Vote for a new LAUSD

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! THE Los Angeles Unified school board election on March 6 isn’t so much about the individual candidates running for the three open seats. In a larger sense, it’s a referendum on the very state of education in Los Angeles. That’s why Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is leading the battle to reform the change-resistant district, is backing a slate of candidates. He knows that, at this point, tossing out the status quo is the only chance for meaningful improvement in a district headed for disaster. On one side in this election is the anti-reformist school board. These guardians of the bureaucracy have beaten back every attempt at reshaping education in Los Angeles, even as the public’s faith in the LAUSD has eroded. On the other side is a slate of innovative, energetic challengers who know that things must change before the LAUSD can improve. In the San Fernando Valley, this fight for reform comes down to the choice between incumbent Jon Lauritzen and his strongest challenger, Tamar Galatzan. And how goes this particular race may indeed influence the larger struggle over reform. Lauritzen is not a bad guy – he and his family have a long tradition of teaching at Valley schools. But his tenure on the board of education hasn’t been good for the schools. In fact, this lackluster board member has actively resisted the empowerment of community members and has sought to squash the charter-school movement that the district’s lethargy inspired. Galatzan is one of three school-board candidates backed by Villaraigosa’s education-reform movement, which gives her a real shot at winning the seat despite Lauritzen’s backing from the powerful teachers union. But even separate from her patronship, Galatzan is simply a better candidate than Lauritzen. As a deputy city attorney with the neighborhood prosecutors program and the wife of Valley Industry and Commerce Association President Brendan Huffman, Galatzan is no outsider to Los Angeles politics. Nor is she a stranger to the LAUSD. A graduate of Birmingham High School, she will soon be sending her two young sons to LAUSD campuses. Galatzan has a real stake in improving public education in Los Angeles, unlike Lauritzen, who acts as though his only stake is in preserving the status quo. Two other challengers who support the same sort of reform as Galatzan are Yolie Flores Aguilar, who is running to represent the Northeast district of outgoing member David Tokofsky, and Johnathan Williams, who is challenging incumbent Marguerite LaMotte to represent South Los Angeles. These three candidates represent a bright future for the LAUSD. We strongly urge a vote for them – and for school reform – on March 6.last_img

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