Dear friends and partners,
It has been quite a start to 2019 at the Los Angeles Unified School District and I’m hopeful that the energy we’ve witnessed around our public schools will be harnessed to produce positive outcomes for kids. I hope that those whose eyes were opened to the conditions of our schools—that classes are too large, that teachers are under-compensated, that California ranks 44 out of 50 states in per pupil funding—will continue to focus on efforts to change that. And I hope those of us who are immersed in this work day-in and day-out don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s unacceptable that only 30% of our students are at grade-level in math and slightly over 40% in reading. We must all do better on behalf of our kids.
It is often easier to win the war than to win the peace. Whether it’s a campaign or a strike, political fights by definition pit us against one another and set-up, all too often, false choices. But if you’re one of the 53% of students who doesn’t graduate from LAUSD eligible for college, you don’t care which “side” is right; you just need us all to do better by you.
I thank both of the negotiating teams for resolving these tough issues. But in so many ways, this was only the beginning. I hope that the spirit of collaboration that emerged to end the strike ushers in a new era in which we realize that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.
In the coming months, I plan to engage my colleagues on strategies to increase revenue, improve the quality of classroom instruction, and ensure equity and collaboration throughout the district. We’ll need everyone—from the union to our charter schools to parents who are newly engaged in these efforts—to engage as well.