Los Angeles

Necesitamos una voz centroamericana en la Mesa Directiva de Educacion del LAUSD: Ana Cubas

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Jackie Goldberg and Ana Cubas Stand Out as Possible Replacements for Ref Rodriguez on the LAUSD vacant school board seat

 

By Randy Jurado Ertll

Now that Ref Rodriguez was forced to resign from his Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) seat, many candidates have decided to throw their names into the mix of potential candidates.

The two that stand out right away are former elected official Jackie Goldberg and Ana Cubas, former chief of staff to Councilmember Jose Huizar and high ranking staffer to former City Council President Alex Padilla. Many other candidates are also throwing their names into the mix to run for LAUSD’s District 5 school board seat. 

The truth of the matter is that we need strong leadership on the LAUSD school board.

In this case, both Ana Cuba and Jackie Goldberg would be stellar leaders. Jackie Goldberg has a tremendous track record on issues of social justice, and Ana Cubas has a track record of being a courageous and generous community leader. She also has the political experience and academic credentials to be a strong public education advocate. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, a master’s degree from Princeton University, and an MBA from USC.

Many people will begin to throw mud at all of the candidates – especially at the front runners. 

One of the big divisive issues will be traditional schools vs. the charter schools. It is an on-going and legitimate concern.

We have many public schools who now share and provide space for charter schools.

Are these schools providing the necessary tools and teaching methods for low income, Latino and African American students to succeed?

If you visit LAUSD schools, most of the students in Ref Rodriguez districts are predominantly Latino, who come from working class families.

Many people conveniently blame teachers for all public education social ills. Teachers are expected to perform miracles with limited resources. Yes, and the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) members have already taken votes to possibly strike.

What is usually left out of the equation is the rights of substitute teachers, who fill in when teachers are ill or absent. The pay is low and no health benefits are provided unless one works 100 days in the school year. Substitute teachers are pretty much the migrant workers of public education – who remain invisible. Many are required to cover extra class periods – with no pay. What is UTLA and the school board going to do about such issues that usually are conveniently overlooked?

Jackie Goldberg, Ana Cubas, and the other candidates must step up and bring up issues of substitute teacher rights, teacher and student safety issues within the community and schools, the ongoing issues of student behavior and attitudes when dealing with other students and adults, the chronic use of bad words in the classroom, and a policy decision must be made in regards to cell phone use of students in class.

Now, Ana Cubas has an opportunity to step up and lead in public education. We need a Latina/Centroamericana voice on the LAUSD school board.

We need someone who knows first-hand the struggle of students. We need a strong voice who will not be afraid to speak up. I have been analyzing Ms. Cubas involvement in the community, and I appreciate her leadership in helping young Latina students, through her creating the Latina Public Service Academy. She has also played a major role in providing scholarships for LAUSD students and also taking computers and other supplies to El Salvador.

Ana Cubas deserves to be considered as a strong and viable candidate to be on the LAUSD school board. She has a track record of helping to empower and improve the lives of students.

My main impression of LAUSD, while I attended its public schools, was conformity. I was stuck in certain schools that had high rates of violence and dropout rates. Now, many new schools exist and we need school board members that will actually visit the public schools and maybe even teach one day out of the week – at each school that they represent. Now that would be revolutionary and eye opening.

The struggles and challenges of teachers and substitute teachers are tremendous. Each dedicated teacher and substitute teacher should receive a medal of courage – especially the educators who teach/work in South Central Los Angeles.

After Mexican Americans, Salvadoran Americans are the largest cohort of students within LAUSD. We need to see and meet role models and leaders who will speak for these students. We need more teachers who come from these areas to teach in the trenches. We also need books that reflect the diverse history and culture of our students. We need the LAUSD school board to adopt books that include Central American history, culture, and politics.

It takes courage, self-confidence, innovative ideas, and fundraising capabilities to run for office.

I applaud Ana Cubas’s tenacity and courage – yes – we encourage her and Jackie Goldberg to run for the LAUSD school board. We want someone who will represent all public schools in an equitable and courageous manner.

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Randy Jurado Ertll

Randy Jurado Ertll es autor/escritor, columnista para varios periódicos, y maestro. Su más reciente libro/novela es La Vida y los Tiempos del Cipitio que pronto se adaptará en una obra de teatro en Estados Unidos.

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