Don’t Boo, Vote

According to a 2015 Gallup Poll, only 43 percent of Americans are satisfied with the quality of K-12 education in the United States. In California, nearly half of all voters believe our public schools are in “bad shape”. On March 7th, Los Angeles voters have an opportunity to change that. As one of my mentors would say, “don’t boo, vote.”

Since beginning my campaign for LAUSD Board in District Four, I’ve heard from thousands of students, teachers, and parents who believe that better schools are necessary and possible for Los Angeles. Our campaign has been about bringing people together to put kids first. Together, we will LIGHT a new path for public education in our city. That means fighting for:

Local control and autonomy, so communities are empowered to make decisions about education that work for them and their children;

Innovation and creative thinking, converting schools from monotonous warehouses for children into incubators for student creativity and success in the care of well-resourced, appropriately compensated, ambitious teachers;

Great choices for all families, so that students and parents can work with teachers and the district to choose a school that’s right for them. While charters and pilot schools have provided alternative choices for some parents, not all LA Unified families have a choice when it comes to the right educational environment for their child. By working with teachers and administrators, we can build a more flexible district that offers options instead of barriers;

Human support and development for the teachers that care for our young people and shape their futures. Teachers should have the financial support they need to stock their classrooms with supplies, explore new curricula and technologies, and develop as the professionals that they are. Teachers are never the problem, they are always the solution;

Transparency and accountability, which is the most critical component of our plan’s success. LAUSD’s finances are a mess. There is a $13.5 billion unfunded pension liability. In 2015, a Blue Ribbon Panel urged the LAUSD Board to find new revenue streams — which can be done by simply boosting student attendance — in order to prevent an imminent bankruptcy. The Board has failed to act. I pledge to work with teachers, administrators, parents, and students to get our district’s financial house in order and plan for a long-term future of success.

Throughout this campaign, voters have been inundated with mailers that spread misinformation about me, and yes, about my opponents, too. What you read here is the truth about what I hope to do if elected. But the only way to truly cut through the noise of outside spending and make your voice heard is to go to the polls and vote.

During this campaign, we’ve talked about supporting teachers, repairing relationships with parents, and putting kids first. That is what I pledge to you, if elected to serve on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board. If you agree that changes need to be made, I hope to have your support on Tuesday.

Don’t boo, vote.

Nick Melvoin is a teacher, attorney, advocate, and candidate for LAUSD Board in District 4.

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