It’s Time To Get Off The Sidelines And Speak Up For A Kids-First Agenda

It’s Time To Get Off The Sidelines And Speak Up For A Kids-First Agenda

There’s a reason this race is generating so much interest, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Zimmer, the current school board president, is up for reelection at one of the most pivotal moments in the district’s history. Because this is the last time a school board election will be held in March, the candidate who wins will serve an unusually long 5 ½ years-- the longest term a board member ever has served and likely ever will serve again.

Think of it this way: Parents with kids in kindergarten will be represented by the winner of this race until their children are in middle school. The decisions the victor makes will drastically affect the future of our kids’ schools and may determine whether or not LAUSD falls into bankruptcy and gets taken over by the state.

Read More

Speak UP Forum Jan. 9: First Joint Appearance For LAUSD BD4 Candidates

Speak UP Forum Jan. 9: First Joint Appearance For LAUSD BD4 Candidates

All four candidates running to represent LAUSD Board District 4 in the March 7 election will appear together for the first time at the Speak UP Candidate Forum in Venice on Jan. 9 from 6-8 p.m.

Read More

Trump's Choice Is Not Our Choice

Trump's Choice Is Not Our Choice

President-elect Donald Trump and his nominee for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos both support school choice, a key aspect of Speak UP’s platform, prompting some Speak UP members to ask, could this possibly be a good thing? The answer is, decidedly and emphatically -- no. And the reason lies in Speak UP’s other core values of accountability and equity for all kids.

There is a huge chasm between the kind of quality school choice that we have here in California and the type of unregulated and unaccountable choice promulgated by Trump and DeVos, the main architect behind the abysmal failure of a school system in Detroit.

Read More

My Transgender Daughter at an LAUSD Elementary

My Transgender Daughter at an LAUSD Elementary

Everything seemed to be going smoothly until “the note” arrived. A few weeks into the school year, Ally found an anonymous letter stuffed in her backpack that read (in children’s writing), “You are a boy, not a girl, get that thru your head.” This was very hurtful and upsetting to Ally. She tore up the note and cried, not understanding why someone would want to be so mean.

Read More

LAUSD Would Harm Thousands of Kids With Charter Denials

 LAUSD Would Harm Thousands of Kids With Charter Denials

Anyone needing evidence of the vast chasm between the district’s rhetoric and reality need look no further than LAUSD’s unprecedented number of charter denial recommendations that will be voted on by the LAUSD board Tuesday night.

Six schools serving 6,730 students are recommended to have their charters revoked, including LA’s top-ranked charter high school, while three other schools are being denied by staff their requests for revisions affecting 2,060 students.

All of the schools recommended for denial are outperforming nearby district schools, according to LA School Report, and none of the reasons for denial are based on student outcomes. 

Read More

Why Is The Right School So Hard To Find?

Why Is The Right School So Hard To Find?

When we explained that we had decided to homeschool for now, we were surprised to learn how many families had some of the same concerns and disappointments with their schools. Some of these reasons included lack of diversity, restrictive learning environments, indoctrinating instead of teaching, rote learning and teaching to the test. Some shared very detailed stories of the personal challenges their children were facing trying to fit into a rigid learning model that just did not take into account their personal learning needs. While their concerns and disappointments varied, they all had one thing in common. They felt they had no great options.

Hearing these stories time and time again struck a chord with me. Why were there so few “alternative” education options for families? Why was the traditional “factory-style” education model still the most used but yet the least effective education model being practiced in public schools?

Read More

It’s Not Just Special Needs Kids Who Benefit From Inclusive Schools Like WISH

It’s Not Just Special Needs Kids Who Benefit From Inclusive Schools Like WISH

When you hear about “inclusive” schools, you hear about the massive benefits they have for kids with special needs. While the importance of that cannot be overstated, there is an equally profound impact on typical students without special needs – like mine – that is often overlooked.

Their entire attitude toward people who are different from them was shaped by the values instilled by WISH, and it has carried over to the rest of their lives. 

Read More