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School Board Candidate McFrazier wants focus on students needs

Yana Gracile | May 13, 2014

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Hattie McFrazier

Hattie McFrazier

Sixth in a series of profiles of candidates for the LA Unified’s open District 1 board seat.

Community and union activist Hattie McFrazier, one of seven candidates on the ballot for LAUSD’s District 1 board seat, has worked in LA Unified for more than 30 years, giving her what she believes is a firm grasp on what District 1 needs.

As a result, she has a clear message for Superintendent John Deasy.

“Deasy needs to look at the neediest schools and start working with them and give all certificated and classified employees a raise,” McFrazier told LA School Report.  “I think this is very crucial and how you improve morale. When teachers are motivated, when staff on the campus is motivated, you will see that students will excel because they know that everyone is concerned about their welfare.”

McFrazier, 65, is one of three candidates, along with teachers Rachel Johnson and Sherlett Hendy-Newbill, who have won endorsement from the teachers union, UTLA. Her call for greater teacher support is a prism through which she views the superintendent, especially when it comes to under-served students in District 1.

She said as a board member, she would have high expectations of his support for her constituents.

“He knows what these people have sacrificed and he knows why it’s so important that District 1 receives the type of services that they need,” she said. “District 1 has been underserved for so long, and the district knows that.”

She said she would fight especially hard to make sure District 1 gets its fair share of state money for supporting English learners, children from foster care and students from low-income families — the groups for whom the new state funding law was created. She also said she would focus on college readiness and drop out prevention.

Working directly with children of low income families as a counselor and educator, she says she knows what’s going on in the district and how to motivate students.

“I’ve been entrenched in the district,” she said, adding, there are a lot of issues in District 1 that will require a lot of work.

“There’s no quick fix to anything,” she said.

While she concedes she understands the complexities of his job, saying, “I don’t blame Mr. Deasy for many of the decisions because his job as Superintendent is to make sure instruction is going on,” she nonetheless contends that the district has moved too quickly in implementing the Common Core standards. Teachers and administrators, she said, haven’t been properly trained.

But on this point, she said, “I blame the board because they make the final decision.”

McFrazier has an extensive background within the district. She has served on the Board of Education School Safety Student Health and Human Services, LAUSD District Crisis Team, UTLA’s School Reform Committee, and as director of UTLA’s Health and Human Services, among other roles.

Even though she retired as a teacher in 2012, she is still involved in LA Unified issues, serving on the UTLA Board of Directors as well as its health and human services and budget committees.

McFrazier says stakeholders have to recognize that if one area in the district is failing, then the district as a whole is failing — so community collaboration is key.

She said administrators need to “encourage partnerships between schools and faith- based organizations and other stakeholders to meet the needs of the whole child. It takes a whole community to educate a child.”

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