By Rocki Davidson
I’m a mom of 5-year-old twin girls who are in two different LAUSD schools in Westchester. One goes to Open, which is both a magnet and a district affiliated charter. The other didn’t get into Open this year and attends our neighborhood school, Westport Heights.
The differences between these schools are undeniable, and it’s not just reflected in student test scores. When it comes to parent involvement, staff morale and even general facilities cleanliness, Open is in a completely different universe and provides a special environment for learning and nurturing the kids.
Another big difference is the library. Open has someone staffing the library. At Westport Heights, the library is closed. It has been closed since the school year started. The librarian is missing in action, and no one is there to staff it.
The parents are not allowed to volunteer to keep it open for our kids because of some bureaucratic labor rule that prevents the library from opening without paid library staff. So all the kids at Westport Heights have been without a library the entire school year. They can’t read or borrow the books or even study in the library space that’s in the heart of their school.
It’s tragic, and the ones that suffer are the students that attend the community school.
I am supporting Nick Melvoin for school board because he puts the needs of kids first and doesn’t want to let bureaucratic rules stand in the way of our kids getting a great education. He welcomes help from parents so they can improve our neighborhood schools and help them compete with schools that have more autonomy.
Years ago, the Westchester/Playa Educational Foundation fought for all our Westchester schools to have more autonomy from these bureaucratic rules that only hurt the kids, but our LAUSD School Board President Steve Zimmer ripped that autonomy away.
Next year, I am moving both of my kids to Open. Is it any wonder so many families are choosing to leave the neighborhood schools for environments where the needs of kids come first? If we want to save our community schools, we need to elect a board member on May 16 who understands why families are voting with their feet.
Paid for by Speak UP - Supporting Nick Melvoin for School Board 2017 (Nonprofit 501(c)(4)), 528 Palisades Drive #186, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. Major funding provided by Megan Chernin. This advertisement was not authorized by, paid for by or coordinated with a candidate for this office or a committee controlled by a candidate for this office. Additional information is available at ethics.lacity.org.