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

San José Unified School District, Area 4

Brian Wheatley

Our students are at the center of everything I do.

As a teacher, father, neighbor and community advocate I am always seeking ways to help our youth, they are the future after-all! I am committed to investing my experience and time for our students and our community.

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

    Students can’t learn until they feel safe. Families who feel welcomed on campuses will become more involved – an LCAP priority. I’ll advocate for programs which facilitate teachers meeting families where they live.
    SJUSD children and families are facing a big impact from the new downtown changes, including changing our entire funding formulas. We need to ensure these changes lift up our schools not hurt them or displace families.
    Supporting our educators and staff. The affordability crisis is hurting our teachers and our families. We need collaborative efforts to support our educators so they can support our youth.

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

    Safety is top priority, but we must remember our investment in our safety includes counseling services, crossing guards, fixed street lights and clear pathways so we care for our children in the classroom and out. With major changes remaking San Jose's Downtown our entire budget could be remade leaving us either capable to control our resources so our students are served first or continued limits from the State. Our educators and staff deserve to earn a living wage. And right now too many teachers cannot afford to live in Silicon Valley. That has to change.

  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?

    One of the biggest mistakes a School Board makes is listening only to those who attend meetings or have connections and relationships where they can connect with the District, too many new parents, low-income families and English-learners end up left without a voice.
    As a teacher and community advocate I know the best decisions are made through outreach and organizing. As Trustee I will be out in the community meeting with parents at residents at their availability, and ensuring everyone's voice is heard.

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

    When I was young I could talk, but not walk, and after many surgeries throughout my childhood, I became strong enough to walk. As a student with a disability I know the challenges and exclusion too many of our youth face.
    However, we continue to prioritize expansion of education to fit the needs of a diverse population that include disabilities and special needs. I will continue to be a strong advocate for these programs because every child deserves the dignity of a quality education.

  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?

    Thankfully most of the children and families of the San Jose Unified District has reasonable proximity to groceries and healthier foods options, but access does not always mean use. It must be a priority that we work to ensure promotion and education of full wellness for our youth and their families. Support services are important for our students, and SJUSD continues to make investments, but we need to do more, and it starts with getting out in the community. As a teacher I would make the efforts to connect with parents first because their wellness is critical to their learning.