Voices From The Community
Parents Supporting Teachers: A View of Advocacy from the Trenches
Guest columnist Rachel Wagner gives a tour of Parents Supporting Teachers, the largest parent-led education advocacy group in Los Angeles.
“Parenting is never easy. But parenting during a global pandemic can feel exasperating.”
- Rachel Wagner
This year will be a defining one for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rear its ugly head, the district will forge ahead with a new Superintendent. The primary election in June will set the table for a November General election that will determine the course for public education in Los Angeles. Behind the scenes, the Student-Centered Funding scheme is very much alive, endangering funding for schools like Kennedy High School.
With no parents of school-age children on the Board of Education, Parents Supporting Teachers has taken the lead in trying to guide decisions towards outcomes that will benefit public school families. In this first edition of the Voices From The Community series in 2022, Rachel Wagner writes about how she discovered the group and how it became a vehicle for her newfound activism surrounding public education…
I am the mother of Benji, a seven-year-old second-grader enrolled in the LAUSD. He is a sweet, inquisitive, and friendly kid who loves to learn and loves school, so much so that playing teacher has been a recurring staple of play in our household. In these play sessions, his parents are evidently mediocre students.
Benji does not just love recess and playing handball, he loves all aspects of being inside a school building. He knows every single teacher, every aide, the principal, assistant principal, office staff, custodians, cafeteria workers, librarians, and volunteers. He could doubtless tell me about other school people I left off this list. For many children, Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, but not for my son. His neighborhood public school is his happy place. At school, he feels safe and secure. He feels himself.