Occupation: Janitorial worker for the City of Los Angeles
Political party: Democratic Party
Experience: A founding member of Reclaim Our Schools L.A., a coalition of parents, students, educators, labor and community organizations that is closely allied with the L.A. teachers union. Also a longtime member of LAUSD’s task force on African American achievement and Advanced Placement and a leader on the Hyde Park Neighborhood Council. Al-Alim says his work as an Army medic from 1985 until 2001 led him “to be deeply critical of war and military recruitment in schools.”
Priorities: To “expand student wellness and support,” including through the district’s special program for Black students, mental health services, class size reduction and special support for “unhoused youth, immigrant students and communities, LGBTQIA students and staff.” Al-Alim also wants to “protect and expand recent victories” such as establishing expanded family services and community input at schools through the community schools effort.
The superintendent: “Supt. Carvalho has made a number of unilateral decisions on matters that should have been made with input from students, families and educators,” Al-Alim said, adding: “Too often, the board sits on its hands and lets the superintendent determine the direction for the district. We need to be visionary.”
The incumbent: Board District 1 “needs a board member that doesn’t talk down to children and families. … a board member that is visionary around issues facing Black education,” someone willing to get their “hands dirty by working with educators and families and communities to make our schools the best schools in the district,” Al-Alim said. “The incumbent has not done that.”
Charter schools: “I plan to fight any form of privatization of public education,” Al-Alim said, including challenging the sharing of district-operated campuses with charter schools. “LAUSD faces a decrease in enrollment. This means decreased funding and resources for students,” he said. “We need to invest more into the schools that currently exist rather than further drain their resources by expanding the number of charter schools.”
School police: “I believe in reimagining policing,” Al-Alim said, adding that school safety, as a top priority, can be achieved through such efforts as safe passages to and from school, the Black Student Achievement Plan, mental health supports, schools with family supports and specialists who work to improve the school climate. “I have been disappointed that the district has been slow to fully implement programs like these,” he said.
Quote: “We need to support the whole student and their families: This includes investing in mental health, the Black Student Achievement Plan, green technology and environmental justice, and supporting LGBTQIA+ and immigrant students.”