Thursday, May 14, 2009

Speaking to the LAUSD Board: No on 1D

I was asked to make comments to the LAUSD School Board to urge the board members to pass a resolution opposing Proposition 1D. It was my first time in the Board room. Going up to the podium was a little bit nerve wracking, but luckily I managed to get through it with 5 seconds to spare on my 3 minute comment:

• Good afternoon. My name is Jennifer Kuida and I am the Director of Childcare at Little Tokyo Service Center. With me is Meliza Roa-Arreola, our Family Literacy Program Manager at Angelina Preschool. Our preschool is located a few blocks from here in Echo Park. Thank you for allowing me to speak to you today.

• Little Tokyo Service Center has been a grantee of First 5 LA’s Family Literacy Initiative for the past 7 years. One of 22 grantees in our program, we have served 90 families with a highly intensive 4 component program, including full-day year-round early childhood education, adult education where we offer daily ESL and computer classes, weekly parenting education, and provide opportunities for parent and child interactive literacy activities, such as our Lending Library, Mommy and Me, Read-A-Thon, and parents reading to their children every night before they go to sleep.

* Proposition 1D would rob our children of the most important early learning opportunities needed for school success. School readiness programs, family literacy skills-building classes, and access to preschool give our children the greatest chance for school success.

* We have these programs in LAUSD because of First 5 LA and Proposition 10 funding. Now, when we need these programs most, state leaders want to cut them to balance their budget … and, I might add, a very small portion of the state budget.

* First 5 LA’s family literacy programs like Little Tokyo Service Center’s Angelina Preschool Family Literacy program are proven successes. Our program works to improve the literacy skills of parents and preschool children, engages parents to
become involved in their child’s school once their children enter the school district, and teaches families the importance of reading as a key to learning and, ultimately, as a key to success in life.

* First 5 LA-funded family literacy programs have improved literacy levels of both parents and children, and have resulted in families bringing many more books into their homes, and a number of positive benefits that are known to boost students’ success rates.

* The education safety net in Los Angeles County is at risk if Proposition 1D passes on May 19th. Proposition 1D is so over reaching that it takes almost 67 percent of First 5 LA’s yearly funding. We don’t think that’s fair.

* The children of Los Angeles County should not have to pay this high a price to balance the state budget. This ballot measure is completely deceptive.

In closing, We’d like to thank you on behalf of children and families in Los Angeles and our Family Literacy Program and urge you to support this resolution opposing Proposition 1D.

(The resolution to Oppose Prop 1D passed at the May 12 LAUSD Board meeting).

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