“What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“Of the three domains of learning–cognitive, behavioral, and affective–the most difficult to deal with by educators is the affective (emotions/feelings) domain, largely because of its subjective, internally experienced, character. While captured by liking/disliking assessments of people, programs or processes, the affective is often manifested by such “soft” emotionally laden cultural activities as art, music and dance. Unlike the readily measurable “hard” sciences (e.g., math, physics, chemistry), these “soft” human activities, are highlighted by their diversity. Such diversity being a likely consequence of how they were given birth–via the confluence of so many cultures coming together in these United States. Unfortunately, it is these “softer” rather than the “harder” areas, that School Boards cut, during their budgeting process. This cultural fusion of almost 400 years has given us some of the greatest music, art, and life/drama portrayals (through plays and movies) the world has ever seen. From such diversity has has also sprung the “outside the box” thinking that has made us the industrial leader of the world. I want to support this gift of cultural diversity by making Moorpark classrooms exciting places to be in.”
“While we are confronted with perhaps the worst pandemic of our lives, we are also faced with the opportunity to create a more resilient Moorpark. How well we equip our school district to deal with COVID-19, will reflect on how well our community comes together, and thereby how well we might face future calamities.
“The balancing act before us is complex. We have to effect a quality education for our children (to allow many of their parents to easily work), balanced against the risk of COVID-19 exposure (social distancing safeguards alone reduce educational space requirements by about 50%). Across the country, three types of plans for educating our children are logically before us: in-class learning, on-line distance learning, and a blend of both.
“The Moorpark Unified School District (MUSD) was offering families a choice between the three plans. But, on the Friday afternoon of July 17, Governor Gavin Newsom prohibited counties on the state’s monitoring list, which included Ventura County, from opening school campuses this fall. According the the Governor, counties must have 14 days of declining COVID-19 cases and meet other health and safety criteria before offering in-person learning. The blended plan favored by MUSD officials and families, combines on-line and on-campus access, students being cleverly split into morning and afternoon groups. Grouping in this way lessens the number of kids on campus at one time. This allows them to be 6 feet apart in classrooms and keeps them from having to wear masks for more than 3 hours per day.
“MUSD hopes to have students who opted for the blended plan back on campus by September 8, 15 days after the semester starts, assuming the Governor’s criteria are met. Even so, the contextual learning tasks will be daunting: getting young children to properly wear masks, childcare concerns, sibling clusters, special needs children. When teachers become infected, they have to consider how and when to use substitute teachers. Which raises the question, what is the trigger point (some combination of infection rates for children and faculty) for shutting off in-class learning efforts? The infection risks are complicated, but the biggest issue is still before us, the job of providing an innovative quality education. All things considered, there is a clear need to bring everyone to the problem-solving table—the public and private sectors, students, parents, faculty, staff, non-profits…everyone.”
A work-world engagement for students
I envision Moorpark’s Board of Education engaging with all relevant stakeholders (the private sector, non-profits, 2- and 4-year colleges, and other levels of government) assisting in the placement of students in the real world of work beginning in the eighth grade, for at least one hour a week, paid for or not.
Community engagement for Moorpark
We have become a public of strangers…a public which no longer trusts, no longer values its institutions. Many of today’s elected officials actually fuel this disengagement…they feed this ethos of “us against them,” a resistance to groups…or collectives of any kind. If we care about our fellow Americans…our Country, we need more, rather than less, engagement with our public institutions and each other. Working closely with our School District, on task forces and committees will go a long way in bringing us all together.
Dr. Lopez-Lee’s Bio
For over 45 years Dr. David Lopez-Lee has been an expert in performance evaluation and decision making for both public and private organizations. His clients have included Colleges, Universities, School Districts, the National Academy of Sciences, Educational Testing Service, and all levels of government. He developed ground-breaking evaluation approaches to force the restoration of millions of dollars to communities in Southern California.
Locally, Dr. Lopez-Lee has been Moorpark’s representative on the Ventura Community College District’s Chancellor Search Committee and works as a volunteer instructor at the Moorpark Active Adult Center. In addition, he serves on the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Ventura County Community College District, serving as a voice for the interests of Moorpark.
Dr. Lopez-Lee also served on the California Senate Cost Control Commission for over 25 years, during which time the Commission saved the Taxpayers of Moorpark and entire State of California over $2.5 Billion. In addition to his work as an Administrative Judge (hearing officer) in Los Angeles since 1979, Dr. Lopez-Lee was elected three times to the Board of Trustees of the L.A. Community College District, serving as President of the Board three times.
He has been a Professor of Public Administration at USC since 1972, and although he retired in 2007, he continued to work there on a part-time basis through 2017. He was Associate Dean of the School of Public Administration (1980-1982). Because Dr. Lopez-Lee’s degrees are all in interrelated fields of Psychology (his PhD is in Educational Psychology from UCLA), he was able to work in the emerging field of human factors engineering in the aerospace industry, before moving to a professorship in the college setting. Dr. Lopez-Lee has consulted and written extensively in many areas of educations and in such diverse areas as government, sociology, psychology, comparative cultures, policy evaluation, administrative/organizational theory, public policy, statistics and research design, engineering, and survey design. He is particularly proud of his work on more equitable economic opportunity and affordable housing for all members of our community and workforce.
A resident of our community since 2007, Dr. Lopez-Lee lives with his wife Malou, and his daughter, Miraya, in Moorpark where he remains active in our community. Miraya was a student in the Moorpark Unified School district, graduating in 2014.
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