Education to me is the most important tool which can make an impact on our country’s success. I strongly believe that Schools succeed when educators, parents, and communities collaborate. My top priorities include Transparency in governance, Effective communication, Community involvement and collaboration, Staff development and Student success.
What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
1. Insufficient funding : Most of the school districts in Santa Clara County are funded poorly. This results in limiting the options for our children in their school and classroom. 2. Better school and classroom facilities Many schools are built 40-50 years ago and there is a risk of sustaining them. Classroom facilities are limited due to insufficient funding. 3. Retaining qualified teachers and staff It is critical to retain qualified staff and teachers to provide quality education to our children. However number of teachers are leaving the bay area due to the high cost of living.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
One of the top priority for me is to work towards a balanced budget with the focus on staff development and student success. I will make all efforts on not to compromise any programs which could impact the welfare of children. During the budget process, I'll put efforts to focus on the challenges which teachers and supporting staff are facing as well. I will work towards finding various ways to mobilize additional funding which would help to support student needs.
What steps will you take to address the high cost and lack of availability of quality child care and preschool programs in our communities, especially for low-income children and English language learners?
One option which I would explore is to find ways to include preschool programs in our elementary schools. This would definitely help low-income parents/children a lot. A nominal fee can be obtained from the families with higher income, which would help to offset the expenses for the school board. Attending a preschool will help to have a smooth transition to the K-12 education system, and this would help children to perform better.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
I strongly believe in the fact that every child deserves the education and our school should be able to support any children with special needs. Every school should have sufficient staff and infrastructure to support special need children. I will propose to review every extracurricular activity in the school to include all children (including special need children).
Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the "opportunity gap" that low-income children and children of color experience, including lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors and enrichment activities. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue?
As mentioned earlier, one of the top priorities for me is Student Success. This is applicable for all students irrespective of their income or children with difficulties in learning. I will look into options to extend tutoring programs at their schools for the needy children. If needed I will work on allocating additional funding or adding a line item in the budget. Our schools have good lunch programs to support a balanced diet. Will continue reviewing this to improve as and when needed. Will emphasise the importance of physical activities/PE by introducing more noon activities.