Dear President Dean Vogel,
When I decided to run for office as an education reformer, I knew the day might come when I would be attacked and misrepresented by your organization. Even though I have worked in many traditional public schools, I knew my recent affiliation with charter schools might have you paint me as public enemy number one. Sadly, these expectations were met and then exceeded.
Even though your mail pieces and calls imply my views are otherwise, I am completely against vouchers, turning all public schools into charters, or any privatization of public schools. As I have said many times before to you, we actually agree on 90% of the issues.
We agree on smaller classrooms, more professional development, more use of teachers’ voices in schools and school districts, and a richer curriculum beyond standardized tests. Most of all, we agree that our current system is broken and the fact that our state is among the lowest in per pupil funding is unacceptable.
And I’ve also shared that we have two major differences that I will not back down from:
# 1. I will stand up for ALL neighborhood public schools.
In the 46th Assembly District, we have lots of types of different schools. Whether a school is a charter school like Riverside Elementary, Sherman Oaks Elementary, or Colfax Elementary; a magnet school like programs at Walter Reed Middle School and North Hollywood High School; or a district public school like Grant High School and Vista Middle School, I will fight for all of our students at these schools.
#2. It’s time that we evolve our evaluations of teachers and principals.
I agree with AFT President Randi Weingarten when she says that we need teacher evaluations to “take into account multiple measures: classroom observations, portfolio review, appraisal of lesson plans, and all the other tools we use to measure student learning.” In any job, receiving constructive feedback and feeling a sense of accountability will improve an employee’s performance. Teachers have one of the largest responsibilities in our community to prepare our youth; therefore, the stakes of creating a support system to accommodate their demanding jobs are even higher.
On top of the accusations I have already mentioned, you have also accused me of giving preferential treatment to wealthy students. In reality, I have done the exact opposite – I have spent my entire career trying to level the playing field so that every student gets the same access to a quality education. In fact, at Larchmont Schools, I doubled the number of Latino, African American and low-income students while also increasing student achievement. Larchmont, a group of public schools in the City of Los Angeles, now score higher than every public school in Beverly Hills.
I’m sorry that our points of disagreement have you so concerned that you are willing to misrepresent the facts to voters in my community. If I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to serve our community, I would still welcome an open and honest discussion about how we can all work together. Let’s pivot from this adult-driven conversation about what piece of paper accompanies a school’s name to actually discussing how we can best serve our children’s needs.
In summary, I believe your time and money could be better spent working together in our joint efforts against paycheck deception, for the Governor’s tax initiative, and delivering a world-class education for all of our students.
This is the time in the campaign when political insiders say or do anything to get elected. From the moment we decided to stand up for reform and change in Sacramento, we knew this day would come.
To counteract these baseless accusations, we have this created this website so that Valley residents can know the truth. As needed, we will be updating our website for YOU to stay informed. You can see an update here. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call us at 818-455-2065.
If I haven’t already had the pleasure of knocking on your door or calling you, let me introduce myself to you. My name is Brian Johnson, and I’m proud to be a Democrat running for the 46th Assembly District. I am proud to bring a lifetime of standing up for our Democratic values to fight for our community in Sacramento.
I stood up for our Democratic values when I taught first grade at a school in a low-income community and demanded that my students got the same high quality education as their wealthier peers.
I stood up for our Democratic values when I recruited over 700 teachers to teach in public schools across LA – from the North Valley to Long Beach – to fight to reform our school system.
I stood up for our Democratic values when I ran two public schools where I doubled the number of African American, Latino, and low-income students we served. I did this all while dramatically increasing our student achievement so that our schools are now among the highest performing in the state.
My lifelong commitment to Democratic values is part of the reason I have received the endorsements of Democratic giants like Richard Katz, former Democratic Majority leader in the California Assembly, Gloria Romero, former Democratic Majority leader in the California Senate, and Rick Tuttle, former Democratic City Controller and founder of LA County Young Democrats.
But today, one of my opponents – a downtown City Hall insider and professional politician – has resorted to misinformation, innuendo, and outright lies about me. From the comfort of City Hall, he has called into question my lifelong work as a Democratic Educator. Although he has received contributions from countless Republican donors, he has pulled a page out of his dirty-politics-as-usual playbook to challenge my Democratic values.
When I decided I was going to run for office, I knew that my opponents weren’t always going to play fair. I know that City Hall insiders and Sacramento politicians are often willing to say or do anything to get elected. However, I was not expecting the defenders of the status quo to get so outright desperate that they would resort to outright lies about me. My first grade students would have gotten time out for this kind of behavior.
Let me be clear: these sort of baseless attacks are the sort of politics as usual I am running against. I am running to represent the millions of Californians who have had trouble finding or keeping a job that allows them to provide for their families. I am running to represent the millions of children in our state who deserve the best quality education to give them a solid footing on the economic ladder. I am running to represent the parents that want better options for their neighborhood schools. I am running to represent the teachers who inspire and empower our students each and every day. And I am running to bring people together, across party lines, to work for a brighter future in California.
I am proud to have spent my entire career fighting for Democratic ideals and with your help can continue this fight in Sacramento. Thank you for your time, and if you have any questions on where I stand on any issues: call 818-455-2065, or click the blue button on the side of this page.
It would be an honor if you would join me in our fight for a stronger California today and a better future for our children.
1. Create Jobs of the Future- Promote Green Jobs and New Innovative Industries
2. Reform Education to Increase Local Control of Our Neighborhood Schools
3. Create New Jobs – Extend Film Tax Credits
4. Work Hard for Clean Water, Better Air Quality and Fewer Pesticides Used to Grow Our Food
5. Fight for the Valley’s Fair Share
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Please check back often for updates and ways to get involved with the campaign.