There is a big race in Los Angeles on May 21. It is a run-off that will determine who controls the board.

There are two candidates.

One–Monica Ratliff–is a working classroom teacher, the other worked on the staff of corporate-friendly Mayor Villaraigosa and has no education experience.

The teachers’ union supported both candidates, hedging their bets.

The mayor’s candidate has the support of the super-elite, the billionaires and their surrogates who don’t like public education, disparage teachers, and defend the status quo. That candidate will have a campaign chest of at least $1 million. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City gave $350,000. Rhee gave $100,000. Eli Broad gave $250,000. More is on the way.

Monica Ratliff is Monica Ratliff. She is a teacher. She can’t campaign during the day because she teaches.

She was raised in Arizona by a single mother from Mexico. Her dad was born in Ohio; he died when Monica was 13, the oldest of 3 kids. She got a National Hispanic Scholarship to attend Columbia University. After she graduated, she went to Columbia Law School.

After Monica finished law school, she worked for the NAACP as a public interest lawyer, helping poor people with their legal problems.

After working as a public interest lawyer, Monica decided to become a teacher. She earned a masters degree in education at UCLA and got a teaching job at San Pedro Elementary school, a high-poverty school. She has been teaching there for 11 years. She has taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. Her peers chose her as their union rep for UTLA. She recently was elected to the House of Reps of UTLA.

She ran for school board this spring. She spent $14,000 and got 34% of the vote. Her opponent accumulated $1.4 million and got 44% of the vote.

The third place finisher Maria Cano has endorsed Monica, as has the retired board member of the district, Julie Korenstein. So has current board member Bennett Kayser.

She has been endorsed by Republican Supervisor Mike Antonovich on the right and Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg on the left.

Monica is still in the classroom. She doesn’t campaign between 7:30 am and 2:45 pm because she is teaching fifth grade.

The LA Times has endorsed her, because of her experience as a teacher, as has the LA Daily News.

Monica will be overwhelmingly outspent. She can win if friends of public education turn out to vote.

She needs our help.

If everyone who loves teachers sends Monica a gift of any size, she would be the best-funded candidate in the race. Send whatever you can afford.

Please help Monica Ratliff if you can.