Dear Editor – School Board Strengths

Some Culver City residents may have difficulty deciding which school board candidates to vote for because this time around, each candidate has many strengths. And some residents believe in “bullet voting” in order to give their favorite candidate the best chance of succeeding.

But three excellent candidates stand out from the rest. They are uniquely knowledgeable, experienced and–extremely important– team players. I’m going to vote for all three, and I encourage readers to do the same.

All school board members—new and continuing–will have particularly difficult work to do and especially difficult decisions to make. A promising but very different new curriculum called Common Core has been Federally mandated; school board members will need to determine the best ways to institute this curriculum in our schools. School board members will need to assess and prioritize the pressing infrastructure needs of our schools. School board members will need to determine which funding vehicles are most appropriate for addressing these needs, then work to educate our residents. Our schools, as wonderful as they are, are crying out for help.

Claudia Vizcarra has many, many years of experience working on education policy, both at UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access (IDEA) and as a policy analyst to an LAUSD school board member, Steve Zimmer. This is not to say that she would try to institute the same policies in Culver City that she and Zimmer have instituted in Los Angeles; Culver City’s schools are different. But this does tell us that Claudia is very experienced in the field of educational policy and that she works on education policy all day, everyday. Claudia’s unique knowledge and experience are incredibly valuable. You can read more about Claudia at http://www.Vizcarraforschoolboard.org.

Vernon Taylor has more than 25 years’ experience as an executive in banking and finance. Vernon—with his knowledge, experience and drive—is wonderfully well-suited to making the critically important funding decisions for our schools. He also has worked behind the scenes, contributing his financial expertise on several important Culver City commissions. And Vernon has given of himself time and time again to our youth—through his volunteer work at the schools, with the Boy Scouts and with the Culver-Palms YMCA. You can read more about Vernon at http://www.VernonLTaylor4CCUSD2013.com.

Karlo Silbiger must be re-elected. His experience on the school board, his mastery of educational issues, his passion and commitment to students and teachers, and the energy and time he puts into his work on the school board and into his own teaching are unparalleled. Karlo has served thoughtfully and decisively on our school board for four years. He has taught high school government and music classes for more than a decade. He has education degrees from some of the finest institutions, including Harvard, and is completing his doctorate in educational policy at UCLA. Before every school board meeting, Karlo gathers his “kitchen cabinet,” a group of Culver City parents and residents, to consider their points of view regarding school issues. Karlo’s motto, “he listens and leads,” powerfully reflects his actions. You can read more about Karlo at http://karlo4schoolboard.com/.

Claudia and Vernon are important to our schools for another reason: Claudia is Latina and Vernon is African American. Our school board needs their perspectives. Our Latino and African American youth, parents and district employees deserve to be represented. We residents of all racial and ethnic backgrounds are indeed fortunate that we have two excellent, experienced candidates who also bring the promise of diversity on the school board.

Rebecca Rona-Tuttle

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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