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#WeChoose: A Critical Conversation about Public Education


The electrifying #WeChoose campaign comes to Los Angeles! In today’s political climate, more than ever, it is urgent for local communities to control how education is administered in their neighborhoods. The #WeChoose campaign explodes the “illusion of school choice” to propel the national movement for community driven school improvement. Join us for a critical conversation with New York’s Zakiyah Ansari, Oakland’s Mike Hutchinson, and Los Angeles' Rudy Gonzalves. Moderated by Karen Wolfe.
SATURDAY August 25, 2018 - 2:15pm to 3:30pm
Room 5


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Karen Wolfe founded PSconnect to connect public schools to our westside community through parent and public engagement. She cut her teeth on education politics at a grassroots level, as an elected representative to local school governance committees and as co-chair of the Venice Neighborhood Council Education Committee. Under new leadership, the obscure committee redirected its focus to recommending policy to City and County officials based on community input on several hotbed issues impacting Venice schools: Prop 39 charter co-locations; LAUSD’s Pearson-iPad scandal; and draconian cuts to LAUSD’s Venice Skills Center. A communications professional, Karen is a spokesperson for public school parents, ensuring that perspective has been included in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, on NPR affiliates KCRW and KPCC, and through public speaking. She writes for education and political blogs like The Progressive, CityWatchLA, the LA Progressive, K12 News Network, the Badass Teachers Association, and the blog of the influential education historian Diane Ravitch.

Speaker 1

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New York State Alliance for Quality Education
Zakiyah Ansari is the Advocacy Director of the New York State Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), the leading educational ​justice​ organization in New York State. The mother of eight children and grandparent of three, Zakiyah has dedicated almost 20 years of her life to the fight for educational justice and ending the oppression of Black and brown people. In 2013 ​Zakiyah c​o-initiated a national grassroots movement, “Journey for Justice,” an alliance of community-based organizations from over 24​ cities that have been impacted by the​ harmful policies of school​ closings, turnaround, and corporate charter ​expansion in communities of color. Zakiyah was recently named one of City and State magazines "25 Most Influential in Brooklyn"​.

Speaker 2

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OPEN - Oakland Public Education Network
Mike Hutchinson is the founder of OPEN, Oakland Public Education Network, an organization centered around coming together for quality, public, neighborhood schools for all of Oakland, California. OPEN is a founding member of the Journey4Justice national alliance and the west coast's lead group for the #WECHOOSE campaign led by Chicago community activist Jitu Brown.

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LAANE - Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy
Rudy Gonzalves is the Director of the education campaign team at the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). LAANE is a core partner of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Los Angeles, currently working on campaigns such as the Schools LA Students Deserve, as well as an initiative to promote community schooling within LAUSD. He has nearly 20 years of experience with labor and community alliances in building political and electoral power for workers and communities of color. He was a Statewide Coordinator for California Calls, a grassroots coalition to engage underrepresented voters. He is an attorney and attended U.C. Hastings College of the Law.

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