Lack Of Community Engagement Leaves School District Without A Plan
The LAUSD School Board was forced to backtrack on plans to change the school calendar after failing to obtain consensus on the issue. What now?
“Six extra days of class time and four days of teacher professional development was an insufficient measure to address the trauma of the last year and a half. This is the time to address critical needs and begin prioritizing the allocation of funds towards real mitigation measures for learning inequities, increasing mental health services, and creating smaller class sizes.”
- Nicolle Fefferman, Parents Supporting Teachers
The block of LAUSD Board Members supported by the charter school industry has a long history of making changes to the school calendar against the wishes of parents. Many parents were blindsided when this group initially moved the start date from after Labor Day to August in 2016, in part to better prepare students for standardized tests. Backed by survey results that showed the majority of parents wanted a return to the traditional start date, Scott Schmerelson introduced a resolution that was passed by the board in 2016 that would slowly move the first day of school so that it was after Labor Day. Through parliamentary maneuvering, Monica Garcia was able to retract this decision leaving the calendar unchanged.
As the district’s leadership plots a course for helping children recover from the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are once again making plans that lack input from stakeholders. Instead of openly discussing all options, they presented an extension of the instructional calendar that was opposed by 44.2% of families. The remaining families were evenly split between those wanting to start school two weeks earlier in the summer and those preferring that each semester start one week earlier. No option was presented that would have returned the calendar to its post-Labor Day start date.
Given this lack of consensus, Superintendent Beutner was forced to recommend a schedule for the board…