March 9, 2021

Carl Petersen: Getting Advice From Texas?

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Carl J. Petersen is a parent and special education advocate who keeps a close eye on the Los Angeles school system. Here he is taking pro-charter members of the LAUSD board for soliciting advice from Texas. It begins:

The charter school industry-backed members of the LAUSD have made it clear that they will ram through their privatization agenda without taking input from the minority that supports public education. During the first meeting of the new term, they passed over Jackie Goldberg and the experience that she offers to install ethically-challenged Nick Melvoin as chair of the Committee of the Whole. Newly elected Board President Kelly Gonez then turned down Scott Schmerelson’s request to reinstate the Parent Engagement and Special Education Committees telling him that unless he had four votes to overrule her, the decision would stand.

These actions followed the path set by past boards with majorities that had been elected with the financial support of the charter school industry. Accused felon Ref Rodriguez and his compatriots, knowing that he would soon be forced from the board, pushed through the hiring of Austin Beutner, ignoring the past precedent of achieving consensus on this type of decision. After Rodriguez was convicted and removed from his seat, this same block prevented Jackie Goldberg from being appointed to replace him, leaving the stakeholders of District 5 unrepresented for almost an entire year.

Recognizing the harm that this behavior has caused to the functioning of the board but ignoring her own role in the dysfunction, Gonez scheduled a special board meeting to focus on the subject of “Board Development.” The program included a talk by education “reform” advocate AJ Crabill entitled “Reflection of Governance Practices”.

Crabill is a self-appointed expert on governance. According to one critic, “he has not graduated from college nor does he have any certifications for teaching communications or leadership skills.” He previously served as the Texas Education Agency’s Deputy Commissioner for Governance. In this position, he forced local districts to take the training that he had developed with the threat that the state would take them over if they refused.

Peterson actually addressed the board and he includes his remarks in the complete piece, which can be viewed here.

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