By Dora Khoubian
The LAUSD Board election is an important priority for me and my family. The fear of what may lie ahead if Nick Melvoin is not elected on May 16 personally hits home with us. I currently have two children in the LAUSD school district. My daughter is in 10th grade at Palisades Charter High School, and my son attends Paul Revere Middle School.
We moved to the area to make sure our daughter would attend an elementary school that had small classroom sizes and heavy parental involvement. Our ultimate goal was to have our daughter move on to attend Paul Revere Middle School, knowing she was an ideal candidate for the Gifted and Talented Program. She had scored exceptionally well on the Standardized Test in the 3rd grade and had always excelled in all areas of academia.
We knew in order for a student to be eligible for the GATE program, she needed three years of high CSAT scores to ensure Middle School Honors classes. Looking back, we had no clue about what was transpiring at LAUSD and the ultimate fiscal crisis that battered our small elementary school in Spring 2010.
I will never forget the day my 4th-grade daughter came home distraught because she witnessed her favorite teacher break down in the middle of the class. LAUSD was in the midst of a fiscal crisis, and the least senior teachers at many schools were being laid off first. My daughter's amazing teacher had been at our elementary school for only two years. Despite being an inspirational and a compassionate teacher, she was let go.
My daughter was taught by various substitute teachers for the next two months. This was a critical time when they should have been taking practice CSAT tests and getting the kids prepared. Not having a consistent teacher in the classroom caused stress in the 4th grade class, and the average student score plummeted 100 points on the exam from the year before.
The experience came back to haunt my family when my hard-working and academically gifted daughter graduated from elementary school, and LAUSD told us she would not be placed in Honors classes. Her 4th-grade score was too low because of her time without a teacher, and although she did exceptionally well in 5th grade, she still would have to be placed in proficient-level classes when she entered middle school.
I knew as a mother that I had to fight to get my child placed at the appropriate level that would challenge her. I relentlessly hounded LAUSD, the middle school principal and the teachers she had in our elementary school. We got letters of recommendation and went back and forth with LAUSD for two months. Fortunately, with persistence and perseverance we won the fight. But we should never have to battle for our kids’ right to a proper education.
My fear now is for my son in the middle school, knowing that a fiscal crisis is looming again in 2018. I know the impact it will have on class sizes, campus upkeep and safety, keeping competent teachers and student outcomes.
My vote will go to Nick Melvoin because he has a kids-first Agenda. Nick has personal experience with the impact of fiscal crisis. Despite his success and competency as a teacher, he was laid off twice during the last recession. He has since fought to try to ensure that the needs of kids are put first when cuts are made. It is our duty now to help elect him to the LAUSD board so that his vision of a student-centric agenda comes to fruition. The upcoming runoff election can make a huge difference to students at all levels. That is why I am committed to getting as many parents informed, involved and ready to vote on May 16.
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.