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Los Angeles County, CA March 8, 2011 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Jesus M. Escandon

Candidate for
Board Member; Los Angeles Unified School District; District 7

This information is provided by the candidate

Jesús M. Escandón for LAU School Board District #7

Statement of Purpose

After arriving in East Los Angeles from Michoacan, Mexico at age seven, my mother Teresa, who worked manual labor minimum wage jobs day and night an entire lifetime, said to my thirteen (13) month younger brother Arturo and I: "we came to Los Angeles for a better life. Work hard in school, don't hang around bad influences, and your dreams will come true." Well, for the past thirty-one years, hard work and sacrifice have been key to where I am today.

After graduating from Hammel Street School in 1981, I went on to Our Lady of Soledad for Junior High, and Cantwell High School. Throughout those years, it was what I learned at Hammel that carried me the rest of the way. In particular Mr. Kuenzli, my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Buker my fifth, and Mr. Chotiner my sixth grade teacher really made a difference in my life. They taught me the joy of learning, responsibility for my actions, and that dedication to my studies would make me a successful person. These teachings coupled with my mothers endless hours of devotion to her two sons, propelled me to UCLA in 1987. There, both my brother and I, whom had also been accepted, learned about mainstream America. It was a complete "culture shock." Nonetheless, the quality and superb education we received would be an invaluable asset the rest of our lives.

Soon after graduation in 1992, I began teaching Kindergarten and first grade at Eastman Avenue in East Los Angeles, ironically, across the street from East Los Angeles Community Hospital where my mother worked day and night many years earlier in my childhood and also where Arturo and I spent many nights as children sleeping, playing checkers, or competing with each other as to who would be the first to see a police car pass by as we entertained ourselves while we waited for our mother's night shift to end at 3:00 o'clock in the morning. As I stood across the street at Eastman starring at the hospital and recollecting those early memories of struggle and sacrifice and how that early and painful confrontation with reality shaped my life, I decided then, that my call in life would be to make a difference in people's lives.

Fourteen years of teaching and teacher advocacy later, I have decided to run for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board with the purpose of re-shaping Public Education so that every single child has an opportunity in making the best of his or herself. If elected, I will commit my life to provide the best public schools for the children of Los Angeles.

My vision for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is to channel tax payer dollars directly to the classroom. Highly qualified teachers, up to the minute textbooks, innovative curriculum, and cutting edge technology will all be my priority. In order to do this, LAUSD's waste and bureaucracy must come to an end immediately. The layers of top, mid, and bottom level bureaucrats are in abundance. The number of highly paid administrators must be minimized. The savings will go toward cutting class size at all grades.

Further, teachers at all school sites must have the power over curriculum and instruction. The teacher must be well compensated in order to attract the best and brightest to the profession. Also, parents must be actively involved in their child's education. They must be aggressively included as an integral part of the child's success. Communities and its members must also be included in the decision making process. Students for their part must and will be held responsible for their respective studies. All resources available will be at their disposure. Therefore, teachers, para-professionals, students, parents, and community members must all inclusively decide on priorities and how to spend the local school site budget.

Moreover, at the state level, the LAUSD must work collectively with the governor, as well as the state legislature so that Public Education is funded properly. The LAUSD, being the biggest school district in the state, must take the lead in lobbying for educational dollars. We must aggressively ensure that Proposition 98 is protected and honored when the state's general fund dollars are calculated in this formula. We live in the richest economy worldwide and education spending must reflect this.

Our special needs students must receive an excellent education regardless of their circumstance. As a school board member they will be a top priority. Nationwide the LAUSD is the second biggest school district. Therefore, it is our responsibility to take the lead in drafting legislation at the national level to fully fund the education of students with special needs. We will exhaust every effort to ensure that the federal government complies with their responsibility of funding this dire need.

Furthermore, students living in financially deprived communities must be aggressively supported. Underperforming schools is the civil rights issue of our day. If we are to succeed as a society, we must ensure that all children are included at the "table of learning" regardless of social standing. Therefore, as a school board member, underperforming schools will not be ignored or shortchanged in any way shape or form. These schools along with those meeting state and federal standards will be cultivated, nurtured, and guided in every possible way.

These are only a few reasons as to why I seek to become a school board member of the LAUSD. We as a community must ensure that the education of the children of Los Angeles is at the fore front globally. Our students will one day travel from one continent to another on a daily basis. Thus, it is our responsibility to prepare them!

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: January 19, 2011 03:27
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