“What were you thinking?”
It’s a common question asked by our letter writers directly or indirectly, most often in response to an election endorsement by the L.A. Times editorial board. That figures, as endorsements typically make only one recommendation on issues that split readers into two camps where the choice is between yes or no, Candidate A or Candidate B. Letter writers taking the side that wasn’t endorsed tend to tell us when they disagree.
So it went with the L.A. Times’ April 13 endorsement of Heather Repenning in the race for an open seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. This time, we heard exclusively from people who expressed deep disappointment that the editorial board did not endorse Jackie Goldberg, the former teacher, L.A. City Council member and state legislator running to serve on the school board once again.
Penny Kunitani, a retired LAUSD principal, hears echoes of past endorsements:
I was shocked and disappointed that the L.A. Times did not endorse Goldberg. This is despite conceding that “Goldberg’s institutional memory and her talent for digging to the heart of an issue would improve the school board’s decision-making process.”
For whatever reason, The Times is repeating the mistake it made when it endorsed Ref Rodriguez in 2015 and other candidates bought and paid for by billionaire privatizers.
Diane Ravitch, an education historian and professor at New York University, expressed confidence that voters will select Goldberg:
I was astonished to see that The Times’ editorial board did not endorse Goldberg for the District 5 seat on the LAUSD school board.
As your editorial acknowledged, Goldberg has an unparalleled depth of experience and knowledge about education in the city and state, which her opponent lacks. The voters recognized her fitness, giving her more than 48% of the vote in a crowded field, while the candidate in second place barely received 13%. The voters know that Goldberg will fight for the children of her district, with no debts to billionaires who want to buy another seat on the board.
Goldberg is the right choice for the LAUSD board. She brings not just experience and knowledge, but wisdom and independence.
Michael Finn, an LAUSD teacher and parent, doesn’t mind some division on the school board:
I was not surprised to see The Times’ editorial board stand once again on the wrong side of history in failing to endorse Goldberg. You stated that the board “doesn’t need more polarization or a stronger vote for one side of the other.”
I disagree. When the board is run by the likes of Monica Garcia and Nick Melvoin, elected officials who engineered Supt. Austin Beutner’s closed-door contract, I say bring on the division. In that divided view of education, my loyalties are with the classroom.
I am a teacher at John Marshall High in Los Feliz, and I didn’t stand in the rain for six days to build consensus with Garcia. Our city’s classrooms need leadership, experience, wisdom and courage.