A week from Tuesday we may see one of the lowest turnouts in San Fernando Valley history. We have a general municipal election in our portion of the valley, and there is one, that’s right – one, issue on the ballot: A school board election. Further, this is a school board election in a time where the school board isn’t big news. The big school board scandal was the whole kerfuffle about the iPod purchase by Deasy, and Deasy is long gone. Additionally, this is school board … so everyone (like us) who doesn’t have kids in school will think they don’t have a big need to vote. Cut out all the younger kids who haven’t started families yet, and all the older adults whose kids are off in college (and who don’t yet have grandkids).
As I said, low turnout.
But it’s an election, and I do an election post, even though I don’t have kids in school. You can thank me later.
The battle is between Scott Mark Schmerelson and Tamar Galatzan. Let’s get rid of the elephant in the room first.
Both are Democrats. [ETA: Got that wrong. Schmerelson is Republican, plus his campaigners are annoying (7 calls over the weekend).] Seriously, Schmerelson is hammering Galatzan on the iPad debacle. Sorry, I don’t blame her. Deasy was pushing them, and none of the school board are technology experts. The notion of providing a tool to students that works the way students work today seems reasonable on the surface. We’re dealing with a generation that is more used to looking things up online, to using ebooks. The problem wasn’t the idea; it was the implementation. Galatzan was just one voice of many, and the situation is in the past.
The battle is between a 12 year board member (Galatzan) and a Spanish teacher turned school administrator (VP at Cleveland High). Teachers Union is behind Schmerelson, likely because he is less supportive of charters and has been a member of the union. I don’t consider Teachers Union support as a factor when I look at this stuff.
Let’s pick a few critical issues: (1) improving arts (theatre) in the schools; (2) increased emphasis on STEAM (and women in STEAM); and (3) college preparedness.
Galatzan’s web page talks about emphasizing the A-G curriculum (UC preparedness) and providing technology in the classroom. She did sponsor resolutions in favor of voluntary funding to restore the arts and to restore funding for honors music programs. She has encouraged robotics. Couldn’t find much in the way of STEAM. Ballotpedia doesn’t have an issue ranking, but shows loads of endorsements including both major papers. I did find a summary of where they stand on the arts.
Schmerelson has nothing on his website on the subject. In issue ranking, he puts arts as #3 and college readiness as #6. Couldn’t find anything on STEAM.
From what I can see, the two are very similar. Both want reduced class sizes. Both want technology, although they disagree on the source of funding. Both want college prep, although Galatzan makes it a priority. Both support the arts. Both support charters.
I think I’m going to go with the bulk of endorsements, simply because the incumbent should understand the budget issues better.
OK, convince me otherwise.