Blogger: Matthew Cecconi
One of the best parts about going to school in Los Angeles is the access that you have to many different opportunities. One of these great experiences I have had is taking classes with current Los Angeles Unified School District school board member Steve Zimmer. While also serving full time on the school board, Professor Zimmer works as an adjunct professor for one class a semester. In the fall, the class is about the current education policy debates that are going on in the school district. I am currently in his spring class where we work on specific policy issues that are going to be brought in front of the school board in the next few months.
An added benefit beyond simply working with Professor Zimmer is his ability to bring important, influential education leaders to campus. This past Wednesday night I had the opportunity to sit in a room with a number of the preeminent education leaders in the country to discuss what the needs of public schools are in the near future. Professor Zimmer began the night by introducing Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA (the Los Angeles Teachers Union) and a parent advocate to speak about the current issues that are facing students and teachers in Los Angeles. After hearing Mr. Caputo-Pearl speak multiple times, I can assure you that he definitely has the best interests of the school district in mind.
After these two speakers were done, we listened to a talk by Randi Weingarten, who is the president of the American Federation of Teachers, a national organization representing teachers. She spoke on the topic of “The Schools All Children Deserve” and gave a rallying cry to all those in the audience. She thanked former school teachers, praised current ones, and encouraged future ones. It was an incredible opportunity to be able to hear such a prominent national education leader speak in front of a group of people who are also deeply passionate about education.
I am thankful that going to Oxy has provided me with so many experiences to hear from and work with people who are in the forefront of current issues that are in the national conversation. Growing up in Los Angeles, I thought that going to school here would be very similar and that I would not use the city as a resource as much as other students who are not from the area. I am happy that I was wrong and that I am able to use the city in my education both in and out of the classroom. Thanks for letting me share a little about how going to school in Los Angeles has provided me with abundant opportunities to learn and grow in this city.