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MY PRIORITIES

Small Class Sizes
Smaller class size are essential to increasing student achievement. As a 27-year teacher who had classes with as many as 50 students, I can tell you firsthand the high student-to-teacher ratio makes learning more challenging. Full state funding must be provided for class-size reduction, including funding for adapting older or under-enrolled schools, instead of selling properties. I will continue to advocate for class-size reduction with state and federal lawmakers and to make real the goal of smaller class sizes in strong neighborhood public schools.

Strong Neighborhood Public Schools
Every public school should have the resources to meet the needs of all students. Our LAUSD schools must be fully staffed with well-trained teachers, full-time counselors, psychiatric social workers, librarians, nurses, supervision aides, and paraprofessionals.

Equitable, Sustainable Funding
As a teacher, I have witnessed the impact that crowded classrooms and insufficient support services have on my students. Our LAUSD public schools have been deprived of funds for decades. Fixing this inequity requires focus and a collective fighting spirit. California is the 5th largest economy in the world, yet we are 33rd in the U.S. for per-pupil funding. This must change. Because I know the impact firsthand, I can speak personally and passionately to lawmakers AND voters to close loopholes in tax policy and to corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. Only then will public schools and other public institutions have the resources to serve all Angelenos.

Making Up Learning Loss
The COVID-19 pandemic was a huge setback for many students, especially the most vulnerable learners. Its effects will take years to overcome. While LAUSD has invested in online and in-person tutoring for the lowest performing schools, it must do more. Teachers deserve flexibility to create individualized approaches to meet the needs of their students. One-size-fits-all, top-down LAUSD initiatives will not solve the problem of learning loss. Targeted instructional interventions and support services can.

Reimagining School Safety
All students deserve to learn in a safe and healthy environment. We must keep firearms and weapons out of schools and away from campuses. Implementing safe storage means getting handguns into gun safes and keeping them out of kids’ hands. At school when conflicts arise, the shift to non-violent problem-solving is smart and effective in saving lives and preventing injuries. This priority also breaks the school-to-prison pipeline, which incarcerates Black and Latino boys and men and begins with criminalizing kids. Universal restorative justice programs belong in all schools. That means safe-passage programs and rigorous training for school climate advocates who can preempt crises and pro-actively interrupt and manage conflicts without calling 911 or the sheriff. I will continue the shift away from policing and toward holistic school safety, de-escalation, and restorative justice.

Green Space & Environmental Justice
For three decades, I have witnessed how green spaces significantly benefit children’s physical, mental, and social development. Most students in L.A. live in park-deprived neighborhoods. That’s why school campuses need to be green, with more shade and less asphalt and concrete. The School Board has set the goal of 33 percent green campuses by 2035. But this is not enough. I will push relentlessly to increase funding for green campuses, speed up the conversion, and accelerate the goals so more students experience the benefits more quickly. Residents of Board District 5 bore the brunt of the Exide disaster. The LAUSD Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) played a role in reporting the severity of the crisis after detecting setbacks in student development due to lead and arsenic poisoning. I will protect students from life-depleting pollution threats and engage residents and every level of government to redress contamination that treats the health and survival of Eastsiders as expendable. Green space, clean air, and clean water are human rights that I will fight to fulfill.

Student Mental Health
The COVID pandemic both caused and revealed problems in students’ social-emotional wellbeing. Mental health services are essential, yet investment and skilled staff are lacking at most school sites. I will fight to ensure all students and families in all campuses have access to qualified psychiatric social workers and mental-health resources.

African American Student Achievement
I will protect and defend the rights of Black students to receive an equitable education in a safe, welcoming, and affirming learning environment. Continuing the professional development of teachers and school leaders on how to meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of Black students is essential. Another goal worth investing in is the preparation, cultivation, and mentoring of culturally relevant educators. I support investment in counseling and mental-health services to address racial trauma and its impact on Black students and educators.

LGBTQ+ Equity
As an openly gay teacher for more than 30 years, I will be a strong, outspoken voice for the health, safety, and human rights of LGBTQ+ people. I will bring this representation to the School Board, which might otherwise lose it with the retirement of Jackie Goldberg. She blazed trails as a person, teacher, public servant, and Californian. I am proud to count her as an inspiration and adviser. Experience matters. So does leading by example. I worked to eradicate denial, stigma, false and dehumanizing narratives, bullying, and discrimination in every one of my schools. These scourges have NO place in our classrooms or campuses. It is my mission to make ALL our schools welcoming, supportive, inclusive, respectful, and safe spaces for learning for LGBTQ+ students.

Charter-School Accountability
Charter schools must operate with transparency, equity, and accountability. I will apply commonsense standards to ensure that charter schools meet these expectations. The pattern of fraud, money laundering, and self-enrichment by some charter-school operators hurts all kids and local communities who need every dollar devoted to classroom learning. Basic standards of openness, nondiscrimination in selection and retention of students, and good governance are essential to restoring trust of parents and the public. Protecting the rights of charter-school teachers, students, and families from malfeasance, exclusionary tactics, and unscrupulous misconduct requires better oversight of district charter schools.

Fulfilling the Promise of Special Education
I will advocate for the full funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to provide more effective services and expand opportunities for special-education students.

Early-Childhood Education
I have witnessed the decisive impact of Early Education opportunities for students, families, and communities. The immediate and long-term cognitive benefits of a high-quality early education, including preschool and transitional kindergarten (TK) are indisputable. I will insist on funding and access to early education for all students.

Adult Education
Having taught in adult schools, I know the bridge to satisfaction and productivity they furnish to both immigrant and native-born learners. The patience and skill of adult teachers are a precious resource to their students and our school district. Yet they are often ignored or forgotten, despite the value they deliver. Adult educators deserve a champion on our School Board. I will be that advocate and keep the promise to adult education.

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