Over the next several months the Board of Education will discuss critical issues that impact the education of students throughout the LAUSD, and especially District 1. It is essential that during the Board's deliberations that the over 100 schools, approximately 100,000 school children, and over 600,000 residents of District 1 have a seat at the table. That requires the Board appoint a caretaker to complete the unexpired term of Marguerite LaMotte, which ends on June 30, 2015.
The alternative choice of a costly special election, which is sure to be dominated by special interests, would leave District 1 without a vote for 6 to 8 long months - until at least June or August 2014. While adults play politics, the schools and children of District 1 would be left to suffer due to a lack of representation. District 1 would be robbed of its seat at the Board table while the: 2014-2015 school year budget is decided, $6 billion school construction upgrade bond, implementation of the Common Core Curriculum, adaptation of the Local Control Funding Formula, Title I funding, and a host of other critical issues.
This is not what is best for the children.
Our children need a voting member at the table who is supremely qualified to engage in the debate on day 1 and has garnered the respect and support of the District 1 community and broader education community. That person is Dr. George McKenna III.
Dr. McKenna is among the country's most accomplished and honored school principals and school district administrators. In just 4 years as principal of George Washington Preparatory High School located in District 1, he successfully changed an inner-city high school that had been torn by violence, low achievement and lack of community confidence into a school with an attendence waiting list, and nearly 80% of the graduates enrolled in college. It is a feat that is the subject of the 1986 award-winning CBS television movie starring Denzel Washington, "The George McKenna Story." As an administrator Dr. McKenna has served as Superintendent of the Inglewood Unified School District, Deputy Superintendent in Compton, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools in Pasadena, and most recently as an LAUSD Local District Superintendent.
We urge the Board of Education to not play politics with the children of District 1. Put the children first by appointing Dr. McKenna to be the caretaker of Ms. LaMotte's seat. This should be about the children, not politics.