Jackie Goldberg elected L.A. school board president

Jackie Goldberg – who was president of the Los Angeles Board of Education 40 years ago and has also served on the LA City Council and the state legislature – was re-elected president Tuesday and said her primary goal was to increase the number of academics and students to “double”. reach the grade level in the fifth or sixth grade.

Her election also signals a possible shift in the majority of the school board to teachers’ union priorities amid increasingly contentious contract negotiations with her and the district’s service workers’ union.

In an interview, Goldberg said that, as always, she does her job for the sake of the students and not to pursue any interests.

She said she will work to “make up for the loss of academic achievement for the children. … We need to double down on how to get them to reach the grade level in the fifth or sixth grade, lest they end up dropping out when they reach high school.”

Goldberg represents District 5, which represents most of the northeast portion, including Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, and Echo Park. In the southeast, their district includes the cities of Huntington Park, Maywood, and South Gate.

Goldberg articulated her academic focus in the wake of state test results showing alarming setbacks in academic performance since the COVID-19 pandemic. State test results showed that approximately 72% of students do not meet state standards in math and approximately 58% do not meet standards in English.

The survey of Goldberg – who returned from semi-retirement to run and secure a return to the board in 2019 – is an early indicator of success for the United Teachers Los Angeles union. In November’s school board elections, the teachers’ union-backed candidate Rocio Rivas replaced Monica Garcia, who belonged to a faction opposed by the union.

Garcia was barred from running again due to term limits. Rivas prevailed over Maria Brenes, who was supported by Garcia and presented herself as a neutral player in the political struggles of the nation’s second largest school system.

The teachers’ union-backed candidates now hold a majority of the seven seats. Board members combined in a unanimous 6-0 score for Goldberg while outgoing President Kelly Gonez was absent.

Goldberg said it’s also her job to attend to the needs of all employees.

“I think all of our staff are important,” she said, and not just the teachers’ union members. “I think our classified employees need our special attention.”

The earliest collision course with the workforce may be with the Local 99 of Services Employees International Union, which represents the largest number of non-teaching or “classified” employees, including bus drivers, cafeteria workers, janitors and teaching assistants.

Local 99 has declared the negotiations deadlock and scheduled a vote on January 23-February 10 to authorize the strike. If a potential strike is expected to be approved, union leaders would have the power to call a strike at their discretion.

The teachers union is not that far in the negotiation process, although their contract expired in July.

The school board, including Goldberg, has so far publicly backed Supt. Alberto Carvalho in negotiations and politics.

Both major unions are demanding significant wage increases to offset inflation and the high cost of living in Southern California.

Although each board member’s vote has equal influence, the president chairs the meeting, helps set the agenda, and often serves as the spokesman for the board and district.

In a post-vote comment, Goldberg said she would add two non-voting subcommittees of board members — one on procurement and facilities and one on climate and greening. She also said she wants to increase the influence of board committees to “better respond to change, suggest changes to the superintendent and his staff on policy issues, rather than mainly hearing us wonderful information but not taking any real action.” ”

One unknown that led to Tuesday’s presidential election was whether Goldberg even wanted the job. Goldberg, 78, said she needs to think before accepting the commitment and said it’s even harder for her family members to accept.

She said a key difference between those 1980s and 1990s school boards she served on was that her current peers were “friendlier” and that the district’s financial situation, while challenging, is better than it was then.

Her previous tenure on the board included a teachers’ strike, then a massive pay rise for teachers, followed by a large pay cut amid general cuts. Schools were also overcrowded with rapidly increasing enrollments.

Goldberg’s first significant political involvement was in 1964 as a student leader in the free speech movement at UC Berkeley. Among other things, she worked for 16 years as a homeroom teacher in Compton.

The Board elected Scott Schmerelson as Vice President, replacing Nick Melvoin.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-01-17/goldberg-elected-l-a-school-board-president Jackie Goldberg elected L.A. school board president

Alley Einstein

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