Three LAUSD school board positions are up for grabs, and the upcoming vote that could have a significant impact on Southland children’s education and future has attracted national attention.
One of President Barack Obama's closest Hollywood confidants is getting involved. Actress Eva Longoria spent Wednesday afternoon stumping for LA School Board candidate Kate Anderson.
"There are important changes that need to be made, and we should be at the forefront of those changes and of that progress," Longoria said. "So for me going from the national campaign of Obama to local politics, I feel the weight is just as heavy."
Longoria is just the latest high-profile supporter for the first-time candidate.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has donated upwards of $1 million to an independent fund supporting Anderson, who has also garnered the endorsement of education reform advocate Michelle Rhee.
All support charter schools, using standardized tests in helping evaluate teachers, and reforming teacher tenure.
"The way we judge who is in front of my daughters, we judge it based on seniority and we don’t look at teacher effectiveness," said Anderson, who has twin daughters in third grade. "This is the biggest thing we have to change."
Anderson’s opponent, incumbent Steve Zimmer, is backed by United Teachers Los Angeles, the union that has opposed the reform agenda of current superintendent John Deasy.
Zimmer said he is seeking a third way to find areas of change, while involving rank-and-file teachers and the union leadership.
"The way I like to characterize it is I try to build divine coalitions instead of waging holy wars," Zimmer said. "So far in the campaign, the forces that are backing my opponent seem hell bent on a holy war."
Many believe LA's grappling with education reform could have a profound impact on the rest of the nation.
"Los Angeles should be leading the way for education," Longoria said.