Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bernie Endorsed Steve Zimmer For L.A. Unified School District Chairman


At the end of March, L.A. progressive icon Marcy Winograd wrote a guest post about the importance of Steve Zimmer's May 16 school board election-- a week from today. She termed it "a showdown over education privatization and de-regulation [with] voters in the San Fernando Valley, coastal Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Hollywood deciding who controls the Los Angeles Unified School District Board, a 7-member governing body that oversees 900 schools-- some 200 specialized magnets-- with 650,000 students, over 75% students of color. If the billionaire boys club-- Eli Broad, former mayor Dick Riordan, the Waltons of Wal Mart-- have their way, voters will choose a candidate who will carry their water to make 50% of LA’s public schools independent charter schools over the next eight years. Not so fast, fat cats. LAUSD Board President, Steve Zimmer, a champion of the arts, a believer in equity for all, the guy who saved adult education and early childhood education from lethal budget cuts-- the mensch who balanced the budget is running for a third time to stop Broad’s plan to decimate the District by taking over its land while draining it of capital."

Yesterday Zimmer wound up with another progressive icon endorsing him: Bernie. He wrote to his supporters to announce the good news "Senator Bernie Sanders just endorsed our campaign to save public education in Los Angeles! Senator Sanders has a long record of standing up to the corporate special interests. I'm honored that he's joined our fight to stop the 'hostile takeover' of our public schools, in what has become the most expensive school board race in history thanks to outside spending against me by PACS funded by billionaires, and oil and energy executives. [He] is leading the fight in Washington against the Trump administration’s devastating cuts to education. We are going to feel these cuts right here at home. After school programs, summer learning programs, teacher training, and many other vital public education programs and services are all at risk."

A few days ago Marcy formerly endorsed Zimmer and Imelda Padilla, labor and community organizer, both of whom are the endorsed candidates of the LA County Democratic Party, United Teachers of Los Angeles, a union representing 35,000 teachers fighting for the schools students deserve, as well as Our Revolution, a nationwide organization of progressive activists. Steve Zimmer has also been endorsed by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Senate President Kevin de Leon.

"Under Zimmer’s leadership," wrote Winograd, "our school district has increased graduation rates from 54% to over 80%, saved arts education, early childhood education, and adult education from devastating budget cuts, promoted exciting new language immersion and science and technology magnet programs, declared our schools safe sanctuaries from immigration raids, and balanced LAUSD’s budget to earn the highest bond rating. We, progressives, will decide this important run-off election. To protect public education from Trump’s privatization agenda-- more and more charter schools operating behind closed doors, siphoning money from our school district's fixed costs, like electricity and building maintenance, as well as legacy costs, health care and debt service, I ask for your vote for Steve Zimmer and Imelda Padilla for LAUSD School Board. Yes, Zimmer and Padilla will keep the public in public school."

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