on them by the district. If this type of control in not relinquished, many more schools are going to seek the charter school route.
3) It is important that we recognize the programs that work and duplicate them where practical. We must also become more innovative in finding solutions to the problems that plague our system. To do this, we must reward teachers who consistently show that they know how to get their students to excel and make sure that they are not burdened with rules that only serve to stifle creativity.
4) The current adversarial relationship between the district and the parents of special education students must end. We must also recognize that the process of educating these students in islands located within neighborhood schools is not working or even meeting the goal of giving them access to mainstreaming. Instead we need campuses that specialize in giving these students access to a cutting edge education. I would like to see these campuses combined with a magnet for “typical” students who would like to pursue a career in special education and related fields.
5) Tenure provides important protections to teachers. At the same time, we have all sat in classrooms where teachers have lost the drive that they once had for teaching. I would work with the UTLA to update the existing tenure system, find different assignments for teachers who need a change and end the wasted resources of “teacher’s jail.”
6) High stakes standardized testing is forcing teachers to teach our students how to take tests instead of giving them the skills that they need to compete in the global economy. These tests have become the goal instead of one of many ways to measure progress. Additionally, rules must be put in place so that any district employee that puts pressure on a student to do well on these tests is severely punished.
7) While the STEM fields are important, so is a well rounded education. If there is not enough time in a day to adequately expose students to all subjects, then we will have to look at ways to expand the school day. Adequately funding art and music programs is also essential for a complete education.
I look forward to hearing your suggestions on other ways that we can change our district for the better. Using the comments section allows us to promote a dialog. You can also reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.