A reader writes:

Shakedown Artists

A number of billboards have gone up recently in LAUSD board member and candidate for re-election, Monica Garcis’s district two months before school board elections. They read, ‘ Dream Big – Arts education fuels creative thinking’ and include a picture of a thirteen year old Monica Garcia. This billboard was funded by LA Fund (lafund.org), a non-profit group founded in 2011 by her political allies LAUSD Superintendent and former Deputy Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, John Deasy and Megan Chernin. One of the LA Fund projects is Arts Matter which was started in response to the deep cuts to arts education in Los Angeles. Their website points
out that ‘In four years, the LAUSD has gone from running a nationally recognized arts education program’, to today struggling to piece together a drastically reduced and inequitable program. However, neither the website nor billboards point out that it was Monica Garcia and John Deasy who cut the arts program to the bone and created this crisis in the first place!

The LA Fund website points out how the arts promote creative thinking while at the same time, Deasy and Garcia have supported a stripped down curriculum focused on standardized tests. To put it simply, they have created a phony crisis by cutting the arts and are now using that very crisis to ask for monetary donations to be made to Deasy’s foundation. And how is that money used? The LA Fund website states that ‘All proceeds raised throughout Arts Matter will directly support arts integration in LA. public schools’ when in fact, a great deal of their money is being used to create billboards of Monica Garcia! This is the same Monica Garcia who recently let the school board know how she feels about funding programs supported by the community. She suggested that, instead of funding the arts, adult and early childhood education, LAUSD should spend $500,000 on ipads for each student! It is also important to point out that Superintendent Deasy is an employee of LAUSD supervised by Ms. Garcia who has voted in favor of a number of raises for Deasy in the time since he founded the LA Fund.

The bottom line………Deasy created a crisis, created a non-profit to collect money to fix it and instead spends it on political ads for the woman who helped create the crisis and is responsible for his employment.

Matt Kogan