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Why Is The LAUSD Financially Supporting Bigotry?

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Freedom is under attack in your state [Florida]. Your Republican leaders are banning books, making it harder to vote, restricting speech in classrooms, [and] even criminalizing women and doctors. I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight. Or join us in California where we still believe in freedom - freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom from hate, and the freedom to love. Don't let them take your freedom.
- Gavin Newsom

As bad as Florida's "Don't Say Gay" looked on paper, its implementation has been even worse. One district ordered its "teachers to remove signage indicating a classroom is a 'safe space' for LGBTQ students." Also banned from teachers' desks are "photos of their families--if they have a same-sex spouse." "If a student 'comes out' to them", a teacher must report it to their parents. One school board unanimously passed a policy that requires other parents to be informed "upon notification or determination of a student who is open about their gender identity".

Members of the LGBTQ+ community have not been the only target of the state of Florida. Despite admitting that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a concept that is taught at the college level and not in k-12 schools, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill in April to prevent public schools from teaching the concept. Fearful that lessons that are not whitewashed will make students "feel guilt or shame about their race because of historical events", the "Individual Freedom" law limits what can be taught in the classroom. This infringes on the freedoms of students who do not wish to be ignorant about how racism and other forms of bigotry influence our society.

These policies are enforced by members of the Florida Board of Education, many of whom were appointed by DeSantis. They have crusaded against Critical Race Theory and other topics by rejecting "54 math textbooks after claiming publishers were trying to 'indoctrinate students'". The board has also taken aim at social-emotional learning, the "radical" concept rooted in psychological research that helps "students develop mindsets that can support academic success." The Department of Education's overtly political website rallies against "woke content," apparently preferring that the citizenry remain asleep and blissfully ignorant of issues facing minorities in this country.

(Image by Florida Department of Education)   Details   DMCA
Los Angeles is a diverse city whose residents are moving to the left and overwhelmingly reject the policies espoused by the Florida Department of Education (DOE). Therefore, the Los Angeles Unified School District seemed hopelessly out of step with their constituents when they voted unanimously at the June 21, 2022, board meeting to send $6 million to the Florida Virtual School. This school is run by the Florida DOE.

In addition to helping the Florida DOE finance their bigotry, the contract will be dumping Los Angeles students into a program that operates under DeSantis' "Don't Say Gay" and "anti-Woke" laws. This will potentially put them in danger of white nationalist indoctrination and limit what they can learn. This contract gives the Florida DOE, an overtly political organization, a direct conduit to Los Angeles students for the spread of right-wing propaganda. Will the district's students be taught that Biden is an illegitimate president, that COVID-19 is not a real threat and that the Democratic party is running pedophile rings out of pizzerias? Perhaps they will they learn that the January 6th insurrectionists were just tourists.

(Image by LAUSD)   Details   DMCA
If the Board had discussed this contract before approving it, they could have ensured that safeguards were in place. Instead, the item was placed on the consent calendar and approved without any discussion. In fact, the board spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds in that one vote at the recommendation of the Beaudry Bureaucrats. Not one item was rejected or even questioned. No one even asked how the program will provide a "common core aligned curriculum" when the common core is banned in Florida.

We elect LAUSD Board members to represent our interests, but this vote provides another example of them simply rubber-stamping decisions made by the unelected Beaudry Bureaucrats. In November we have the opportunity to take back control of the board and elect representatives who will listen to our concerns and fight to ensure that the Superintendent and his staff are held accountable for their actions. This is not happening under Board President Kelly Gonez.

Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with special education needs and public education. He was elected to the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and is 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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