Dear Editor – Learning and Earning

Light-bulb-0003-300x198Dear Editor:

I have always said that anyone that runs for office should be commended. However, some people simply need to be better informed and involved before they do so. Kelly Kent is in that category.

In Culver City, you have to earn things. Culver City School Board Candidate Kelly Kent has not earned a place as an elected official. Kelly is attempting to gain office through exaggeration and misinformation. It’s important that everyone understands this fact.

I serve on the city’s Park Commission with Kelly. Within months of being appointed – her first ever involvement in City matters- she decided to run for City Council. She then switched in early August 2015 to running for school board. This was odd considering that other than volunteering at her children’s school she had not been involved in school district affairs. She had never even attended a school board meeting before changing which political office she wanted.

Kelly’s reliance on exaggeration can be seen throughout the story she has constructed of herself. She continually focuses on her experience on the City Commission as being one of her primary qualifications for school board. Yet she has not told a single audience that she has been on only one City Commission and that she’s been on it for less than one year.

Kelly Kent is not employed by any educational institution. She has never been employed as a professor. She was adjunct faculty – i.e. a temporary lecturer – at a community college where she taught a couple of classes such as Intro to Psychology. She is NOT on that school’s faculty list: http://goo.gl/lPIf1N. She was employed similarly by an online school, where she again is not on the faculty list: http://goo.gl/yGfEpO .

Calls to both schools confirm that she was NOT a professor – nor is she currently teaching. Yet, in every candidate forum, she holds herself out as an expert in education. She has many voters thinking she has had a long-established career as a “professor of neuroscience.” She is misleading voters.

She is also misleading voters when she compares us to LAUSD (“we are not dissimilar to LAUSD”) and claims parts of our schools are “getting worse” (her words at the Raintree candidate forum). She misinforms like this so that she can then claim that as a “neuro-science professor” she somehow has the answers to fix this. The problem is, this is misinformation on both parts. Our schools are in no way similar to LAUSD, they are not getting worse and she is not a professor of anything. Indeed, she has never once given a concrete example of what the district is doing wrong and how she would do it differently. She just wants you to trust her. Well, she has not earned our trust.

Kelly also displays an elitist attitude towards students who may not follow the sort of life path she is fixated on. She apparently – at least according to her rhetoric – opposes Anne Burke’s and Scott McVarish’s proposal to create additional Career Path Academies at our high school. At the Crest Neighborhood debate and previously, she stated, “I get very nervous when we talk about academies because I wouldn’t want to ask any grown-up or child for that matter to make a choice in 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade.”

Perhaps she is confused about the concept of academies, which is troubling enough in and of itself as it is a concept which is gaining a great deal of support in the real-world educational community. Educators recognize that high school students can get a head start on careers in everything from industrial trades to science, technology and engineering while fulfilling all existing high school requirements.

Indeed, our district’s incredibly successful Academy of Visual and Performing Arts is precisely the sort of model Burke and McVarish want to expand upon. Our community embraces this program, which offers young people who are inspired by the arts to devote extra time to their passion.

I believe most in our community would want to support any young person who knows the life path they wish to walk on in the same way. Kelly’s attitude seems to be either judgmental, uninformed, or highly political. Whatever the case, it again suggests she simply has not spent enough time truly earning a spot on the school board.

Laura Stuart

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2 Comments

  1. “In Culver City, you have to earn things. Candidate Kelly Kent has not earned a place as an elected official.”

    In Culver City (as elsewhere) you earn a place as an elected official by garnering more votes than your opponent. That’s it. There is no elite gatekeeper– not even a “longtime community activist”– who gets to unilaterally proclaim otherwise. So what *has* Kelly Kent earned? Well, speaking as someone who works closely with Kelly Kent at our little neighborhood Title I school, and who knows the passion and organizing skills that she brings to the table there and elsewhere, and whose own two school-age children are tangibly benefitting from Kelly’s gifts most every day on campus, I can personally attest that Kelly Kent has earned my vote and has earned my support. She’s earned it in spades.

    The only thing Ms. Stuart’s ugly hit-piece has earned is my pity and revulsion. We’re better than this.

  2. What Patrick said, and this: what right does anyone have to think
    that they have a place at the table? Laura, I know that your kids attended schools here, and that you have done your level best to improve the conditions around raising a family and living here.

    Who is the quiet candidate, working effectively on programs that they have worked to put in place, where educators and parents come together to implement and create working models? As a beneficiary of the shop classes of the 60s and 70s, I love the efforts towards bringing more back, the ROP, the drafting class taught by Ms Snell, all of them have a place and I salute all working towards these goals.

    We also inevitably need to get more lanes for the swimming community and who among us was there with Robert Zirgulis last election cycle when he tried to garner support on that one? I was the only member of the community to show up and that is a sad statement whatever you think of a candidate, not to put your feet where your mouth is. I’ll tell you, get off the keyboard or drawing board and out to meet and work with those who are doing!

    But petty character defamation? Come on, Laura, you know better…

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