February 2016

By Andrew Fisher

It seems that the majority of trustees  on  the  Orange  Unified School  District  Board  have  no concern for education, students or teachers – just politics and developers!

That’s the only thing that can explain why this board failed to appoint Andrea Yamasaki to the vacant Trustee Area One seat that voters  must  now  fill  in  the  up-coming March 1 all-mail special election.

As a district principal for over 18  years,  from  all  ends  of  this district, from Silverado Elementary to Lampson and in-between, including Canyon Hills, I’ve had a front row seat and, quite frankly,  suspect  political  “backroom deals”  by  the  board  majority.  I know the communities, students, parents and teachers from across this  district  expect  better,  and know this election really matters.

I totally agree with OUSD Boardmember  Mark  Wayland:  “In most elections, the line separating  the  candidates  is  usually very thin. In this election, it can’t be more stark. Andrea Yamasaki is probably one of the most qualified individuals that has ever run for a position on the OUSD school board. The choice for voters cannot be easier, a candidate with a proven track record of dedication to the district.”

OUSD  parents,  teachers  and students  couldn’t  agree  more.  The record shows, however, that only a few on this board have a clue about what actually goes on in the district classrooms – except for a few platitudes, award hand outs, and  handshakes at  infrequent monthly board meetings.

Andrea  Yamasaki  does  have a clue.  That’s why you must be sure to mark your mail-in ballot for Andrea Yamasaki, and drop it in the mail no later than midnight, March 1.

Unlike this failed board, where the majority of its members have no kids in OUSD schools or any education  training,  Andrea  will not expect teachers to teach from their desks.  Andrea will expect them to be at the side of their students.

Andrea does not expect principals to lead their campuses from their offices.  She will expect them to be out in classrooms, on campus and out in front of school in the morning and afternoon, meeting with students and parents.

Andrea will not expect district staff to work from their offices. She  will  expect  them  to  visit campuses,  observing  instruction techniques,  supporting  teachers, and seeing that programs are being  implemented  the  right  way, to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century.

As  experience  shows, Andrea will not govern from the OUSD dais, but will get into our communities and see for herself what is happening with students, parents and teachers. She will ask critical questions  about  instruction,  and for proof that any bond money or instructional dollars will be spent wisely.

And Andrea will seek solutions to the tough problems OUSD will continue to face in the years ahead: instruction, board involvement,  school  programs,  student success, an open enrollment stampede, charter schools and teacher training.  She will force this board to finally stand up and take notice of what is going on around them – and do something about it!

Politicians do what they think is politically expedient. Andrea Yamasaki will do what she knows is right.  She will fight for children, teachers and parents – not political cronyism or developer donors.

Andrew Fisher has been in education for 46 years and an OUSD principal for 18 years.  He was the only principal in the country to bring two schools out of Program Improvement, and brought High Performing and California Distinguished Schools to OUSD and National Blue Ribbon recognition. Now retired, Andy is a consultant for the Orange County Department of Education. 

Guest Commentary:

An educator endorses Andrea Yamasaki