LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles elementary school teacher who scored a surprise upset win on Election Night says she's ready to make an impact for students.
Monica Ratliff won the District 6 seat on the Board of Education by spending a modest $52,000 on her campaign, compared with her union-backed rival Antonio Sanchez, who spent an estimated $2.2 million.
Ratliff, 43, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO she's grateful voters considered her experience as a fifth-grade teacher at San Pedro Elementary in downtown L.A. over the amount of her campaign cash.
"I was just thrilled," Ratliff said. "I appreciate the opportunity; I appreciate the voters being able to look past the money."
One of the areas to which Ratliff plans to bring renewed focus is vocational education, which involves training students for technical occupations and preparing them to enter the workplace with viable skill sets.
Ratliff said voters in her district — which includes Arleta, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Reseda, San Fernando, Sylmar, and other parts of the San Fernando Valley — are voicing concerns about cuts to vocational education.
"I went to a voter's house, and she said, 'My husband's a carpenter and he bought this house on his salary as a carpenter,'" Ratliff said. "'Why have we cut vocational education?' I thought that was a great point."
The 12-year teaching veteran believes her colleagues can benefit from similar training, which is why she's pushing for an upgrade in professional development for teachers to improve classroom performance.
In the wake of the abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary, Ratliff wants the district to ensure there are enough assistant principals at LAUSD campuses in order to prevent similar allegations in the future.
"An assistant principal frees the principal up to be walking through the school, going into the classrooms, seeing the teachers, keeping their finger on the pulse of the school, which is essential," said Ratliff.
"At no time should there be any adult within the system that believes they can get away with hurting children," she added.
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