The Fight For Public Education
2022 LAUSD Report Card: Failing But Looking Forward To Improvement
Looking back on a year full of lost opportunities for community engagement while looking towards the positive changes that 2023 should bring.
- Axel Brito
The pace of change in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is frustratingly slow, even when it involves the health and safety of our children. As a candidate in 2015, I highlighted the district’s “flushing policy” that required schools to run every water fountain “a minimum of 30 seconds” before school each day. This “stop-gap measure” was enacted seven years earlier following an NBC4 report that showed aging pipes and water fountains were leaching lead particles into the drinking water at LAUSD facilities. In the next seven years, I would still see signs mandating these flushings on water fountains when I visited my children’s schools.
The failure of the school district to prioritize the replacement of lead fixtures and installation of filters to protect the developing brains of children is indicative of a school board that has been controlled by the charter school industry for years. Instead of putting Kids First, board members like Tanya Ortiz-Franklin, Kelly Gonez, Nick Melvoin, and Monica Garcia have wasted valuable education funds chasing the latest education “reform” trends. They have also prioritized the growth of charters while ignoring the needs of neighborhood schools and created a narrative of “failing schools” to justify giving away campuses like Orville Wright STEAM Magnet to publicly funded private schools like WISH Charter.
The story of the damage done by these board members was told in detail by Axel Brito in his speech to the 2022 graduates of Hollywood High School as their valedictorian. Instead of listening to what this student had to say, the LAUSD’s bureaucracy tried to shut him down. Ironically, this allowed him to demonstrate the point that his success should not be conflated with…