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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/4/22

Plan Ahead?

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"The reason they've lifted these mask mandates is because we gave into this small minority of people who are completely out of their f*cking mind " the wackos are winning!"
- Howard Stern

Listening to public comments during LAUSD Board meetings drives home how much our education system needs to improve. Too many of our fellow citizens make it clear during these phone calls that they do not have the critical thinking skills needed in the Internet age.

Last Tuesday, caller after caller mangled both science and the basic tenants of our legal system to make the flawed argument that the steps taken to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic were somehow not justified. Even the basic premise that a regulation that exceeds the minimum recommended standards is in compliance with those recommendations is lost within their anti-vax, anti-mask hysteria. In their alternate reality, COVID-19 is still no more of a threat than the common cold. Wearing a mask is somehow a dangerous act.

The teachers' union, UTLA, drew particular ire for having dared to insist on common-sense measures to protect teachers during the crisis. Somehow the callers into LAUSD board meetings view the union as not acting in the interest of the common good but attempting to grab more power. Unless the teachers have somehow cornered the market on mask production, I am not sure how UTLA has benefited from the mask mandate.

I addressed these misguided callers before delivering my prepared remarks at the board meeting on March 22, 2022:

998,840 deaths is not the common cold. To the board, great job getting rid of masks just as another variant appears to be gathering on the horizon. As a parent of two students with severe special education needs and a husband of a wife who is immunocompromised, I thank UTLA for the role they have taken throughout this pandemic in protecting our students and their families.

(Image by LAUSD)   Details   DMCA
Unfortunately, the LAUSD board continued its recent streak of failing to stand up to this hysteria. In December it caved and postponed enforcement of the vaccine mandate. At last Tuesday's meeting, it eliminated the requirement that masks be worn indoors.

While the current infection rates seem to indicate that the mask mandate could be safely rolled back, the latest COVID-19 news should have given the board pause. The newest subvariant, BA.2, has already entrenched itself in Los Angeles and appears to be more transmissible than its older brother. Why would anyone feel that now is a good time to let our guard down?

The premature lifting of the mask mandate is only the latest example of the LAUSD board acting without completely understanding the trajectory they were on. The district is pressing ahead to close Pio Pico Middle School because of demographic shifts that have been predicted for years. The LAUSD ignored these warning signs and engaged in a building boom that drained existing schools like Pio Pico of students. A board dominated by members who never saw a charter school they did not like exacerbated this mistake by approving charter after charter, ignoring the glut of space that was being created.

The primary elections for the even-numbered board districts are rapidly approaching. Two of the three seats are held by incumbents who would retain the status quo. Our students are already paying the price for their failed policies, why would we want to continue on the same path?

(Image by Carl J. Petersen)   Details   DMCA

Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with special education needs and public education. He is an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and serves as the Education Chair. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Dr. Diane Ravitch has called him "a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles." For links to his blogs, please visit www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.

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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 " (more...)

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