On Friday, 73-year-old veteran educator George McKenna was sworn in as a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. He is filling the unexpired term of MargueriteLaMotte, who died in office. He will stand for re-election in 10 months.

His opponent was Alex Johnson, 34, who worked for the County Commissioner and was supported by the charter industry. Johnson’s campaign spent $1.4 million, almost three times as much as McKenna.

As the charter industry becomes involved in more state and local school board races, these races become more expensive for ordinary citizens. It takes someone with a strong constitution to enter a race knowing that his or her opponent will have ample resources ad will outspend her or him by 3-1, 4-1, 5-1, or more.

We have seen numerous examples where the privatizers have bundled campaign contributions from allies across the nation. It is no longer unusual to see a school board race swamped with money donated by people who not only do not live in the district, but live in another state.

Thus, it is encouraging to see true friends of public education like George McKenna, Steve Zimmer, and Monica Ratliff prevail against big money. It has happened before, and it will happen again so long as we remember that commitment, integrity, and hard work can beat big money. As we say at the Network for Public Education, we are many, and they are few. We must never be discouraged. If the public is informed and turns out to vote, our friends will win.