GUEST OP/ED - Most politicians spend a great deal of their time promoting themselves. They get one or two measures they sponsored passed, then spend the vast majority of their time tooting their own horns, spending little time on the real problems that the organizations they serve inevitably face.
LAUSD School Board Member Scott Schmerelson is not one of those kinds of leaders. A lifetime educator, Schmerelson has instead dedicated himself to the hard work of putting his experience to work for the students, the district, the board, and the entire LAUSD.
Consider his record of accomplishments, which includes visiting every school campus in his district numerous times, meeting with parents, administrators, teachers, and students. Virtually every school campus can highlight projects that Schmerelson has championed, getting the funding passed by the Board of Education when needed, and/or shepherding the project(s) through the sometimes-stifling LAUSD bureaucracy.
Scott Schmerelson has also used his experience as a principal and as a teacher to promote collaboration between stakeholders that marked his time as a school leader. He knows that the best schools are schools where parents, administrators, teachers and health and human services employees and students work together to make decisions, establish budgets, and implement them. He has been a strong supporter of School Based Management and other local site decision making powers for well over 30 years and encourages every school he visits to make collaboration among stakeholders one of their top goals. He has always believed that the best decisions regarding a variety of issues is done at the school site level, rather than being imposed from the top of the district down.
“In my 35 years as a Special Education teacher, I have never seen a school board member who works so hard for the schools of the LAUSD,” said Lucia Arias, a recent retiree. “Scott understands what schools need because he has been there in the trenches. He is a tremendous advocate for all of our schools, and especially the schools in his district.”
Scott Schmerelson has also been champion of a variety of issues that reflect the diversity of the LAUSD. He authored the resolution that established an LAUSD commemoration of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, which includes having schools closed on that important day to facilitate remembrances citywide.
He also worked hard to be sure that the LAUSD not only recognizes the Holocaust and pushes back against antisemitism of all kinds but has authored resolutions that make these important topics part of the LAUSD Curriculum.
Additionally, Scott Schmerelson has promoted the social justice curriculum, including the model curriculum for Ethnic Studies as adopted by the California State Board of Education. As a school district with a majority of its students from underrepresented minority groups, he knows how important it is for schools to teach students from diverse backgrounds about the history of their ethnic groups in addition to the usual Social Studies and English Curriculum.
“Experience really does matter,” said Arias. “Scott Schmerelson puts his years of experience in education and on the school board to work for the parents, students, teachers and administrators of the LAUSD.”
[Editor’s Note: Scott Schmerelson is running for his 3rd and last term at the LAUSD board election, district 3.]
(Mihran Kalaydjian is a consummate leading member of the community and a devoted civic engagement activist for education spearheading numerous academic initiatives in local political forums.)
(Gregg Solkovits is President of Democrats for Israel – Los Angeles and is a 36+ year Social Studies and English teacher.)