Tuesday, April 29, 2014

LA Dreamin: Alex Caputo-Pearl Wins Run-Off for Presidency with 80% Over Incumbent Warren Fletcher

Breaking: Alex Caputo-Pearl, the Union Power candidate for UTLA President, just defeated Warren Fletcher, the incumbent UTLA President, in the run-off election, winning 80% of the vote, completing a Union Power sweep. Alex won just short of 50% in round 1.

Alex is well-known nationally:

...half the teachers at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles found out they had been dismissed from their jobs as part of a "conversion" process. Among them was Alex Caputo-Pearl, who I first met two years ago when I reported on Crenshaw. This isn't the first time the district has attempted to remove Caputo-Pearl, an outspoken activist, from Crenshaw. In 2006, as he was organizing neighborhood parents to fight for better school resources, such as up-to-date computers, he was forcibly transferred to a more affluent school across town. Parents complained and he was eventually reinstated. Caputo-Pearl is part of a dissident, left caucus within the L.A. teachers' union, and he has written in the New York Times about why he has become a critic of Teach for America. He opposes tying teacher evaluation and pay to student test scores, and is critical of the expansion of the charter school sector. 
---- Dana Goldstein"An Activist Teacher, a Struggling School, and the School Closure Movement: A Story from L.A.", May 2013
For those who say only a caucus with a bread and butter program can win, we give you the latest developments.

We expected Alex to win but this is overwhelming. Alex was in the first class of Teach for America over 20 years ago but never left the classroom. He did social justice work and was a target of administrators for his organizing ability.

Back in the summer of 2009 I went to LA with Megan Behrent and Sally Lee for meetings with unionists from Washington DC, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and LA. We learned a hell of a lot. On my last day I had the wonderful experience of hanging out with the crew from CORE when they were invited over to Alex' house for breakfast. What deep education conversations took place, especially between Alex and CORE's Jackson Potter and Kritsine Mayle, both of whom were helping run the Chicago TU less than a year later.

The LA people had a share of power on the Exec Bd, went backwards in the next election but formed new coalitions with Alex leading the way.

The CORE crew from Chicago also had to take part in a runoff after getting about a third of the vote. In the runoff against the Unity Caucus-equivalent caucus in power, they captured over 60%. The broom sweeps clean.

One of our friends from DC who was at the 2009 event, Candi Peterson, is not VP of the Washington Teachers Union.

It is astounding that the ed press has such little recognition of this revolution going on in so many urban school systems, mostly from the impact of ed deform and the collaborative nature of the union leadership in power for so long. 

Of course MORE, in the belly of the beast, with a Unity Caucus still powerful and geared up to fight off any challenge from the school level up, has a long way to go.

Randi is smart enough to recognize this threat and she has been taking mildly stronger stances -- but always watch what she does, not what she says. Remember - she joined the original board of inBloom, now defunct and buried (by Leonie). Her instincts are ed deform, but she is no dummy - Alex's victory by such a large margin will get her attention.

Of course we will see the ultra left attack Alex for not being willing to drive the union off a cliff. And there will be attacks on Alex from the right and ed deform crew in general.

Below the jump are just a few links to EdNotes articles mentioning Alex - Or just use the search box.

May 02, 2013
Among them was Alex Caputo-Pearl, who I first met two years ago when I reported on Crenshaw. This isn't the first time the district has attempted to remove Caputo-Pearl, an outspoken activist, from Crenshaw. In 2006, as he ...
Mar 22, 2014
Recent campaign appearances by Alex Caputo-Pearl at schools around LA Unified have ignited a dispute among candidates for UTLA offices who say election rules — such as they are – are being applied unfairly.
Mar 21, 2014
Yet social justicy people like Alex Caputo-Pearl seem to be winning urban teacher union elections like in Chicago, Milwaukee, a good showing in Newark, people running in Seattle and Portland and probably other places I ...
Mar 21, 2014
The progressive organizing slate—Union Power—swept the officer and Board of Directors elections, with a run-off for president in April. Our presidential candidate, Alex Caputo-Pearl got 48% of the vote, Warren Fletcher (the ...

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