Los Angeles: Kingdom of Chaos?

Parent Advocate Juan Mangandi Speaks Out on Disconnect Between LAUSD and Community It Serves

Maria Luisa Palma
Oleada
Published in
5 min readFeb 28

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Kingdom of Chaos: Juan Mangandi Speaks Out on Disconnect Between LAUSD and Community It Serves

Watch public comments delivered to Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board and Superintendent Carvalho — on Oleada’s YouTube Channel, and read the full translated transcript below.

“You forget that there are a lot of people out there who need you to work for them. And what we see in schools today is that there is no security at all. It is scary to walk in the neighborhoods. There are fights in the neighborhoods. There are drugs in the neighborhoods. Now it is the kingdom of chaos…”

Mr. Mangandi delivers a scathing criticism of LAUSD’s administrators, their lack of connection with the Latino community’s living conditions, the district’s politics, special interest groups, and the hobbled school police department. He calls out LAUSD’s Parent Academy as a sham method designed to inflate measurement of parent engagement while it does not provide what parents really need. He highlights the fact that students are still classified as English Learners through high school, and points out the lack of a drug-prevention early education program. Mr. Mangandi invites Superintendent Carvalho to meet with parents directly.

A graffiti-filled wall and a palm tree are visible behind a chain link fence.
Photo by Alex Gudino on Unsplash

Good day, good evening. My name is Juan José Mangandi and I am a two-time former president of the committee for English learners. And what I want to discuss right now is that the serious problem of your disconnect with the people you serve is because you do not know or understand them. That’s all. You live in a castle surrounded by glass, with air conditioning when it’s hot and when it’s cold you have heating and you’re happy.

You forget that there are a lot of people out there who need you to work for them.

And what we are seeing in schools today is that there is no security at all. It is scary to walk in the neighborhoods. There are fights in the neighborhoods. There are drugs in the neighborhoods.

Now it is the kingdom of chaos, thanks to those progressive organizations that believe that with hollow slogans, with cries of “What do we want? Justice! When? Right now!” our neighborhoods will rise.

We have a serious problem, and that is that right now they say there is no money. But you are contracting a lot of organizations linked to specific interests, but not linked and committed to the community, because they are paying political favors from those who supported them in their campaign. And that’s not being said.

And I’m sorry Mr. Calvalho, you were deceived. Because here a lie is lived: they create the lie and they live the lie. There are two people who say they represent us. I don’t know who chose them. Pedro Salcido goes to the state to speak on behalf of everyone. Who chose that man? Who chose Mr. Placencia to speak on behalf of all parents, so that he could invent a bunch of tricks?

For example, the Parent Academy. Their only intention is to create numbers and present this as parent participation. This is a fraud of the worst kind. Because they are not really doing anything that parents need.

We have children who are still English Learners and are in high school. But now you are setting aside the money because you are hiding it, because you have already projected how much you are going to give to the teachers unions and the other unions. Because you already have it projected, so that they continue taking the money that by law belongs to the children.

But they are not assuming any social responsibility with us who have children. They are sectarian. They are only interested in their interests, not in the interests of the people, because many teachers and many principals do not live in the community.

They live in those beautiful nieghborhoods where there are yards, where they can raise cats and dogs and walk in the neighborhoods. How beautiful! While we have to put up with, thanks to you and the other politicians in the city, we have to put up with the horrible smoke of marijuana.

A woman and a man sit inside a subway station taking drugs. They sit against a graffiti-filled wall.
Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels

This district does not have an early age drug prevention campaign. You don’t even have the courage to just walk here to this park on Roybal and you would see how many kids are in that park smoking marijuana. They haven’t been to school, but you’re not interested. You are interested in cold numbers, how much does who get and how much does she get, who did I take from and who did I not take from.

And we have the inoperative police who are basically a mascot of the district. They don’t see, they don’t talk, they don’t listen. Because if they speak, see or listen, there are the organizations of individuals, sometimes unscrupulous, who are going to burn them alive because that’s politics.

And I think that the only cowardly union that I know of is the police union, because they are not fighting for their jobs, much less are they going to work for the community, our children or our safety.

So that’s why I say to you, Mr. Calvalho, we can talk. But please don’t put those two people there, they will always lie to you. Because their job is to keep you away from parents and for us to come here to behave like “Troublemakers”, for us to come yell so that then you have an explanation and say that “you can’t talk to that guy or with that lady”, who only complain but have no proposals. There have been proposals here. For example, there have been calls for the creation of an advocate for parents’ rights. Nobody wants to do that. Where parents can complain and have confidence.

Thank you.

(Translated from the original Spanish public comments as delivered on February 14, 2023.)

Juan José Mangandi is a parent advocate and prior two-year Chairperson of the District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) at LAUSD, one of the three district-level parent committees. DELAC consists of parents of English Learner students and advocates to improve student achievement, fluency in English and timely reclassification for all English Learner-students at LAUSD.

Check out the committee’s agendas, materials and schedules: https://achieve.lausd.net/Page/10286

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These public comments were presented in Spanish with ongoing English translation, but you can access captions in English through “Settings” in YouTube.

© 2023 Oleada, Inc.

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Maria Luisa Palma
Oleada
Editor for

Contrarian, Critic, Disruptor. All my edges are sharp but I love a good laugh. Advocate for independent thought. General misfit known for ongoing rants.