The election for the Los Angeles USD school board is Tuesday. Once again, the charter industry is trying to buy control of the school board. Once again, the charter billionaires are dumping obscene amounts of money into the races in different districts.

In District 2, Charter QueenPin Monica Garcia is facing tough competition from two strong opponents: parent Carl Petersen and teacher Lisa Alva. If Garcia does not get 51% of the vote, there will be a runoff.

The Network for Public Action Fund has endorsed both Petersen and Alva, hoping to force a runoff and ready to back Garcia’s opponent. Garcia has never seen a charter she didn’t love or a public school that she did.

Jennifer Berkshire (the writer formerly known as EduShyster) describes her meeting with Lisa Alva. Alva is interesting because she was deeply embedded in the reform movement and then had an “aha!” moment (much like my own). She realized that “reform” was not about the kids. She was a teacher and she is about the kids. Alva won the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times, which usually sides with charterites.

Berkshire writes:

In the endorsement that Alva scored from the LA Times, she’s described as espousing an “interesting mix of beliefs, including some that align with the school reform movement and others more in line with the positions of the teachers unions.” I’d put it a different way. Alva thinks teachers deserve to have more of a voice, in part to push back against misguided reform policies, like the botched experiment that played out at Roosevelt High School. In 2010, Roosevelt was broken up into seven small schools, each with its own principal and schedule, which created some, um, logistical challenges for a high school with thousands of students. “It was this microcosm of bad policy and bad decision making,” says Alva.

By 2013, five of Roosevelt’s small schools had been re-combined—the only way that the school could remain viable, said Marshall Tuck, then CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, which took over the school in 2008. “He basically said ‘I guess we made a mistake,’” recalls Alva. Tuck is long gone; he ran for state superintendent in California as the charter guy in 2014 and lost. He’s currently accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers here. As for Roosevelt High, well, let’s just say that the patient has yet to recover. The money to pay all of those new administrative salaries had to come from somewhere, and that somewhere was classes, services for students and whole programs, like the one that trained students for careers in culinary arts. The small schools model was effective in making Roosevelt smaller; enrollment has plummeted since the Partnership assumed control of the school.

What makes Alva’s emergence as a thorn in the side of Tuck et al is that she was once an #edreform insider herself. She was a member of the Partnership’s Board of Directors, as well as a TeachPlus fellow, and a member of the teaching advisory board for Educators for Excellence, as well as Teachers for a New Unionism. She was, in other words, the reformer’s dream version of what a teacher should be: seeking out leadership opportunities and steadily improving herself in order to [insert aspirational goals here]. But Alva’s romance with the reform movement ended dramatically in 2013 over an incident that she recounted publicly here. In short, she was deeply disturbed by how quickly the alphabet-soup’s assembly of reform organizations in LA pivoted away from their self-proclaimed mission(s) to rally support for embattled superintendent John Deasy. Alva broke up with education reform, a decision she explained in a single, satisfying sentence: “The best place for an educator to protect and promote public education is the teachers union.”