Marvin Rodríguez was born in El Salvador on September 21, 1979. In the middle of a civil war in El Salvador, he immigrated to the United States with his mother and two older sisters in 1986. He grew up in a single parent home in the Pico-Union area of Los Angeles. He attended Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools from the time he arrived in the United States to the time he graduated high school. He attended Norwood Street Elementary, John Adams Middle School and Hollywood High School. With the support of his mother and teachers who consistently emphasized the importance of education, Rodríguez thrived in strong bilingual education and magnet programs, which allowed for a healthy emotional and academic development as he transitioned into a new language and culture. The success of those programs was a result of amazing teachers who always demonstrated a passion for teaching and love for their students through their hard work and commitment to their success.
College and Military
After graduating from Hollywood High School in 1998, Rodríguez enrolled in California State University, Northridge (CSUN). At the same time, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he had the opportunity to serve his country while attending college. In 2000, he joined Youth Services with LAUSD to serve elementary school children as an after-school coach. However, as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, Rodríguez had to put his studies on hold and leave his job behind to serve on active duty as part of military operations into Iraq in 2003. It was during this time that Rodríguez discovered a desire to become a teacher. Motivated by his experience with the devastated communities he came across while at war in Iraq and a sense of duty to serve others, Rodríguez returned home in May 2003 to resume his studies to become a teacher.
In 2005, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from CSUN. That same year he began teaching Spanish at Magnolia Science Academy in Reseda. There, he taught Spanish while attending National University to earn a master’s degree in Multicultural Education with an emphasis on Second Language Acquisition. After earning his master’s degree, he also became a part of North Hollywood-Polytechnic Community Adult School where he taught adults Spanish GED classes for a year and a half. In 2014, he joined Cleveland High School where he continues to teach Spanish and volunteer as a coach for Students Run Los Angeles. Students Run Los Angeles is a program dedicated to challenging and supporting underserved secondary school students in their goal-setting and character development through the life-changing experience of training for and completing the Los Angeles Marathon. Rodríguez also continues to learn from the experiences his students bring to the classroom every day. It is these same experiences, which have shaped his commitment and determination to advocate and fight for the success of his students through public education.
Currently, Marvin Rodríguez lives in Arleta with his wife Janette Rodríguez and his two daughters Heaven and Journey Rodríguez. His wife Janette works within the community providing mental health services as a Marriage and Family Therapist. His oldest daughter Heaven is a high school student at Cleveland High School, and Journey attends Haddon Avenue STEAM Academy.
Ensuring the Promise of Public Education
I went into teaching because I believe in my responsibility to teach our children and inspire them to strive to be better versions of themselves. I believe that regardless of our experiences, all of us have valuable lessons to share with our younger generations, so that we can encourage them to make positive contributions to our communities.
I am running for school board because I believe in public education and the important role public schools play in uplifting communities by empowering them with the tools to overcome social and economic adversities. Therefore, I believe we must fight to create the conditions in public education which restore faith in our public schools’ ability to deliver equitable opportunities for all our students. I also believe that representation on the school board should come from within community members directly affected by district schools. For those reasons, and if my community entrusts me with its vote, I will work tirelessly to ensure that our public schools live up to their promise to our children and communities.
The way to achieve this is by prioritizing the following:
1. We resist privatization efforts in our schools that want to choose winners and losers. We cannot allow privatizers to continue to weaponize charter schools to undermine our public education system by creating conditions, which force our schools to compete for funding and resources.
We cannot allow these efforts into our communities under the guise of philanthropy only to leave behind the costs and risks associated with their failed capitalist ventures for our communities to deal with.
2. We push back on the narrative that our teachers are greedy for fighting for fair wages and incentives to compensate them for the work they do to ensure the success of our students. We defend our teachers and dignify the admirable work they do by listening to their needs and equipping them with the resources to do their job effectively.
3. We ensure funding for an equitable access to quality public education for all our students, especially our most vulnerable. We resist and push back on efforts to balance budgets on the backs of our students and teachers. Our students deserve a commitment to their education during strong and weak economic times.
The school board must push back on cutbacks made to public education. After all, the purpose of the board is to ensure the success of the students and communities it is elected to serve.
4. We ensure the academic, emotional and physical wellbeing and success of our students. We advocate and push measures calling for increased funding to our schools directed at curricula, which support the cultural backgrounds of our students and strengthen their cultural and racial identities. We take concrete steps to address the common practices in our schools to take specific disciplinary actions, which disproportionately target our students of color. We must pursue restorative measures instead of criminalizing our students based on racial stereotypes and assumptions of their character. We also increase funding for mental health services for our students and staff and expand our use of social-emotional learning into our curriculum.
5. We secure funding to ensure our special needs students consistently receive the services they are entitled to in order to guarantee their academic, emotional and physical wellbeing and success. We provide the necessary training for teachers to meet the needs of every student in the classroom. We provide professional development opportunities, so that teachers are better equipped to make the curriculum accessible to all students. We must invest in more aides and paraprofessionals to provide in and out-of-classroom support for our students with special needs.
6. We work to guarantee quality universal early education, so that our children in low-income communities have equitable opportunities to succeed academically as they grow older. Studies show the important role early education plays in the development of children. We must use that data to guide our investment in programs that address those needs in our communities.
7. We expand access to community participation in the decision-making process of the district and school board. Whether remotely or in person, we schedule board meeting times to meet the needs of parents and teachers, who are unable to leave work early enough to attend meetings where decisions affecting them directly are made. We encourage parent and community participations and welcome their input when we make decisions on the health and safety of their children.
Only through a new vision of public education can we achieve the latter. We must commit to a vision that recognizes the power and benefit of community schools, so that our students find what they need in their neighborhood district schools to achieve absolute success. We need a public education that envisions every one of our students striving for knowledge and growth not because it will bring them financial success but because it will liberate them to become knowledgeable and empathetic global citizens. We must remain true to a conviction in the power of community and strive to build that for our students in all our district schools.