Just months after assuming a majority of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) School Board, the charter supporters already find themselves embroiled in controversy. Their first selection for President, Ref Rodriguez, is facing felony charges and was forced to resign from the position. As they prepared to select a replacement, I addressed the Board and asked for them to follow through with their promise to put "Kids First":
Mr. Rodriguez had an obligation to inform the rest of the Board about the pending investigation, but his failure to do so does not excuse the Board members who voted for him. They had an obligation to research the person that they were electing as the face of the District.
This Board is on record as saying that kids should go first. This was not children first, this was putting an agenda first and I hope that as you take the vote today, you do not do that again.
Without discussion, the LAUSD Board voted 4 - 3 to install Monica Garcia as the Board President. The vote was along party lines with no attempt at consensus. I guess we'll have to wait for another day to put "Kids First".
Carl Petersen is a parent and special education advocate, elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. He was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a "strong supporter of public schools." His past blogs can be found at www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com.
Carl Petersen is a father of five, including two daughters who are on the autism spectrum. His involvement in education issues began when the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) refused to provide services that his daughters' teachers agreed they needed. It was then that his family was forced to sue the District.
At the end of two days of mediation at the District's headquarters, he turned to his wife, Nicole, and said: "somebody has to change this." His wife replied, "What about you?" He accepted the challenge and has run twice for a position on the LAUSD School Board. His platforms included advocacy for special education issues and strong support for public education. In his last election he was endorsed by Americans for Democratic Action Southern California, SFV/NELA Chapter of the National Organization for Women, and Network for Public Education (NPE) Action, a group co-founded by Dr. Diane Ravitch.
When Carl is not working or engaging in activism, he enjoys hanging out at theme parks with his family. He took his oldest daughter to Woodstock '94 when she was two and used to play in several local bands. If he is at his home in Northridge, California, there is a dog at his feet and he is probably writing one of his blogs which have been published in OpEdNews, Medium, Patch, and K-12 News Network.