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

Mountain View-Los Altos High School District

Steven Nelson

Quality: excellence of instruction and program as the number one priority. Give a person a fish, and they are fed for a day, give them fishing lessons, and they feed their families for years. I believe the economics research: people with 2-6 years of education after high school are "happier."

  1. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?

    Equity in public education spending to get high achievement for all. As a high academic performing family, I know the importance of post high school education preparedness (for life-long happiness). As a Returned Peace Corps teacher, I understand some of the Economically Disadvantaged family problems - and the need for extra program money to help work on these problems. High school absentee problems, after school care, PK and full day kindergarten, and mental health support are needed for all Economically Disadvantaged - and also many affluent families. A school board needs to have both strong Policy and oversight.

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

    For schools, it is absolutely clear to me, that the intent of the LCFF (Local Control Funding Formula) legislation is that all (100%) of the money for Target Students, which is called Supplemental Grant, go to supplemental programs for those students. The minimum is "primarily proportional" but I support no dilution of those precious funds. Too often many of us find a large fraction of the money going instead to "ALL students" at "ALL schools." As a LEA legislator, I would use "direction," "the bully pulpit" and my right to speak out and also vote NO on Budgets.

  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?

    As a retired member of the Mountain View Whisman Board - I consistently was a voice for more and improved PK and K care. And as a LEA legislator, I used the power of my Vote, to advance those causes. The MVWSD preschool programs attained the highest oversight ratings in the county (6), by the end of my term of office. As a MV-LA High School District Trustee, I will unambiguously always Vote to fully fund Adult School and child care for people trying to complete their High School Equivalency programs.

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

    I would closely monitor surveys of regular teachers for dissatisfaction. As a MVWSD Trustee, those of us who read the details in the Teacher Union Surveys learned early of problems in the Special Education Program inclusion programs. I would also listen closely, and attend meetings, if asked, of IEP parents and Special Needs families. In MVWSD it was the persistence of these advocates, that were ignored too long by the Board majority, that finally helped bring substantial change. If necessary - I would publicly ask for a District Quality Audit from outside.

  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?

    Low-income children are a large part of the Target for LCAP enhancement funding. At the high school level, I would emphasize programs that mix-in academic achievement improvement (education for the world ahead) and access to healthy foods, and healthy learning environments. I support the Summer Learning initiative of the California Department of Education and the state PTA. I would support 10 week intensive Math learning. My emphasis in this is the Target children who are far below, or below proficiency. A statistically significant academic improvement is my yearly goal along with reduced Chronic Absence.