Marilyn Koziatek claims that she is running as "a public school parent," but her campaign website does not show that she has any support from the public school community. Her two elementary-aged sons attend an LAUSD school (which she admits provides them with an excellent education), but she does not list any endorsements or testimonials from the teachers or parents at this school. Koziatek claims to be "a member of the Parent-Teacher Association at her kids' public school," but members of this organization are also missing from her list of endorsees.
Compare this to the list of people who have endorsed her opponent, Scott Schmerelson. This lifetime educator is supported by the unions which represent the professionals who work directly with our students. This includes everyone from the teachers to special education aides. He has earned the endorsement of California's Superintendent of Instruction, Tony Thurmond, and public education expert Dr. Diane Ravitch. The Network for Public Education Action, which has a mission "to preserve, promote, improve, and strengthen public schools for both current and future generations of students" has also endorsed Schmerelson.
Instead of endorsements from the public school community, Koziatek is receiving all of her backing from the charter school industry and its supporters. All four of the testimonials provided on her web page are from the charter school where she is employed. While she says that this employment qualifies her as a "public education professional," the only thing public about this school is their source of funding.
Granada Hills Charter school is a privately run, publicly funded, organization. Unlike the LAUSD School Board, parents do not have a right to elect their representatives on the governing board. Instead, they are appointed and must pledge loyalty to the school's leadership team before they can serve. As a conversion charter, the school is supposed to serve the neighborhood where it is located, but only half of its student body are from the local area. When compared to every other neighboring high school, Granada has less than half the percentage of students with special education needs. While children living in the area are supposed to be automatically enrolled, persistent reports claim that Granada forces students who are more difficult to educate into its less popular iGranada program.
Koziatek is correct that not one member of the LAUSD School Board has school-age children. Therefore, the point of view of parents is missing from deliberation on this board. However, this voice has to come from someone who supports the mission of public education. Those supporting privatized education should ask for spaces to be made available for them on charter school governing boards.
Note: The representative for LAUSD's Board District 7 is also being elected in the November 3 election. One of the candidates in the harbor area of Los Angeles is Patricia Castellanos. She is not only a parent, but she also is a supporter of public education.
Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a "strong supporter of public schools." For links to his blogs, please visit www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.