Dr. David Lopez-Lee On the Issues

Issue statements by candidates are quoted from public media statements either direct or edited for brevity.

 

Covid-19

While we are confronted with perhaps the worst pandemic of our lives, we are also faced with the opportunity to create a more resilient Moorpark. How well we equip our school district to deal with COVID-19 right now will impact how well we might face future calamities. We have to effect a quality education for our children (to allow many of their parents to easily work), balanced against the risk of COVID-19 exposure (social distancing safeguards alone reduce educational space requirements by about 50%). Across the country, three types of plans for educating our children are logically before us: in-class learning; on-line distance learning; and a blend of both. The blended plan favored by MUSD officials and families, combines on-line and on-campus access, students being cleverly split into morning and afternoon groups. Grouping in this way lessens the number of kids on campus at one time. This allows them to be 6 feet apart in classrooms and keeps them from having to wear masks for more than 3 hours per day. 

 

As with all other School Districts in California, Governor Newsom’s criteria for resuming in class teaching must be met.  Even so, the contextual learning tasks will be daunting: getting young children to properly wear masks, childcare concerns, sibling clusters, special needs children. When teachers become infected, they have to consider how and when to use substitute teachers. Which raises the question, what is the trigger point (some combination of infection rates for children and faculty) for shutting off in-class learning efforts?  The infection risks are complicated, but the biggest issue is still before us: the job of providing an innovative quality education. All things considered, there is a clear need to bring everyone to the problem-solving table—the public and private sectors, students, parents, faculty, staff, non-profits … everyone.

Management of loss of enrollment and revenue

Charter schools impact on public schools in the district

School support from outside businesses and community groups

The revenue that is lost because of declining enrollment, especially during this pandemic, makes it difficult to sustain the continuity of classroom instruction (due to lost faculty and staff). Recent surveys show that people now realize (with their children being at home) how important faculty are to their well-being, both academically and economically. The citizenry may now be more willing to pass local “taxing streams” that are “progressive in nature,” and/or pursue big businesses that benefitted from recent massive tax breaks—businesses may be hard pressed not to sustain our schools during these difficult economic times. Charter schools don’t make sense, especially in today’s setting—their accountability and performance records are dismal—especially problematic is their “cherry-picking” of students and faculty.

 

Cultural curricula 

Of the three domains of learning (Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor/Behavioral), educators believe that the most difficult to deal with is the Affective (emotion, feeling) domain, largely because of its subjective, internally experienced, character. Affect is manifested by such “soft” emotionally laden cultural activities as art, music and dance. These “soft” human activities, unlike the “hard” sciences, are highlighted by their diversity.  Such diversity being a likely consequence of how they were given birth--via the confluence of so many cultures coming together in these United States. Unfortunately, it is these “softer” rather than the “harder” areas, that School Boards cut. This cultural fusion of almost 400 years has given us some of the greatest music, art, theater and movies the world has ever seen. From such diversity has sprung forth the “outside the box” thinking that made us the industrial leader of the world. I will support this gift of cultural diversity, as well as  its expression in theater and entertainment venues.

 

Student work opportunities

I envision Moorpark’s Board of Education engaging with all relevant stakeholders (the private sector, non-profits, 2- and 4-year colleges, and other levels of government) to better assist in the placement of students in the real world of work beginning in the eighth grade, for at least one hour a week, paid for or not.

Post-graduation and career preparation

The latter area is addressed at my website. And the former area, continuing in the same vein, the private and public sectors should, along with non-profits—in close engagement with colleges and universities—provide post-graduate guidance. I wrote extensively on career education in a paperback (entitled “Career Education: Its implications for America’s Minorities,” 1975, Ohio State University) in which I cautioned against the potential for early discriminatory “tracking” in the guidance provided by such endeavors.

 

Remedies to systemic racism

Provide yearly workshops on the identification of ”unconscious bias,” and structure-in redundant standard operating procedures in all decision-making points so identified. And, at such decision-making points, two people selected from different parts of the organizations should be assigned.

 

Digital and other new education technologies

Distance learning, because of the pandemic, will have produced innovation upon innovation. We must establish a support network for the sharing of such information. Such a network will do much to reduce the “boring” characterization of student’s classes.  

 

Cultural curricula 

Of the three domains of learning (Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor/Behavioral), educators believe that the most difficult to deal with is the Affective (emotion, feeling) domain, largely because of its subjective, internally experienced, character. Affect is manifested by such “soft” emotionally laden cultural activities as art, music and dance. These “soft” human activities, unlike the “hard” sciences, are highlighted by their diversity.  Such diversity being a likely consequence of how they were given birth--via the confluence of so many cultures coming together in these United States. Unfortunately, it is these “softer” rather than the “harder” areas, that School Boards cut. This cultural fusion of almost 400 years has given us some of the greatest music, art, theater and movies the world has ever seen. From such diversity has sprung forth the “outside the box” thinking that made us the industrial leader of the world. I will support this gift of cultural diversity, as well as  its expression in theater and entertainment venues.

 

Prioritization of STEM versus liberal arts curricula

My website (dlopezlee.com) is essentially a summary of an article I wrote directly on this, entitled Science and Humanism in the Public Service: A Philosophical Perspective, 1980. This perspective is inferred from our daily activities—our works and the things that we enjoy are driven by both their “hard” scientific character (STEM areas), counterbalanced by art, music and dance, or “softer” areas.  We need both in our schools.

 

Is engagement of School District leadership with parents and community currently sufficient? Explain

I envision Moorpark’s Board of Education engaging with all relevant stakeholders (the private sector, non-profits, 2- and 4-year colleges, and other levels of government) assisting in the placement of students in the real world of work beginning in the eighth grade, for at least one hour a week, paid for or not. We have become a public of strangers…a public which no longer trusts, no longer values its institutions. Many of today’s elected officials actually fuel this disengagement. If we care about our fellow Americans…our Country, we need more, rather than less, engagement with our public institutions and each other. Working closely with our School District, on task forces and committees will go a long way in bringing us all together.

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