East San Fernando Valley from Sylmar to Van Nuys
Antonio Sanchez is a former staffer for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio and until recently, was an organizer for the LA County Federation of Labor working to defeat Prop. 32, the ballot measure aimed at curbing union power. He lists ‘improving the quality of student learning” and school as a priority and is supportive of school choice. Sanchez calls himself the “consensus candidate” who can bridge union-reform divide: he is the only candidate who has endorsements from both UTLA and the Coalition for School Reform. He is also the only candidate in District 6 who has voiced clear support for Superintendent John Deasy. The Coalition, as well as SEIU and AFL-CIO are spending outside money on his behalf. UTLA has spent no money in this race.
ENDORSEMENTS - SUPPORT
Endorsed by: UTLA (teachers union); SEIU-99 (service employees); AALA (school administrators); LACDP (county democratic party); COPE (county AFL-CIO)
Supported by: Coalition for School Reform
1. Do you have children? No
2. Please indicate your three (3) priorities once in office and explain why:
A. Leadership development for principals and professional development for teachers-Every school needs a strong principal that will work to support his/her teachers. We must invest in developing their leadership skills and ensure they have adequate time to work with their teachers. Let’s more fully invest in the professional development of every teacher and ensure they have common planning time. If current professional development isn’t meaningful to our teachers, let’s find a more effective approach. When we help our teachers, we help our students.
B. Treating parents as equal partners in their children’s education- Parent engagement is an X factor in a child’s education. I was fortunate enough to have parents that cared and had the time to walk me to school, ask me about my homework, and go to my basketball games. We should not only be welcoming every parent’s involvement, LAUSD must engage parents and treat them as equal partners.
C. Increasing classroom resources-
Let’s focus and invest every resource possible to support the classroom and our schools. I will keep on eye on Sacramento and make sure the Prop. 30 funds are spent on our schools. Sacramento must keep their promise. I will push our state to reform the way education is funded. It is appalling that California has fallen to almost dead last, 49th among the United States, in per-pupil spending. Our students are our future and we must invest in them.
3. Quality instruction, reducing class size, adequate funding, school choice and access to quality data have all been cited as policies that impact student achievement. Please rank your opinion of these conditions with 1 being the most impactful and 5 being the least.
Quality Instruction: Rank 1
Adequate Funding: Rank 1
School Choice: Rank 1
Reducing Class Size: Rank 1
Access to Quality Data: Rank 1
Comments: All of these pieces need to be working together. They’re all important variables that lead to the success of a student. Every child must have quality instruction, supported by a small class size and quality data. Parents must be engaged and be treated as equal partners. Our education system is severely underfunded in California; we must overhaul the funding structure to bring more funds to our local schools.
4. How would you as a school board member increase parent and community engagement in schools? What have you done thus far to support your vision?
Every school needs to have a culture that views parents as equal partners in their child’s education. Every school must give parents the right tools for them to be engaged and empowered. I firmly believe there must be a welcoming parent center on every campus that actively engages parents. I have worked with parent center directors from Poly High School, Pacoima Middle School, Olive Vista Middle School, and Pacoima Elementary School by speaking to parents about the importance of their involvement in their kids education. I also supported the parent centers by bringing critical government resources within the parents’ reach.
5. What, in your opinion, is the pathway toward adequately funding the district? Do you believe the funding structure needs to be overhauled?
Yes, I believe the funding structure needs to be overhauled. It is appalling that California has fallen to almost dead last, 49th in the United States, in per-pupil spending. I worked to pass Prop. 30 and I will keep on eye on Sacramento to make sure the Prop. 30 funds are spent on our schools. In addition, I will lobby the federal government and demand our education system in Los Angeles be fully funded. The federal government funding is supposed to help fund services for our special education students. Currently, the federal government is obligated to fund 40% of our IDEA services and it is only funding 17% today. I’m excited the Governor is talking about per pupil funding and overhauling the system. Let’s bring the decision making process to the local level with the appropriate oversight. The dollars must follow the students. I also support current legislation that will lower the threshold to pass a partial tax to help fund our schools from 2/3 to 55%.
6. Should LAUSD have a goal of bringing more students back into public education from private and home schools? If so, how would you suggest going about this?
It is a parent’s decision whether they should send their children to private, home, or District schools. A parent knows what is best for their child. I do believe we need to restore the quality of our education system in order to give all parents the confidence they need in order for them to send their children to LAUSD schools.
7. What steps need to be taken to continue to challenge high achieving students? Are we doing enough to support these students?
We must have options for all our students, including our high achieving students. Every high school must offer a variety of AP courses and extra curricular activities for all our students. We also need to have partnerships in place with local community colleges and ask those local community colleges to offer college level courses, on our high school campus, to our students.
8. What role will you have in addressing the resource and opportunity gaps for low-income students?
Overhauling the funding structure for our education system by using a per pupil formula will help low-income students. We must also make technology available for all students. Many of our students do not have access to a computer or the internet at home, and should at least have access to these now critical resources at school. Ultimately, we can address the opportunity gap by providing leadership for teachers, professional development for teachers, strong parent engagement, and more resources in the classroom.
9. What do you think of the teacher evaluation agreement reached between the District and LAUSD labor partners? Explain it and share your thoughts on it.
I believe our teacher evaluation system needs to help develop teachers and support them in their professional development so they can help our students learn. The agreement is a step in the right direction. Considering the bargaining table climate, I was happy an agreement was reached that both Superintendent Deasey and the LAUSD labor partners fully supported. As LAUSD moves forward and begins to implement the evaluation, we need to welcome input from the staff in charge of implementing the evaluation. Their input will help us further understand the effectiveness of the system. In the future, we may need to work with all our partners and consider developing an evaluation system that incorporates both student performance for individual teachers and school wide performance.
10. What is your position on school choice for parents and families?
Parents know what is best for their child. My parents had a choice for my education; they enrolled me in magnet schools. Let’s empower parents with the information they need to advocate for their kids, and preserve their right to choose the learning environment they think is best for their child. They must have access to a variety of high quality options- whatever they may be. Let’s work to expand these options so that every child has access to a high quality school of his or her choice.
11. What is your opinion on charter school growth within the district? Should we limit or promote charter school growth?
I will be supportive of all good schools, whether they be charter or regular schools. I will not vote to limit the growth of good schools. This is about having quality options for parents and their children. I will not limit the options for parents. At the same time, I will hold charter schools to the same high standard I will hold all district schools - they must have a transparent budgetary process, be inclusive of the surrounding community, and work with all students.
12. How will you engage the community to inform your policy positions and understand the implications of board decisions on the educational experiences of the families and students you serve?
I plan to have a district office available to all. I value the input of parents, school staff, and students, so I will visit schools every week and talk to them. I will interact with the parents, school staff, and teachers. I will bring the district to them and not expect them to come to the district.
13. How will you work with other members of the board, the administration and members of the community to ensure EL students are reclassifying and gaining access to A-G courses?
Speaking as an EL student, I know that constant communication between the board, the administration, teachers, and parents will help EL students be successful. In addition, every teacher in the district must have professional development that helps to empower EL students and their parents. I believe that my three priorities of principal and teacher development, parent engagement, and bringing additional resources to the classroom will help more EL students be successful.
1. What is the single most important issue facing LAUSD today? As a Board Member, what would you do to deal with it?
There is no panacea or simple solution to fix the system. We need to develop a comprehensive, multi-step plan that can help us address various issues plaguing our schools. We need to ensure that teachers are vital and helpful partners. They must have access to the necessary resources and support to offer their students the best education possible. On-site administrators must be equipped to manage their teachers and staff--they need to equitably support, discipline and inspire a school site to succeed.
2. How would you prioritize your local constituency in overseeing LAUSD management, setting District policy, and day-to-day decision-making?
We need to prioritize students and ensure they are in the best learning environments possible. We can start by increasing expectations for all students. We should hold students to the highest standards of achievement possible. More importantly we need to take strategic steps. For instance, WE KNOW which schools are failing and succeeding. For each failing school, we need to bring additional resources to the campus to help analyze and evaluate the problems, and make the necessary changes in order to have our students learn and be successful. We need to create a team of education experts and best teachers and send the team to each failing school. LAUSD is upside down- the best teachers and administrators work at the best schools where students typically start with the higher test scores. To be true problem solvers- the best need to help improve the troubled schools and students. I would propose a teacher/ administrative team to spend a week or more at the challenge school: Analyze, Evaluate and Make Recommendations for action steps to improve the school. We should then monitor their progress towards those recommendations. We must also encourage local control and ownership of schools, empower principals, and promote models that bring parents, teachers, and principals together to develop strategies to improve student performance.
3. What experience in general management, fiscal management, and budgetary oversight would you bring to the job of Board Member?
The voters helped stabilize the budget with the passage of Prop. 30, but we're still in a budget crunch. I will prioritize the classroom and student learning. I'll do everything I can to build the quality of education our students receive.
4. How should LAUSD deal with its rapidly increasing costs for retiree and employee health care?
Facing significant pension and healthcare liabilities, part of the solution lies in attacking the underlying causes of escalating healthcare costs -- health risk factors such as obesity, diet, stress, and lack of exercise; variability in the availability and consistency of care; and a lack of "transparency" in the purchase of healthcare. Structural changes are needed at the state and national level for better health care costs.
5. What part should standardized testing play in LAUSDâ€™s educational programs?
Standardized testing is just a component of student achievement that does not reflect multiple intelligences. Moreover, many students are not good test takers. It is convenient for public officials to use, rather than address other factors - like parent involvement, attendance, & discipline. There are many factors that affect student growth and we don't have a reliable model that isolates teacher effectiveness. Developing a fair system that pertains to all teachers and does not punish teachers who work with the neediest students is still a major gap.