Opinion

When L.A. Unified would not fix its own problems, charters provided a much-needed solution

To the editor: UCLA education Professor Pedro Noguera says, “I don’t think any of them would want to be on the [Board of Education] when the system collapses.” His comment speaks to the root of the concern. (“Charter-backed candidates win L.A. Unified majority, but can they lead from within?” May 18)

Charters took hold as a result of an already failing system. Parents saw the failings in the system and wanted good schools for their kids. The solution could have come from the within the Los Angeles Unified School District, but it came from the charter movement.

We need to stop arguing about charters and instead face the real challenges in the district. What will make all of our schools better? Small schools districts and smaller school boards are more efficient, so what now?

As a retired principal and teacher and a former LAUSD employee, I know this is not a new question. But it must be addressed now for the benefit of our students.

Wendy Zacuto, Playa del Rey

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To the editor: As a 20-year veteran LAUSD teacher, I mourn the electoral loss of school board President Steve Zimmer.

I admire Zimmer as a man of vision who embraces and advances the community schools model in which schools offer wraparound services (healthcare, job training, adult literacy, after-school arts activities and more) to anchor our schools in their neighborhoods and thus promote greater family involvement in education — the key to student achievement.

Rather than supporting charters that siphon money from district schools and are exempt from much of the state education code, Zimmer was rolling up his sleeves to ensure that public education meant publicly funded and publicly operated with responsible oversight.

In the age of Trump, we must suffer more privatization and fragmentation before we come out the other end searching for our lost parts to make us whole again. May this devastating loss be a wake-up call to all of us who value public schools as the foundation of democracy.

Marcy Winograd, Santa Monica

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