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March 7, 2017 — Local Elections
School

Los Angeles Unified School DistrictCandidate for Board of Trustees, Trustee Area 2

Photo of Lisa Alva

Lisa Alva

Public School Teacher
12,788 votes (34.38%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Stop the destabilization of public schools by charter school organizations..
  • Secure sustainable funding for classrooms and instruction.
  • Base all policy decisions on whether the end result will benefit students.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Public School Teacher
English teacher, Los Angeles Unified School District (1998–current)

Education

California State University Dominguez Hills Tier One Educational Administrative Credential, education law, policy, teacher evaluation, data-based decision making, conflict resolution, budgeting, school management (2012)

Biography

My name is Lisa Alva, and I am running for the LAUSD Board of Education, in District 2.  I want to tell you who I am and why I want to serve.

 

In 1953, my parents met at Lincoln High School.  After serving in the Army, my dad married my mom and a couple of years later they had me.  We lived with my grandparents near Ramona Gardens until we could afford a tiny house in Hillside Village, right across the tracks.  

 

I still live here, in the same house, and I raised my daughters here.  In 1998 I became a teacher in the LAUSD District Intern program; I was looking for stability for myself and my girls.  In 2001 I was hired at Roosevelt High School, and I was happy that I had finally found a home as a teacher.   I grew an impressive resume of service to my school: using good data in the classroom; doubling kids’ reading levels; using good data to build workable plans and student programs.   I was elected to the house of representatives for the teachers’ union.  I volunteered around the district: LAUSD headquarters, Miguel Contreras Learning Center, UCLA Community School.  I taught summer school.  

 

In 2005, the destabilization of my school community began.  Charter schools opened in Boyle Heights, drawing off our best and brightest by the hundreds.  The movie “Waiting for Superman” publicly labeled us a “dropout factory” and our morale started to slip.  Antonio Villaraigosa then brought us the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS).  


I joined the PLAS Board of Directors to keep an eye on their executives and to have a vote in the decisions they were making for my school.  I was following ancient advice to keep adversaries closer than friends.  I soon figured out that decisions were made behind closed doors.  I sought out teacher groups that are hosted by the reform movement because they offered access to decision-makers, also people who seldom listened or cared about how their decisions played out in the classroom.  When I discovered that a local non-profit was orchestrating support for officials who, I felt, had made bad decisions, I very publicly renounced those groups.  My public rejection put me on the wrong side of these powerful people.  And now, many of the people who disappointed those of us in classrooms are operating on a state and national leve..  Public education will suffer if they are successful.  This is why I am running for Board of Education.

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Discipline and Safety in LAUSD Schools

Summary

The current "no suspension for wilfull defiacnce" policy at LAUSD is a harmful unfunded mandate that disrupts school culture.  Restorative justice requires sustained training, resources and alternative to be effective.

In May 2013, the Board of Education adopted the “no suspension for willful defiance” policy, to impact the school-to-prison pipeline that hijacks so many young lives.  From this pure perspective, it was a well-intentioned move.

Classroom teachers and campus security aides, who would be most impacted by this policy, either rolled our eyes in disgust or felt angry and betrayed.  We were not offered any alternatives for dealing with harmful and disruptive youth at school.  

Students immediately understood this policy.  At my inner-city high school, the number of students out of class without permission spiked.  We smelled weed in the hallways every day.  Students with cellphones had them in hand every minute.  There was nothing we could do.  Complaints to administration went nowhere because their hands were tied just as much as ours.  We had no Dean of Students because we had no money to pay for one.  Our few campus aides were stretched to the limit, trying to talk good behavior into students who were not ready to listen.

Popular opinion holds that kids don’t know how to behave themselves.  Proponents of restorative justice say that compassion is the answer, and it is.  We need to have compassion for teachers, campus aides and administrators that do their best to ensure a safe and productive learning environment.  We need to have compassion for the students who come to school because they have goals and want to learn.  Until restorative justice is properly supported with training and resources, schools need an alternative to it.  Simply saying “we are an RJ school” isn’t enough to make it actually happen.  

In the last three years, some schools have experienced positive changes.  The LAUSD Board of Education should now study these success stories to see if they can be duplicated at other schools.  But without money, resources, training and alternatives, “no suspension for willful defiance” is only words, and another policy that the Board has imposed and forgotten about, that costs our classrooms dearly.

Candidate Contact Info

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