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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA May 19, 2015 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Board Member; Los Angeles Unified School District; District 5

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on Most Important Issue, Role of Board, Teacher Evaluation

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

? 1. What is the single most important issue facing LAUSD today? As a Board Member, what would you do to deal with it?

Answer from Bennett Kayser:

LAUSD continues to face a fiscal deficit. Our declining enrollment is a major factor in our deficit and Bennett Kayser actively addressed this through parent, student, teacher, and school engagement. As a teacher at Irving Middle School in Glassell Park, Bennett and the rest of the staff were responsible for educating over 1800 students daily. However, when elected in 2011 Irving Middle School had a student population of only 600. Bennett talked with parents, students, teachers and administrators to find the root of the problem. In response, Bennett led the community and faculty in creating a magnet school at Irving, and less then 3 years later total enrollment grew by over 33%. The Board must remain open and responsive to all communities and stakeholders in order to build programs that parents trust and promote student growth.

Answer from Ref Rodriguez:

The most important issue facing the LAUSD is its failure to help the %30 of students who aren't graduating from High School. We are leaving children behind. I believe that by increasing local control of schools, empowering teachers, parents, and principals, and by focusing on middle schools, we can dramatically increase the number of students graduating from high school ready for a career or to make it through college.

? 2. What is the role of the Board, and what is the role of the Superintendent? How should they interact?

Answer from Ref Rodriguez:

The role of the Superintendent is to execute a well-crafted strategic plan for how to move the LAUSD forward and improve education for all children in Los Angeles. The role of the Board is to support, oversee, and hold accountable the Superintendent. Too often the Board has taken a managerial role over the Superintendent and that has created confusion about who is in charge. The Board should support the next Superintendent by adopting a strong set of metrics aligned to the strategic plan, and adhering to clear lines of responsibility and oversight.

Answer from Bennett Kayser:

The Board of Education is responsible for setting district policy, and the Superintendent's roll is to carry out those policies effectively. A cohesive Board of Education and Superintendent is integral to the effectiveness of a district that serves all students. The Board and Superintendent must trust one another and have a mutual respect that allows both bodies to pro-actively meet the needs of LAUSD students and communities. The Board must hold the Superintendent accountable for his/her actions and abilities to carry out the policies of the Board.

? 3. What are your criteria for an effective teacher evaluation plan?

Answer from Ref Rodriguez:

I believe in a comprehensive approach to teacher evaluation. Rather than relying strictly on student data, I believe that it is essential to carefully craft evaluations based on all the available information. That's what we have strived to do at Partnerships to Uplift Communities.

Answer from Bennett Kayser:

An effective teacher evaluation plan involves more than test scores and periodic assessments. A true effective teacher evaluation plan involves productive observation and feedback, peer to peer mentor-ship, a quantitative component based upon several test and/or evaluation scores, and effective professional development. As a teacher and a Board Member, Bennett Kayser challenged past and present administrations to create fair and effective methods to evaluate our employees.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' answers are presented as submitted.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

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Created: July 23, 2015 11:01 PDT
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