Our kids deserve education appropriate for 21-st century economy. They need educational programs based on individual student needs in each grade level. Focus on fundamental knowledge should be the highest priority. Clear benchmarks for each grade level are needed. SJUSD lack of transparency needs improvement. Funding priority based on outcome.
What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
1.Teaching based on individual student needs. 2.Insufficient parent’s involvement in education process and early English proficiency for English language learners. In this area significant number of kids come from foreign language background (over 100 different languages). Schools have decisive role in education process, but parents have role to play as well. 3.Lack of clear benchmark requirements for each grade level. Measuring just “progress” based of subjective assessment at the beginning of the school year is tempting deflation of scores at the beginning of the year for showing artificially good results at the end of the school year.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
SJUSD needs to focus on funding for fundamental educational activities and emphasis on the money that actually makes it into the classrooms. My priority is funding of programs delivering better results and covering urgent needs. We need smarter investments in our schools. I support shifting funds from ineffective programs to activities contributing to better educational results.
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 believe preschool programs should be available for all children. High cost and lack of quality child care and preschool programs have direct effect of student learning and especially of English language learners. This issue require involvement of city, county and state officials. SJUSD should engage all party with stake of this type of issues and press for solutions.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
I care about the needs of most vulnerable students. Every child deserve high-quality education. School district objectives should be aligned with the needs of all kids including children with special needs and disabilities.
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?
There is achievement gap in the classroom, between schools and between school districts. Current system doesn’t work for anyone. With 30 kids in classroom a teacher cannot hold teaching material, focus on students falling behind and simultaneously satisfy educational needs of average performing students. Over-performing students are abandoned and SJUSD is reluctant to allow transfer to higher grade level. Tutoring is helpful, but may not resolve all issues. An option is splitting each grade level on two or three groups of students in separate classes, i.e. average, over-performing and exceptional students, or transfer to higher grade level to be allowed.