On Tuesday night, George McKenna won a hard fought election for the District 1 vacant seat on the Los Angeles Unified School Board. Once the election results are finalized (in the next couple days or weeks), he will be sworn in. The voters have spoken. Democracy has been served. I congratulate him—he won fair and square and he earned it. Not appointed, elected!
Our engagement in public life must remain significant. This cannot be accomplished unless we turn our attention to future leadership.
As I've written before, there's a huge disparity in our public schools. In California, 18 percent of high school students fail to graduate in four years. For African American students, the dropout rate is 30 percent, and for Latino students the dropout rate is 23 percent.
The future success of African American in LA relies on two essential tasks: Improving the academic achievement of African American students, and deepening the engagement of African Americans in civic life and politics. The two tasks are inseparable.
African American political clout will empower us to achieve improvements we need in our schools. Dramatic school improvement in our community is a task we must give our priority attention like never before. Our future is on the line in education.
The problems of public education are large, and it will take a community-wide effort to close the gap. We must come together now, for the sake of all of our children. Tensions are always high in a tough election, but that time is now passed. George McKenna is a sincere and decent man, and I look forward to working with him and others however I can, to help Los Angeles schools more effectively educate our children.