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Mailbag: Readers weigh in on Marshall Tuck’s candidacy and Prop. 3 on November ballot

After graduating from La Cañada High, I taught in a high-poverty public school in Los Angeles and served on the La Cañada school board. Through these experiences, my belief in the power and promise of public schools has deepened, as has my concern for their great challenges.

California’s public schools rank 44th in the nation. The reality is most punishing for kids with the greatest needs. But when 3 million kids in our state don’t read at grade level, that is a crisis that won’t be confined to any one ZIP code — and it is a moral stain on us all.

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That’s why I’m voting for Marshall Tuck for superintendent of public instruction and am managing his campaign. This position — the state’s top education official— has for over two decades been held by a career politician, not someone with a successful record of leading public schools. That has to change.

Tuck has led two large public school systems. At one, he helped open 10 new public schools in Inglewood and South L.A., where existing proficiency rates were in the single digits. Eight of those schools have been ranked alongside La Cañada High as among the best in the country. From there he was recruited to turn around the lowest performing schools in the Los Angeles school district. Under his leadership, graduation rates increased 60%.

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Because Tuck has done the work, he knows what it will take to bring real change to our public schools. He knows schools are smothered in red tape, and that we need local decision-making and innovation. He knows schools need adequate funding, and that we need to cut bureaucracy and get dollars to classrooms. And he knows we need to invest in educators — renovating training programs, modernizing work rules and doing whatever we can to put a high quality teacher in front of every child.

In the absence of new leadership, we can expect more of the same: schools forced to contend with a broken system mandated by Sacramento. That’s not good in La Cañada, and it’s often devastating elsewhere. We can take a different path and a big step forward by electing Tuck. Please help us do so by voting for Marshall Tuck for state superintendent.

Andrew Blumenfeld

Los Angeles

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Arroyo & Foothills Conservancy supports Proposition 3’s response to human and environmental water needs in California. Proposition 3 will fund conservation projects such as land acquisition, habitat restoration and management.

It envisions “the adaptive and flexible management of natural resources in response to changing conditions and threats to habitat and wildlife.” And it is “specifically designed to create habitat conditions on private lands which, when managed dynamically over time, contribute to the long-term health and resiliency of vital ecosystems and enhance wildlife populations.”

Specifically, Proposition 3 will appropriate $2.3 billion to to protect, restore and improve the health of watershed lands. These funds will be administered by the California Natural Resources Agency, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and Wildlife Conservation Board — all of which have provided funding for Arroyo & Foothills Conservancy land acquisitions projects in the past. Additional funding will flow through the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, which will ensure a focus on our service area.

We recognize that any bond issue commits us and future taxpayers to financial obligations, but we believe that this water bond initiative is an excellent investment in California’s future.

John Howell

Chief executive, Arroyo & Foothills Conservancy

Pasadena

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