Inclusive selection process needed in selecting next LAUSD superintendent

The following Op-Ed by CFT President Joshua Pechthalt originally ran in the Los Angeles Daily News on Nov. 3. You can read the Op-Ed below, as well as here

With the departure of Superintendent John Deasy, the LAUSD school board has an opportunity to restore the community’s confidence in a school district that seems plagued with conflict and mismanagement.

Bringing in former Superintendent Ramon Cortines as a bridge between Deasy and a new superintendent was a smart decision. Cortines is a well-respected educator, he knows the district well and his more collaborative approach is exactly what is needed.

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Finally, a decisive act on Immigration Reform

By Joshua Pechthalt

Last week, President Obama acted decisively in using his executive authority to help bring some security to the millions of undocumented workers living in fear in this country. Unfortunately it took an electoral drubbing to push the President to do something he should have done months ago. The President’s unwillingness to act before the November election was part of an effort to protect Democratic senators in states apparently not sympathetic to immigration reform. Ironically, had the President made this move prior to the election, it might have mobilized a Latino base that had grown increasingly disillusioned with Obama and the Democratic Party and staved off such an overwhelming victory for Republicans.

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Reinstate CCSF’s Elected Board of Trustees Immediately

By Joshua Pechthalt

A guiding principle in our democracy is that the people govern by electing their representatives to office, whether it's the president of the 7th grade homeroom, local school board, mayor, president of the country or any other elected office. The American Revolution of 1776 cast aside the authority of a monarchy to govern and put that power in the hands of the people, however incomplete it was at that time.

Yet the authority of the people of San Francisco to determine the direction of their only community college by electing their 7 representatives to the Board of Trustees has been taken from them with little opposition from our elected leaders in Sacramento.

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We can do better when it comes to 'willful defiance' reform

The following Op-Ed by CFT President Joshua Pechthalt originally ran in the San Jose Mercury News on Oct. 1. You can read the Op-Ed below, as well as here

Sometimes a symbolic gesture is good enough. But when it comes to our children and their future, we need more than symbolism from our elected leaders in Sacramento.

Assembly Bill 420, recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, will reduce or eliminate the suspension and expulsion of students for reasons of "willful defiance." This is a good thing. But the Legislature comes up short because it has failed to couple this important policy with the necessary resources to implement AB 420 effectively.

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Tom Torlakson’s reelection is a victory for Public Education

By Joshua Pechthalt
In spite of all of the outside money coming into California from billionaires, corporate interests and other anti-union forces, the people of this state made it clear that they weren’t going to have the fate of their children’s education decided by the 1% “reformers.”

With the re-election of Tom Torlakson as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in California, we learned once again that engaging thousands of educators across the state is more powerful than a million dollar, anti-teacher campaign.

For the last four years, Torlakson has demonstrated that he is a champion of public education and is committed to expanding early childhood education as a way to increase student success. He understands the need for raising more revenue to fund the changes we need to improve teaching and learning. The Superintendent has also been successful in building a broad coalition around education reform while he has resisted the urge to through teachers and education unions under the bus.

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Ferguson nothing new, not so far away

The following Op-Ed by CFT President Joshua Pechthalt originally ran in the Los Angeles Daily News on Sept. 10. You can read the Op-Ed below, as well as here

Ferguson is not so far from Los Angeles.

On April 29, 1992, I was wrapping up another day teaching at Manual Arts High School in the heart of South Los Angeles, preparing to return to my home in nearby Leimert Park, when the civil unrest in response to the acquittal of four police officers charged in the beating of Rodney King erupted around the school. After six days, more than 50 people lay dead and burned-out buildings reflected more than a $1 billion in property damage.

In 1965, as a young boy of 12 growing up in the Mid City neighborhood of Los Angeles, I also lived through the Watts Rebellion, which exploded after a confrontation between the police and the African-American community and resulted in 34 deaths and tens of millions of dollars in damage.

And now we have Ferguson.

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