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

Santa Clara Unified School District, Area 3

Andrew Knaack

https://www.andrewknaack.com

Business, as usual, is failing, and students are being left behind as a result. In this quickly changing political and educational landscape, students, families, and staff need innovative leaders reflective of the community. Andrew's nonprofit leadership and proven commitment to community service are needed to build a new vision for SCUSD.

  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?

    • Holistic outcomes for student success - I value holistic outcomes for students, including academic success, physical and mental health, and economic opportunities after high school. Teaching to the test is not enough to educate our students on the complexities of life during and after K-12. We must value what makes well-rounded students and members of society.
    • Creating culturally inclusive education - I would work to implement curriculum K-12 that weaves in diverse lived experiences of disenfranchised communities (including people of color, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and women) from the books we read and the history taught down to math problems presented. Diverse experiences need to be more normalized in our education. At the high school level, I support offering ethnic studies options immediately.
    • Options for hybrid and distance learning - When it is safe to do so, I will work to match staff and families' needs and preferences with different options for remote and hybrid learning. We all want students and teachers to return to school, but we must also prioritize our students' and staff's health and safety.

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

  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?

    I will advocate for need based prioritization and subsidies to afterschool and early education programs within our district.

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

    I value holistic outcomes for students including academic success, physical and mental health, and economic opportunities after high school. Poor outcomes in these areas disproportionately impact special education students and those with disabilities. Teaching to the test is not enough to educate our students on the complexities of life during and after K-12. We must value what makes well-rounded students and members of society. This also applies to IEPs we need to make sure that each IEP is tailored to each individual student.

  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?

    Addressing the digital divide including sustained internet access will allow learning to continue when schools are closed (the district does have 1:1 devices currently). By supporting parents’ digital literacy, parents can stay more engaged with schools, support children who are struggling with web-based learning, and ensure all students thrive. I will prioritize digital literacy support for district parents. By supporting parents’ digital literacy, parents can support children with web-based learning. This will also allow us to re-envision parent engagement by making it easier for parents to access resources in their native language, more actively follow their students’ learning, and create new engagement opportunities (that are no longer just for English speaking parents available on weekday afternoons).