Families are the basis of our society and our future. Education is the only path to financial and social equality.
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?
Getting children back into the classroom is the main priority. For our families, opening up the economy and getting back to work. At this point we have access to automated contact tracing and large scale testing--the only issue is do we want to implement.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
What will be the budget? I am not sure the current optimistic budget is going to prevail. The solution is quite simple if there are budget shortfalls--education remains with it's existing budget and the cuts come from other areas. While I do not like to delay a new highway, delaying a child's eduction is not an acceptable option.
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?
Utilize the school as the basis for services for before and after school programs. Develop pre-schools on the same campus to have an integrated educational experience. Essentially increase the school day and school year.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
As a school board president in a small district,, special education funding and operations is a quagmire that seems driven by bureaucracy. In our school, smaller class size and tutors are advancing our special needs students. Dollars need to be directed efficiently--so the funding that is provided has the greatest impact. The hard question here is it expected that society will spend significantly greater dollars than they are today. These 5 questions cannot be answered in a vacuum and while we would like unlimited funds--not real world.
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?
Currently the education system and social services are not connected. The focus of social services should be the children in school and the associated family. Education is the base and social services should be co-located in the same facilities. Not only do we need to educate the children, we need to educate the parents.