LAUSD School Board, District 1
Responding to educational issues
Despite repeated attempts to secure a response to our question from incumbent Marguerite LaMotte, Our Weekly was unable to obtain a statement of any kind.
Question: By almost every measure, African American students are not faring well in the LAUSD (and nationally). Plan after plan has been proposed, and some have even been adopted by the school board. But instead of getting better, the educational situation for our children seems to have deteriorated even further. Why is this, and what specifically will you do to begin changing the outcomes?
Rev. Eric Lee
Improving the academic performance of African American students has been a challenge since before the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, which eliminated legal segregation in public schools. The notion of “separate but equal” public education did not prove to be true then, nor does it prove to be true now. But equality in education is not based on the concept that racial integration would promote equality. Improving the quality of education for African American students requires the providing of resources to the schools based on the specific needs of the students.
The resources that schools need in order to improve the academic performance of African American students consist of having credentialed teachers in every classroom, teacher development that focuses on effective culturally relevant curriculum instruction, sufficient counselors, strategic and effective parent outreach and engagement, community engagement, state-of-the-art technology, healthy nutritional choices and social support services available to families. All of these resources are necessary to create an academic environment that inspires, motivates and affirms the African American student and the value of continued learning.
As board member, I will work closely with the teachers union in developing a process that ensures that the most effective and qualified teachers are in schools that have the greatest need for improvement. These teachers must be given the developmental and instructional resources that enables and empowers them to provide a rigorous curriculum that allows students to successfully master the subject matter. Teachers must also receive cultural sensitivity training in order to effectively engage the student in learning from their respective cultural and linguistic identity.
Parent Centers must be utilized to provide parent workshops that actively engage the student’s parent and/or guardian in the learning experience. These centers must be staffed to conduct aggressive parental/guardian outreach, provide academic support to parents/guardians, make referrals to social support services, provide healthy nutritional information, and facilitate parent/guardian involvement in school activities.
The community and faith-based organizations, as well as local colleges and universities must be engaged to provide mentoring and tutoring, access to job development and resources, internships, leadership development and knowledge of community services. The relationship with community organizations promotes “linked learning” that involves the entire community in conveying the value of education. Relationships with nonprofit organizations should also be leveraged to attain state-of-the-art equipment that prepares students to compete in this 21st century age of technology.
School facilities must also be retrofitted, upgraded and remodeled to create a clean, safe, modern and environmentally friendly environment. Access to bond revenues to contract with the building trades for facilities improvements will enhance the learning environment and communicate to students, teachers and parents that education is valuable. Additionally, school cafeterias must provide healthy and nutritional food choices that support the physical and mental health and well being of students.
The current public school funding formula must be changed from a “district funding formula” to a “student-weighted funding formula.” Under the current district funding formula, schools generate revenues from each student’s attendance (Average Daily Attendance or ADA). These revenues go into the district’s general fund and are then redistributed to schools district-wide based on the school’s expenses rather than on the student’s needs. Based on this formula, suburban schools with larger and more modern facilities, and higher teacher salaries due to more senior teachers, have higher expenses than inner city schools with outdated facilities and lower teacher salaries.
Consequently, revenues generated from our inner city schools often subsidize the better quality education in suburban schools. With the student-weighted funding formula, the revenues follow the student to the school that they attend.
The above recommendations will create an academic environment that is conducive to raising the expectations for students, teachers, administrators, parents and the community for higher learning. The objective must be to prepare our children with the expectation that they will be career and/or college ready after completing high school. Every board decision I make and proposal I recommend will be based on how it improves the quality of education for the student.
Jack and Jill of America Inc. is a non-profit organization that was founded by 20 African American mothers in Philadelphia in 1938. The purpose of the group was to encourage their children–especially those in racially isolated environments–to interact with each other and prepare to be leaders.
Black students in Los Angeles are struggling to improve their academic achievement, and there are a number of efforts under way to provide the resources needed to help them succeed.
One such effort is being pushed by Los Angeles Unified School Director Board of Education member Marguerite LaMotte and the others comes from the Coalition for Black Student Equity and the African American Education Alliance.
Candice Glover could barely remember her own name after she was crowned the new “American Idol” on Thursday.
“I’m still trying to process the whole thing, I don’t even know what’s happening,” she told the press backstage. “It feels amazing though that I finally got to this point; I’ve been working for so long.”
The Los Angeles Unified School District board voted Tuesday 5-2 to adopt the School Climate Bill of Rights, which consists of a resolution that bans “willful defiance” suspensions and directs LAUSD to enact common-sense approaches to school discipline and expand programs that support all students in becoming healthy, thriving adults.
Nearly 500 people turned out Saturday for a town hall discussion on the status of Black children in California’s public education and system.
The event, sponsored by Congresswoman Karen Bass, D-Calif., was held at Audubon Middle School in the Crenshaw District and drew people ranging from high school students attending local campuses, to former school district superintendents, to educational professionals, to parents to concerned community stakeholders.