Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District

Sanjay Dave

http://www.sanjay4mvla.com

My motto is Putting Students First and my mission is to ensure all students have access to a world-class education and are supported for success in high school. Education can be the great equalizer but we need to be steadfast in breaking barriers and policies that limit equity.

  1. Taking into consideration the profound impact of COVID-19 and the expanded movement for racial justice and equity, what do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?

    Number 1 is health, safety and food security. As your 2020 databook asserts, health and food security are major issues with our underserved communities and this pandemic has exacerbated this issue. Number 2, student wellness. Though this is an issue in normal times we have seen this pandemic is causing more stress and anxiety for our students, especially our most vulnerable population. Since the beginning of school closures, I’ve been working with the administration on identifying those students so we can connect them to staff members and work to bring them back into school. Number 3, discrimination. The unfortunate tragedies that occurred this summer shined a light that systemic racism and discrimination is a major issue in our country. Public education needs to take a stand to create policies and a culture that rids our institutions of any form of racial discrimination or intolerance.

  2. How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?

    I fully support and would advocate for using the district’s reserve funds for issues created by this pandemic and to address the issues stated above. On student wellness, I supported increasing and allocating budget for creating a Wellness Coordinator position, hiring a contractor for social work services and expanding services that a local non-profit, Community Health Awareness Council provides. On discrimination and equity, multiple courses of action need to be considered, including an Ethnic Studies program, implicit bias training, policing policies, etc… When we examine the budget next year these issues will continue to be in the forefront of my mind as we need to ensure that all o

  3. 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?

    Our district also manages an adult school which has daycare facilities which are used by students in our Young Parents Program and our ESL parents, and also any parents taking classes at the adult school could use these facilities. We also provide childcare at our traditional high schools when we have on-campus events such as PIQE, ELAC, DELAC, LUCHA, and El Cafecito. If there are other ways our high school district could provide support for our families with daycare option, I would be open to them.

  4. What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?

    Just like we need to remove system biases of different groups, we need to remove systemic barriers not allowing student’s with special needs or disabilities from participating in general education classes. I would like to invite Kids In Common and other groups to observe our practices and provide recommendations to the board on what changes our district could make to create a more inclusive experience for our students with special needs or with disabilities.

  5. 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?

    At MVLA we are always looking for ways to overcome the opportunity gap by offering the AVID program, scholarships for our athletic and music programs, open access to all Honors and AP classes and offer A La Carte and F/R meals for students and families. We also support programs for our non-English speaking parents such as PIQE, ELAC, DELAC, El Cafecito, and LUCHA. Nonetheless, I also recognize the district needs to constantly reevaluate the programs it has and look for new programs to consistently improve what it’s doing to remove the opportunity gap. Five years ago the district hired a consultant to examine what the district could do differently to reduce the achievement gap and improv