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Gutierrez to run for State Superintendent
of Public Instruction

Lydia Gutierrez, a long-time California educator and an elected official on the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, formally announced her candidacy for State Superintendent of Instruction.

Gutierrez is a public school teacher who has taught for over 20 years from kindergarten to 8th grade. She holds a master’s degree in Education, BCLAD certified and a Master Teacher for the UCLA Mathematics Project. She is also a Fellow in Writing with Cal-State Long Beach and has been a presenter at the Los Angeles Teachers Mathematics Association.

Formerly, she worked in the aerospace industry as an Administrator and acting Cost Estimating Supervisor, overseeing contract agreements, scheduling, and budget costs.

Gutierrez has served on the Neighborhood Council for six years and currently serves on that Council’s Education and Budget & Finance Committee.

In making her announcement, Gutierrez issued a scathing critique of the California education system’s scheduled move to the National Common Core Standards Program.

She pointed out that the state standards overhaul to incorporate Common Core do not reach the academic bar of excellence and was created without any evidence base practice.

“The California educational system is in disarray,” Gutierrez said. “And Common Core mandates are not the answer.  School districts across the states will be forced to settle for mediocrity under the cover-up name of ‘College and Career Ready.’”

In her critique, Gutierrez pointed out that parent and local control is pivotal in every child’s academic success.

“Parents need to know that when they have a concern about their child, they will be heard, and local boards offer the best avenue to hear them. What is disturbing about the move towards Common Core is that parents, teachers and educational scholars were shut out in the development of these standards,” Gutierrez said. “Presently, school districts and charter schools across the state are scrambling to secure curriculum that will teach these new standards. The question is where are the oversight review boards allowing parents and teachers transparency for review before adopting this new curriculum? I believe any curriculum that is adopted by a school district or charter school, should be reviewed by the public. This is a requirement I would like to see in every school’s bylaws.”

“What is even more troubling,” Gutierrez continued, “is that Common Core Standards are owned by two private organizations, the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Chief Council of State School Officers (CCSSO). Neither organization has legislative authority and nor are they accountable to the public. The Common Core Standards cannot be changed or adjusted because they own the copyright which means closing the door of any discussion between parents and educators.”

Gutierrez went on to say that what is dramatically affecting California schools is the constant bombardment of legislative laws and regulations that place a severe financial burden on schools without providing the proper funding.

“In desperation, schools have had to decimate their foundations by funding part-time nurses, counselors, librarians, music instructors, speech therapists, and having to deal with less custodian services, fewer or no aides, and the closing of vocational training programs,” Gutierrez said.  “These resources and services are all critical in developing a well-rounded child. What people fail to realize is that these jobs were once full-time positions for every school in the1960’s, but now they are barely present, and it has been the classroom teacher who has had to fill in the gap while having to endure a revolving door of administrative requirements year after year.”

The result has been that many districts have turned to grant monies to help support the goal of academic excellence. These grants have strings of accountability attached thus requiring another task for the teacher to document.   In the environment of High Stake Testing, children are mercilessly over-tested all in preparation for the final End of the Year Test.

Her critique went on to say that, in the wave of technology for the future, teaching a child on a computer how to move and click a mouse is far from preparing a child to be ‘College and Career Ready.’

“Humanities, the soft sciences, are what create a child’s higher order thinking skills. It is not the ability to respond to someone else’s creative computer program,” said Gutierrez. “Art, drama, music, literature all play an important role in creating an emotionally-balanced, educated child.”

Gutierrez said that what should be of concern in this mantra of ‘College and Career Ready’ is that we do not have the amount of qualified teachers to teach vocational classes or the funding for room setup. At present, school districts and charter schools are using every cent on developing, training and printing for Common Core curriculum.

“In a move of hypocrisy, Governor Brown allowed 30 adult and career educational schools to close in Los Angeles totaling 72 statewide while to promote ‘College and Career Ready’ education for California students,” Gutierrez said. “He did not want our K-12 monies supporting these vocational programs for our youth, but pushed it off to our over-crowded community colleges, which are now offering classes to the highest bidder because of the over-crowding. The fact that there is not enough funding for this educational direction, demonstrates that we are all in a word manipulation game and not working toward the academic success of our children.”

Gutierrez said that the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction is responsible for the oversight of public educational monies and to be a voice for the academic well-being of California education.

“I am running to create transparency and accountability of the tax dollars allocated to education and assure that those dollars are making it in the hands that need it most, our schools, Gutierrez said. “I do not support Common Core as a valid measuring tool to bring about academic success when it has not been piloted to prove its academic success and directly takes parent and local control away,” Gutierrez said.