Educators of Color to LAUSD Board: Fill Vacancy with Member Focused on Most Vulnerable Students in District 5By Alma Marquez, Michele Siqueiros, Nadia Funn and Yolie Flores
As members of the only national community of leaders predominately comprised of people of color in education, we urge the LAUSD Board to rapidly restore the voice of the Board District 5 community among its ranks. An election would be the best selection mechanism to maximize community engagement in choosing the next Board District 5 representative. However, we call for the Board to appoint a temporary representative with voting authority in the short-term to ensure equal consideration of Board District 5 needs and priorities as the Board confronts ongoing fiscal and opportunity challenges impacting all of Los Angeles County.
This is a critical moment for the LAUSD Board to embrace a new paradigm and reject the false binaries and polarization that currently characterize the education debate in Los Angeles. Like almost every board district, Board District 5 is filled with families who have hopes and dreams for their children yet are trapped in a system that year after year shows persistent gaps, particularly for low-income children and children of color. With one in four students in Board District 5 classified as English Learners, just as many living in extreme poverty, and 2,000 experiencing homelessness, the debate must shift to one that acknowledges the challenges to learning that too many children face and a firm commitment to mitigating these challenges and expanding opportunity in new, courageous, and innovative ways.
Specifically, that means recruiting a board member who will have a deep understanding of the context in which students of the northeast and the southeast cities live and learn; a representative who understands that children deserve exposure to rigorous academic coursework even as they continue to strive to reach proficiency in English; and a board member who is deeply committed to an equity agenda that begins in the earliest years — mitigating the gaps that start even before students enter the educational system.
District 5 deserves a board member who believes in the potential of every child and understands that parents play a critical role in the educational success of their children and therefore engaging families in supporting children’s success is essential. It deserves a member who recognizes that great teachers must be supported and cultivated and placed with the students that need them most. And yes, it deserves a board member who understands that tough fiscal choices must be made but who has the insight and wisdom to make the right tradeoffs so that no family whose child is a part of LAUSD is denied the hopes and dreams of a good education.
Alma Marquez is the Founder of Del Sol Group, Michele Siqueiros is the Chair of the Board of the Alliance for a Better Community, Nadia Funn is the Executive Director of the Alliance for a Better Community, and Yolie Flores is Chief Program Officer for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. All are members of Education Leader of Color, a national membership network of educators of color and call Los Angeles home.
All are members of Education Leaders of Color, a national membership network of educators of color and call Los Angeles home.