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Tokofsky chalks up another lesson

Re “A civics lesson for L.A.'s mayor,” Opinion, Dec. 15

Former teacher David Tokofsky, a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District board, can still present a good lesson plan. He gave us texts and concepts to consider and inquiry prompts around which to organize thoughtful conversation.

Now we need to apply student effort to turn this guidance into informed political decision-making.

Tokofsky helps us take seriously the constitutional challenge of AB 1381, [the state law that shifts control of L.A. schools from the school board to the mayor]. For a while it was fun to watch our charismatic mayor orchestrate his political tour de force. But, with the guidance of this no-nonsense teacher, we realize that the fun and games of politics can put in danger fundamental civil principles.

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I appreciate Tokofsky naming the “manufactured ‘crisis’ in student learning” that the mayor and his allies used to generate momentum for AB 1381.

Watching this case, let us have considered conversation about the principles of governance involved. And let us honor the improvement that is underway in the school district. Put aside the manufactured crisis, honor the current work and continue it without the distraction of a self-serving political side show.

JOHN LEONARD

West Hollywood

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One of the lessons that Tokofsky failed to note was that where you sit determines where you stand. For example, how a rebel school reformer becomes the defender of the status quo in one short decade.

DAVID W. KOCH

Long Beach

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Tokofsky rants against the law that allowed the mayor of Los Angeles to share some supervisory power over L.A. Unified. All his quotes and self- congratulatory pats on the back do not explore why so many people are in favor of this law.

Under Tokofsky’s tenure, the district wasted enormous amounts of money on poorly conceived projects, the board got million-dollar bathrooms, the administrative staff multiplied and became less responsive to parents and communities, nepotism and corruption continued unabated, teachers and support workers received no raises and saw their working conditions worsen. Morale is low, new teachers leave in droves, it is increasingly difficult to find good principals and the $7.4-billion budget receives little outside scrutiny.

I say that we need more than mayoral oversight. We need serious state audits and a complete reevaluation of district practices and the lack of transparency.

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MARIE MATTHEWS

San Pedro

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Re “Tokofsky won’t seek reelection,” Dec. 10

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When I worked with Tokofsky about 20 years ago at Marshall High School, he was an inspiring educator and colleague. The lesson he taught his students then, and his leadership on the L.A. school board now, gave me a profound belief that the district can work for all its students. Now that Tokofsky will be leaving his post this coming June, I hope he continues to serve the public in a larger leadership capacity; he is the educators’ public voice of reason, expertise and energy so needed today.

DEBRA GALA

Huntington Beach


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