I graduated from Culver City High School this June in the class of 2011. During my senior year, I led a large movement protesting the firing of Sheila Silver and witnessed certain board members’ lack of empathy in favor of a deeply flawed status quo. Additionally, after Silver’s medical leave, the district forced students to move a production off campus due to unreasonable time limits to submit teachers for substitution. They made no attempt to speak directly with or even display sympathy for the vastly difficult process to which the students had been subjected. There was no empathy, no understanding. That came from other teachers.
In order to effectively serve its students, a Board of Education must possess a familiarity and knowledge with student needs. Simply having a child in the district does not qualify an individual as understanding. Current school board members with children in the district could not see the Silver debate from students’ perspective, much to the chagrin and frustration of those they were supposed to serve.
Nancy Goldberg, however, has spent a lifetime teaching students the empathetical skills necessary for lifelong learning. While she primarily taught English, she made a concentrated effort to teach cultural and personal understanding. Outside the classroom, she remained one of the most open, empathetic, and rational people I turned to in times of trouble. One major difference between Goldberg and current members is that she asks questions of students, learns each side of the debate, and finally gives her wholehearted support to a position.
To insinuate that Goldberg is too old to serve, will fall asleep at meetings, or is somehow out of touch with students or the community is ridiculous. Based on my time with her, I would even call such allegations bold-faced lies. As someone who actively took part in student discussions and controversies, she possesses a firsthand, rock-hard knowledge of how schools function.
My eighteenth birthday was two weeks ago. I greatly look forward to casting the first vote of my life to Nancy Goldberg for her ability to bring understanding, empathy, and an active desire to learn from students to the Culver City School Board.
Culver City High School Class of 2011