Teachers STAND STEADY with Terry & Don for Board of Education

At our September Torrance Teachers Association Representative Council meeting, upon the recommendation of the TTA Board of Directors and the TTA -PAC, Reps voted to endorse incumbents Terry Ragins and Don Lee for the Torrance Unified Board of Education.

How does the endorsement process work? 

The TTA-PAC (Political Action Committee) met this summer on multiple occasions to write a new questionnaire for 2015 School Board candidates focused on our local issues.  Each candidate was sent the questionnaire and invited to participate in our interview panel to meet the TTA-PAC and discuss their answers. Each of the four candidates (Don Lee, Terry Ragins, Clint Paulson, and G. Rick Marshall) completed their questionnaire and participated in the interview process. Each was there to share their platform and seek TTA’s name, TTA and CTA PAC financial support, and access to TTA members.

Each candidate spoke 30-45 with the panel and multiple hours with TTA leadership and staff even before the interviews. At the end of the interviews, the PAC discussed the candidate’s platforms and answers, then ranked each candidate based on a rubric. Incumbents Terry Ragins and Don Lee were by far in the top tier, while challengers Clint Paulson and G. Rick Marshall formed the bottom tier. The committee then made their recommendations to the TTA Board of Directors and Representative Council–both of whom approved the TTA-PAC’s recommendation. The candidates were notified of their standings and Terry Ragins and Don Lee were officially given TTA/CTA’s support.

Why Don Lee and Terry Ragins?

During the interview process and in outside dialog with the challengers, it was clear that Mr. Marshall and Mr. Paulson were accusing TTA that if we didn’t endorse them, that TTA would be settling for the status quo rather than “sending a message” for change. However TTA Leaders based their decision on substance and criterion, rather than change for change’s sake. Matter of fact we chose to recommend that TTA STAND STEADY with Terry Ragins and Don Lee because they are known supporters of public education with experience, institutional knowledge, and a proven steady hand in times of great crisis and/or change.

Terry Ragins and Don Lee deeply understand the TUSD culture and are committed to forging change, building, and rebuilding from within. Terry Ragins and Don Lee share TTA’s core values and mission to improve students’ learning environments and teachers’ work environments. As this campaign has played out over candidate forums, internet blogging, and meeting with the public, Terry Ragins’ and Don Lee’s voices have been the ones of reason in a field grown noisy with ugly innuendo, name calling, and fear mongering. Rising above the fray, Don Lee and Terry Ragins are fighting for kids and promoting their positive vision of TUSD’s future.

Don Lee has pointed out on the campaign trail that he and Terry Ragins both have deep roots and historical knowledge in Torrance and TUSD. He is a product of Torrance schools. His wife and his four children are West area schooled. Terry has volunteered in North area schools (and later in all Torrance schools) since 1992, when her two sons started elementary school at Yukon Elementary. They understand the California educational landscape with educators in the family and service on site councils, Torrance Education Foundation, and PTA boards. TTA leadership believes that continuing with and building upon our tested relationships and the candidates’ experience are important factors in our recommendation.

Terry Ragins and Don Lee continue to commit taxpayer dollars to the classroom rather than lining the pockets of lawyers with redundant, unnecessary lawsuits. They focus on accountability and solving problems rather than name calling and misleading blame games. They are knowledgeable and invested in helping teachers and students implement mandated state standards. They work with the citizenry to ensure that educating our children is a community-wide endeavor. They seek input from stakeholder groups rather than rain innuendo and insults at them to score cheap political points. We STAND STEADY with the only two candidates in this race who are building up our district rather than tearing it down for political gain. Both Don Lee and Terry Ragins have stepped in to defend Torrance Teachers and our students on the campaign trail. They acknowledge that our teachers and our union work hard for the children in Torrance, and that children ARE our special interest.

In an election that traditionally has a small turnout, it is essential that we teachers spread the word that we STAND STEADY with TERRY RAGINS and DON LEE. It is vital that we talk to parents, our friends, our family, our neighbors about why we are supporting Terry Ragins and Don Lee. It is imperative that we show up at the polls and vote to ensure that we have a board of education willing to work with us. Our endorsement and support is a recognition that these two candidates have committed to run a campaign dedicated to serve our children. So STAND STEADY by “sending a message” to the challengers that vision and ideas matter more than demagoguery and partisan guilt by association tactics–Vote for TERRY RAGINS and DON LEE on NOVEMBER 3rd!!

Julie Shankle
President Torrance Teachers Association

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