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.
Parents who worked hard to elect a new kids-first majority to the LAUSD Board congratulated the new and returning members sworn in earlier this month -- Nick Melvoin, Kelly Gonez and Monica Garcia -- in this Speak UP video tribute. We also spoke in depth to Kelly Gonez, the newly elected representative for Board District 6, about her priorities for the district and the ways Speak UP members can help. Her message to parents: “The most important thing is to hold us accountable.”
They cheered. They celebrated. After months of knocking on doors, calling voters and mobilizing their fellow parents and friends, Speak UP parents welcomed new Los Angeles Unified School Board member, Nick Melvoin - the candidate they helped to elect. Like Melvoin, newly-elected Kelly Gonez and incumbent Monica Garcia, were sworn in as LAUSD board members during a ceremony last week in downtown Los Angeles.
Speak UP extends its congratulations to Allison Holdorff Polhill, who has joined the staff of newly elected District 4 Board Member Nick Melvoin as Senior Adviser and Director of Community Engagement.
“I heard a lot from parents and voters, especially in the primary, that they wished they could have both Allison and me on the board,” Melvoin told Speak UP. “This seems to me like the perfect way to do that. She will be the first line of response when it comes to parent concerns.”
Polhill, who ran as a primary candidate for the BD4 board seat, most recently served as Director of Strategic Initiatives and Outreach for Speak UP, where she was highly successful in convincing her primary supporters and parents at schools in Pacific Palisades to vote for Melvoin in the run-off.
“I am honored and thrilled to be working with Nick,” Polhill told Speak UP. “I am looking forward to seeing all the amazing things that he is going to do with LAUSD.”
Newly elected board members, Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez, will be sworn in at the Annual Board of Education meeting on July 6 at 10 a.m. A reception will immediately follow at 11 a.m.
We spoke to Nick Melvoin, the new Board District 4 representative, who will be sworn in next Thursday. The civil rights activist and former teacher with a ‘Kids First’ agenda said he is ready to roll up his sleeves to fight for good quality education, regardless of a student’s zip code.
It’s been a long and contentious election season, but there’s been one inspiring, unsung aspect that sets this election apart from any other school board race we have seen in Los Angeles: Speak UP members have created a powerful grassroots movement of parents rising up to demand change on May 16.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, we want to celebrate our Speak UP moms from all kinds of LAUSD schools – traditional neighborhood schools, charters, pilots, magnets and dual language immersion schools – who have joined together to knock on doors and call voters to get out the word about Nick Melvoin and his kids-first agenda.
Mothers make all kinds of sacrifices for their kids, and Speak UP moms have given up countless weekend and evening hours with their own kids in order to help create positive change in the lives of all kids in Los Angeles. We are in awe.
And now we need to finish the job by getting out the vote for Nick and by going to the polls ourselves to cast our votes on Tuesday.
I want a board member that will combat this animosity and the “us-versus-them” attitude the board has adopted. I want a board member that will work to regain the trust of parents and stakeholders in public education. Unpredictability is the albatross of our profession. Yet, it seems to be the only constant. I believe Nick Melvoin will demonstrate the consistency and predictability public schools crave through transparency, collaboration and innovation that will regain public trust in LAUSD.
A whole lot of children on this planet don’t even get to go to school, let alone know the difference between “charter” and “traditional.” A school is a school. I’m tired of the us-versus-them policies of LAUSD. That’s a distinction that gets far too much attention, taking away time and effort from other issues that matter more to children.
Attrition out of traditional LAUSD schools is not being stopped by LAUSD’s practice of pinching charters into difficult and uncertain conditions. It’s a failed policy. You can’t use negative tactics to achieve a positive outcome. The key to maintaining enrollment in LAUSD schools is to provide good schools and good experiences. If you build it, they will come.
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 school 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.
The mission of Speak UP is to engage, educate and activate parents and community members to advocate for excellent, equitable public education at their children’s schools, in their communities, with elected representatives and at the ballot box.