2022 LAUSD Elections
UTLA Didn’t Take Their Shot
Even without the endorsement of his union, teacher Marvin Rodriguez has forced incumbent Kelly Gonez into a runoff on November 8, 2022.
- Wayne Gretzky
In their stump speeches supporting LAUSD Candidate Dr. Rocio Rivas, both Scott Schmerelson and Jackie Goldberg have both expressed frustration with being in the minority on the LAUSD School Board. Along with George McKenna, they are the board members elected with the support of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) on platforms supporting public education. The three of them are blocked from pushing these ideals forward by a majority comprised of Board President Kelly Gonez, Nick Melvoin, Tanya-Ortiz Franklin, and Monica Garcia, who were all elected with the support of the charter school industry.
Of the four charter industry board members, Gonez has taken the lead in silencing the voice of district parents. Her first act as board president was to prevent Schmerelson from restarting the Parent Engagement and Special Education Committees. After her allies disagreed, she reneged on an agreement to restart the Parent Engagement Committee. More recently, Gonez has led efforts to silence speakers at board meetings, possibly violating the Brown Act.
Given this background, the news that UTLA endorsed this incumbent for the June primary was met with bewilderment. This move was even more surprising given the fact that one of Gonez’s opponents is a public school teacher and a loyal member of the union. Not only does Marvin Rodríguez bring the experience of teaching Spanish at Cleveland High School since 2014, but he is also the parent of two LAUSD students. This gives him a perspective not shared by any of the current board members. His leadership abilities were honed serving our country as a Marine in Iraq.
When asking UTLA members why the union made such a surprising move, the first answer that I usually get is that Gonez voted to ask the state to enact a moratorium on new charter schools. They seem surprised when I point out that this relatively benign resolution also received a…