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LAUSD Candidates Questionnaire - Anderson

Kate Anderson School Board Candidate Questionnaire


1. Do you have children? Yes
If so, what schools (private or public) have they attended and when?


School name: Mar Vista Elementary School (Public) When: 2008- Present


2. Please indicate your three (3) priorities once in office and explain why:


A. Supporting teachers. I want to build a system that helps ensure the most effective
teachers are in front of our children’s classrooms, especially the classrooms of our
neediest kids. This means making sure that we are meaningfully evaluating teachers
with a multiple measure evaluation system and then giving them professional
development tailored to who they are so that they can grow and develop.
B. Investing in education and our children. I also want to make sure that we are
sending every dollar possible to the classroom and seeking ways to bring more
revenue into the system. We are 47th in per pupil spending and that is short-changing
our children.
C. Ensuring parents have choice. Every parent should feel good about their public
school choices. I want to create schools that parents and communities can be proud
of- both traditional public schools with more local control and charter public schools
that give parents much needed choice.


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 ___2____
School Choice Rank ___3____
Reducing Class Size Rank ___5____
Access to Quality Data Rank ___4____


Comments: Every study shows the most important thing we can do to improve
education is to make sure we have a terrific teacher in front of every student, that is
why supporting teachers and quality instruction is my number one goal.

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?
The best way to increase parent and community engagement is to genuinely involve them
in the decision making at their school site. The truth is the bureaucracy at LAUSD does not know
our communities as well as the communities know themselves. Communities and parents want to
be included in their schools but they get frustrated by the interference of a bureaucracy that does
not understand their needs and the value they can bring to the schools.
One of my goals as a School Board member would be deeply engage the communities
around each school and to include the parents. Only through meaningful involvement will we
truly bring back a world class education to our kids.


5. What, in your opinion, is the pathway toward adequately funding the district? Do you
believe the funding structure needs to be overhauled?


The path to adequately funding the district starts with making sure we are spending the
money we have wisely. Too many people believe that the district is wasting our money. Job
number one for me is to take the skills I learned working for the best oversight investigator in the
country – Henry Waxman – and dig into our finances to make sure that every dollar possible is
going to the school sites.
Then we need to turn to options that will increase revenue. We are 47th in the nation in
per pupil spending. We spend an average of $5,200 for our students when New York spends
$18,000. That is not okay. We are short changing our kids, I support lowering the threshold to
pass parcel taxes. I also support simplifying California’s complicated and cumbersome financial
system. I have not studied the Governor’s proposed weighted student formula proposal the devil
could be in the details, so I reserve judgment until I have, but I support the concept.


6. Recently there has been a number of child abuse allocations brought against LAUSD. How would you help protect students from LAUSD employees who may seek to harm students?

As a parent I was horrified to hear about the allegations of abuse at Miramonte. We need
to have a much better system of accountability for teachers and staff, without punishing those
teachers who are innocent. I support Senator Padilla’s bill, SB10, which would streamline the
costly, inconsistent, and lengthy process that is currently in place.


7. 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?


We should absolutely have a goal of bringing more students back into the public school
system. Every parent should feel good about sending their kid to their local public school, and
too many do not. The good thing is that many parents believe in public education and would send
their kids to public school if they had confidence in it. I want to bring back that confidence by
making sure that we have an effective teacher in front of every class and more local control and
investment so parents can feel good about their school.
I also plan to engage in barn storming to encourage parents to take another look at their
local public school. This is especially important for middle schools – far too many of the parents
I seek to represent are distraught by their lack of middle school choices.

8. What steps need to be taken to continue to challenge high achieving students? Are we
doing enough to support these students?


We need to do a better job of identifying them early. I support the recent measures to test
all second graders but I think the measures need to be reformed to insure that there is continuity
in the system.


9. What role will you have in addressing the resource and opportunity gaps for low-income
students?


I am committed to closing the achievement gap. Education should be the great equalizer
and right now it is not. One key to closing the gap is making sure that every kid starts
Kindergarten ready to learn. We need to invest in early education and better link the early
education system to our K-12 system.


10. 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.


The agreement is a step in the right direction but does not go far enough. Our current
teacher evaluation system is undeniably broken. I support a multiple measure evaluation system
that incorporates observation as a main component, contributions to school community, parent
and teacher surveys, and student outcomes.
The recent agreement incorporates many of these components but its measure of student
outcomes is too amorphous to be meaningful. I would seek to strengthen and better define this
component of the system.


12. What is your position on school choice for parents and families?


Public school choice means insuring that parents have the ability to select a public school
that would serve the needs of their child. For some that is traditional schools, for some it’s a
performing arts magnet, for others it’s an innovative charter school. Parents know their children
better than anyone. Together with teachers and administrators they can create a learning
environment that works for each child. As a district, LAUSD needs to move away from a one
size fits all mentality and focus on creating school choices that empower students and parents to
make the best decision for their family.


13. What is your opinion on charter school growth within the district? Should we limit or
promote charter school growth?


Charter schools play two roles for the children of LAUSD. First, they provide a
tremendous education for many of the children in the district I seek to represent and throughout
LAUSD as a whole. Second, they show us what is possible and help to bring innovative practices
to our traditional public school. Charter schools are public schools, we need to hold them
accountable and make sure they are playing by the rules and providing a great education for their
kids. And where they are, they should be given equal resources as traditional public schools
including facilities. I support continuing to grow great charter schools in LAUSD.


14. 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 am a big geek about democracy and truly believe that as a representative, my most
important job is to listen to my consistency. It is a skill I have honed as an elected member of the
Mar Vista Community Council and one that I would employ as a board member. I would visit
the schools and community councils in my district regularly to keep in touch and hear from those
I serve.


15. 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?


Members of the board must prioritize policies that ensure all students are college and
career ready, but must develop policies that focus on the specific needs of EL students.
The board must also ensure ELs are addressed in different district initiatives, such as the
Common Core and A-G implementation plans, to maximize student learning in high school
courses and beyond. School Board members can support raising awareness of the needs of ELs at
the local, district and state level to ensure the necessary resources are allocated to this group of
students. The administration needs to support and hold accountable district and local
administration in the timely development and implementation of plans. Members of the
community should be involved in conversations regarding equity and access to college and
career ready courses. Resources must include parents, as well as a broad base partnership at the
school site level between parents, students, educators, and leadership. Parents are a critical
stakeholder in the education of their children. We must also ensure parents are aware of the
opportunities available to them to support and advocate on behalf of their children.

 

 

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commented 2013-02-08 23:42:58 -0800
I guess my question would be why is so much money coming to Kate from Charter School supporters. That is not sounding like someone coming to support public education