Every child deserves a public school education that develops their full potential and prepares them to thrive in the college and career of their choice. I’m ready to work with our community to
make this our reality in our LA Unified.
WHY I'M RUNNING
As a child in 1963, my mother immigrated to the United States from Chihuahua, Mexico because my grandfather saw hope in the educational opportunities of this country. Though my mom struggled with her education, she was dedicated to ensuring that I had access to the type of education that would unlock endless opportunities. And in 1994 those opportunities were unlocked within LAUSD when I was enrolled in President Avenue Elementary in sixth grade. This decision began a unique set of experiences that have propelled me to be an advocate for educational equity in Los Angeles for my entire career, continuing with the desire to serve as your school board member.
After college at Columbia University I came home and taught sixth grade - the very grade I entered LAUSD - at Stephen White Middle School. There I met students like Andrea who we served well. She completed all her assignments on time and with precision, raised her hand to ask for help, joined the cheerleading squad I coached, and this year she is starting a graduate program at Cal State Dominguez Hills. There were other students like Timothy who was not served as well - and not because we weren’t trying our best. Our school didn’t have the sports he wanted to play nor the therapist he likely needed to see; we didn’t have appropriate books at his reading level that wouldn’t embarrass him, nor the role models he might have connected with best. Timothy, as all children do, deserved public leaders who would have sought to understand the unique needs of his school and empowered his educators and community to prepare him for college graduation just as well as Andrea.
In the aftermath of the great recession and with only five years of teaching experience, I was laid off with thousands of others in 2010. I was determined to change the system for students like Timothy and teachers like me. I took that time to pursue a law degree at UCLA and became an Education Pioneers Graduate Fellow my first summer. This fellowship paired me with the organization I still call home to this day, the Partnership for LA Schools. At The Partnership I’ve been able to pursue my passion of changing the system by supporting many of our district’s highest-need schools with restorative justice, social-emotional learning, and the arts. As an educator and a lawyer, I both lead professional development and strategic planning with teachers and I advocate alongside community partners for more equitable policies and practices at LA Unified. After the teacher strike in January and the defeat of Measure EE in June, I heard quite clearly that our district needs to build trust with our community, unite around shared values for our students’ success, and inspire genuine hope for our public education system, like the hope my grandfather believed in.
While graduation rates have thankfully nearly doubled since I graduated from Narbonne High School, still less than half of our district’s graduates are eligible for public universities in our state. In an economy where the vast majority of new jobs require a college degree, our district must prepare our students for more post-secondary options. With your support, I aim to serve the children and families of our LA Unified School District as your board member for District 7 so that all of us can thrive.
For nearly 15 years Tanya Ortiz Franklin has served LAUSD students and families as an educator, leader and advocate.
Educator: For 5 years Tanya had the incredible experience of teaching sixth grade English and History at Stephen White Middle School. As a middle school teacher she witnessed first hand the challenges and opportunities teachers face in helping our children reach their full potential. This is why she will be unrelenting in her fight to make sure educators and school staff have the resources needed to set students up for academic and personal success.
Lawyer: As a law student at UCLA, she studied critical race theory and public interest law and policy, created the Education Law Society and served as the co-chair for La Raza Law Students Association, promoting racial and social justice through public service. She also worked part-time with the Partnership for LA Schools on educator growth and development, coaching teachers and principals to improve adult learning rather than meet the minimum compliance requirements. After graduation, she was a special education attorney at Mental Health Advocacy Services, helping students and families access the support they deserved.
Advocate: For the last six years, she has led the implementation of restorative justice and social-emotional learning at 18 LA Unified schools through teacher leadership, professional learning, and a team approach. She has also been in coalition with families, partners, and educators to advocate for more equitable funding and restorative approaches in LAUSD, resulting in an improved Student Equity Needs Index to allocate resources based on a holistic understanding of student needs.
Tanya is running for school board to accelerate a community-driven, expertly-supported approach to budgeting and decision-making so that all students graduate prepared to thrive in the college and career of their choice.