Obama administration Education secretary endorses Gonez, Melvoin for L.A. school board
Arne Duncan, who was secretary of Education under President Obama, has endorsed Kelly Gonez and Nick Melvoin for the Los Angeles Board of Education, giving the candidates a counterpunch against opponents attempting to link them ideologically with the Trump administration.
Like President Trump and his Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, Melvoin and Gonez strongly support privately operated, publicly funded charter schools. But so does Duncan. And so did the administration of President Obama, who also maintained close ties with leaders of teachers unions critical of charters.
The union message to liberal Los Angeles voters has been that Melvoin and Gonez will pursue the Trump education agenda. But the candidates insist the more apt association is with Obama.
Duncan praised the background of Gonez, a charter school science teacher who worked for about two years during Obama’s presidency in the U.S. Department of Education.
“As the only Democrat in the race with professional education experience — from the classroom to President Obama’s administration — Kelly Gonez is by far the best candidate in the race to fight for California kids,” Duncan said in a statement released by a campaign firm working with both candidates.
In praising Melvoin, Duncan referred to the two years the candidate for District 4 spent teaching at an L.A. Unified School District middle school before attending law school and working for charter-friendly education reform groups.
Based on his experience as a teacher, Melvoin testified in two lawsuits: Reed vs. California sought to eliminate the last in, first out seniority system for teacher layoffs; Vergara vs. California attempted to weaken a range of teacher job protections.
Vergara was unsuccessful. In the short term, the Reed outcome prevented mass layoffs at schools staffed mostly by early career teachers. It’s had a modest longer-term impact.
“Nick Melvoin has shown his commitment to education as a teacher in Watts and a true Obama administration Education secretary endorses Gonez, Melvoin for L.A. school board - LA Times: