Beat Back the Billionaires: Vote Zimmer, Padilla for LAUSD School Board
Vote Now Absentee or at the Polls May 16th
Though Election Day isn’t until Tuesday, May 16th, Los Angeles’ epic school drama unfolds now, this minute, in real time, as absentee ballots in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board race arrive in voters’ mail boxes. The drama stars public school champions – incumbent Board President Steve Zimmer and non-profit founder Imelda Padilla – vs. billionaire barons – Eli Broad and the Waltons of Walmart.
With an overwhelming majority of voters expected to vote absentee in this monumental yet little known run-off election, there’s no time to waste for Zimmer and Padilla supporters, those campaigning to protect public education from Big Money bosses pulling the strings on marionette candidates Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez while plotting to take over or edge out proud neighborhood schools.
Yes, it’s show time in the $7.5 billion real-estate rich LAUSD, the country’s second largest school district, right behind New York City, where 95 different languages are spoken in a student version of the United Nations.
The antagonists in this drama, billionaires and their class pets, are hiding something from us, the audience. They’re not telling us that Zimmer, an ambassador for arts education, has led the District to restore arts education funding to pre-recession levels, so that Wonderland Elementary – a Blue Ribbon School – can continue its innovative choral program in which students both compose music and play the violin, the cello, the instrument of their choice – or so that Venice HS, where I teach English, can expand its two magnets: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine (STEMM) and World Languages, as well as its small learning academies that also include the Academy of Law and Public Policy (ALPS) and Sports Medicine. The antagonists in this drama – the ones jamming neighborhood mailboxes with hateful fliers – do not speak of our Venice HS students who apprentice in our graphic design shop, perform at the LA Music Center or deliver social commentary at Get Lit Poetry slams. No, the antagonists won’t tell you Venice High School is a school on the move.