Our mission is to engage, educate, and activate public school parents to advocate for excellent, equitable public education at their schools, in their communities, with elected representatives, and at the ballot box.
The promises made to these employees are false and empty promises, though, because LAUSD has not put aside money to pay for its benefits promises and simply cannot afford to pay them without the district either going bankrupt or drastically raising class sizes, laying off teachers and being unable to function in the future.
In fact, LAUSD is the only school district in the country on a list of top 10 government agencies that cannot afford its retiree health benefits. An Independent Financial Review Panel has called for immediate action to stave off this impending financial crisis, and the LAUSD Board will hear a second report Tuesday from the Independent Analysis Unit calling on the Board to set make the necessary changes to help pay its future benefit promises. The IAU report is clear that the district simply cannot afford to "pay as you go" for these promises that are increasingly coming due.
Despite dire warnings from financial experts, LAUSD so far has not demonstrated the political will to take action, and the district just seems to be hoping the state will bail it out so it doesn’t have to make the hard choices itself. Hope, however, is not a plan. And relying on others to fix your problems is not leadership.
Education policy has for years been set by an army of lobbyists, unions, special interest groups and politicians. But parents are the only people without any conflicts of interest, the only group with nothing financial to gain and whose sole goal is the success of our children.
This is why the LAUSD Board must act now to hand more systemic power over to parents.
While some things are admittedly beyond our control, this unfortunate situation obligates us to double down on our work to build parent power at LAUSD. Parents have no meaningful role in the decision-making process. Yet parents are the only ones who can speak 100 percent — without a trace of transactional prejudice — on behalf of kids. Now, more than ever, we believe it is essential to take action to fight to give parents a seat at the table.
But our job is not finished -- far from it. In many ways, it’s just beginning. Now that we have succeeded in electing a kids-first majority to the board, we need to follow through and make sure the agenda we worked for is implemented amid pressure from special-interest groups intent on perpetuating the status quo.
We must remain alert and ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice on behalf of our kids. We need to be tireless in our efforts to hold our new board members accountable to their promises to give parents a seat at the table and to make all decisions with the best interests of our kids in mind and at heart.