The LAUSD Board voted 6-1 for a resolution sponsored by Board Vice President Nick Melvoin (BD4) to increase district transparency by creating an Open Data Portal that puts far more information about LAUSD schools online for parents and community members to access.
Transparency was a key campaign platform for Melvoin and is also one of Speak UP’s top platform priorities. LAUSD will now hire an open data officer and provide parents with more information to choose school programs that are serving kids well and also to spotlight which programs and schools are under-performing so they can be held accountable.
“It’s important that we don’t just release data that makes us look good,” Melvoin said.
Board Member Richard Vladovic (BD7), who co-sponsored the resolution, said that he hoped it would be a “change agent” that “shines a light on our perennially under-performing schools…The underperforming ones will not be able to hide like cipher in the snow and be quiet.”
Board Member Kelly Gonez (BD6), who has spoken about her support for data-driven decision-making, voted against the resolution, citing concerns about the cost estimate of $1.2 million. Melvoin, however, pointed out how data analysis is projected to save the food services division more than $20 million and by opening up data to the public, more ways to save LAUSD money may be found.
During public comment, several Speak UP parent leaders implored the Board to give parents more formal power to help set policy at LAUSD. They asked for a seat at the table and a chance to represent their kids interests during LAUSD contract negotiations, which determine which teachers are qualified to be in the classroom with our kids.
Parent Michael Segel shared stories from his youth of marching on the picket line alongside newly organized United Teachers Los Angeles teachers, who were asking to raise their salaries of $13,650 a year.
“However, it’s time that our children are also now represented,” Segel said. “Not as an addendum by a group that rightfully must protect their own interests first, but by parents, whose sole job it is to watch over our children’s needs…And I speak of the parents and guardians of every single child in LAUSD, including those with special needs, the more than 17,000 students that are temporarily or chronically homeless, as well as those one in four students that are undocumented or have a parent who is – many of whom have never had a voice in even school board elections.”Read More