BY JAMES WERNICKE
According to the LAPS Strategic Analysis, there’s a notable discrepancy in our school community: while 30% of our students identify as Latino, none of the staff do. This raises questions about the recruitment processes and factors affecting diverse hiring. Competitive compensation may play a significant role in attracting a diverse workforce. My wife Alejandra recently considered working at one of the schools, and while she was very welcomed there, she opted for a better-paying position elsewhere.
While the report details many strengths and challenges, racism and bullying cast an undercut the achievements of our educational system. It’s concerning to see such emphasis on these issues, especially when some students feel that their experiences aren’t always acknowledged or believed by adults in the school.
Civic responsibility is a cornerstone of public education. We ask a lot from our educators, but it’s imperative that the school takes proactive measures. Hiring staff that reflect the diversity of the student body can create a more inclusive environment where students feel understood and represented. LAPS must commit to tangible steps, such as setting clear timelines for diversified hiring.
The report also notes that parental engagement is lacking. Parents can and should reach out to their local school, seeking avenues to be more involved, supporting not only their children but also the broader school community. It’s within our power to recognize the issues, like racism, impacting our students. We can inspire our children to rise above prejudice and challenge biases. It is also a shared responsibility: LAPS must increase parental engagement initiatives.
The future of our school community relies on collective action and accountability. Right now, let’s commit to being a community where no student feels excluded and all stakeholders are involved in shaping our schools’ success.