In Los Angeles, education is an important issue. In the next election, the residents of Los Angeles will be voting for new board members for the Los Angeles School District Board of Education. One of those people campaigning for a position on the board is Louis Pugliese.
Pugliese, a CSUN lecturer, said he believes that he can help make a difference in the way children are being taught and wants to change the system since he thinks it is failing.
“LAUSD, being the second largest district in the nation and the largest in California, is in a unique position to influence the standards and curriculum in Sacramento,” said Pugliese, who has been active in education for 16 years.
Pugliese has a passion for education. His platform, titled “SMARTEN UP,” is geared toward the faults of the school board. He believes that they should “smarten up” about their current curriculum. His platform also promotes utilizing educational psychology to cater to students’ needs.
His platform introduces a new concept of motivation to students. Pugliese said he believes that motivation is key to students not caring about schools.
“Boredom is the number one reason why students drop out of high school,” Pugliese said.
One strategy of his is to motivate students to continue their education after high school in community college, which he said he hopes will entice students to hang on and eventually get a bachelor’s degree.
Being a lecturer at a CSU, Pugliese said he does believe in the system and wants to motivate high school students to strive to go to college since many of them get discouraged.
“If we get more kids into community college, we will get more kids into a CSU,” Pugliese said.
He also wants to build a connection between the CSU and the community. He said he believes colleges have many resources that can be shared with the community, thereby making it stronger.
“I would want to create programs to partner with the university, whether it be satellite classes or much-needed student mentors and tutors in our elementary classrooms,” Pugliese said. “I would want to create a connection with the university system and the community to share both physical and human resources.”
Although the board does not directly cater to the college system, it can help impact it.
“Right now the CSU system, from what I have read, 50 percent of beginning freshmen aren’t around four years later to graduate,” Pugliese said. “Yet of those who do graduate, 60 percent started (at) community college.”
Art and music programs are also hot topics in education. Although Pugliese specifically mentioned and focused on the importance of math, especially algebra, in the classroom, he also emphasizes the importance of art and music programs in schools.
“The music and art programs in schools today are disgraceful,” Pugliese said. “Students are not allowed to pursue those talents academically. Art, music and sports programs need to be connected to academic study.”
Pugliese, who has a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York and a master’s degree from CSUN, said he has a desire to change the school board with his firm belief and plans based on concepts of educational psychology. Both of his degrees are in educational psychology. Pugliese said that if the school board adopts an approach based on educational psychology, the quality of education in Los Angeles would greatly improve. From that, he has derived the idea of having an educational psychology committee, which would consist of experts to advise on instructional and motivational suggestions of future district policies.
“One would assume that an organization whose goal is to educate human beings would want to be informed with the best and most effective practices for teaching and learning,” Pugliese said.
A family man with one older son and a fianc?e, he is committed to education and has a strong desire to see the Los Angeles School District become the leading school district in the nation since it is the second biggest. Pugliese said two of the most important but overlooked factors in education are parents and the community. He has created a plan to build a strong connection between the system, parents and community.
“We need to outreach to parents,” Pugliese said. “When we do invite them for those public forums, we should take the same approach that we do for teacher training and adult learning. We get more parents involved by giving them a true voice of developing the actual curriculum.”
Pugliese is persistent and said he believes that he can make a difference. He wants to change the board’s policies and gear them more toward educational purposes and the success of students.
“Somebody has to do it,” Pugliese said.