For three decades, I’ve served students and families in Santa Clara county schools -- as a Teacher, a School Principal, and now on the Santa Clara County Board of Education. With each vote I cast, I try to make an impact for all students. I believe we must do more to address inequality in schools and ensure every child can highly achieve.
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?
The digital and distance learning gaps are huge in our county filled with enormous wealth. During this unprecedented moment in history we must find the monetary resources and will to eliminate this divide. It is imperative that all children irrespective of income, race, gender and zip code have the educational tools needed to thrive during and after this COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders must step up to lead boldly and courageously for each and every child.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
Budgets are often times value documents that reflect the values an organization wishes to highlight. The budget should be zero based and always work toward addressing that every conceivable dollar allocated in an approved budget be directed toward classroom, student and teacher needs. Non-essential costs e.g. legal fees because of bad administrative decisions, should be monitored closely and kept to a minimum.
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?
With Trustee Grace Mah and former trustee Darcie Green I started the Strong Start coalition at the SCCOE. It continues to this day to provide advocacy for increasing quality. programs for early learning. It was our goal to have a two-year dosage of high quality early learning for every child that is 3 and 4 years old. In this wealthy County where I just heard a STEM employed resident just doubled his salary from $1,00,000 to $2,000,000 by switching technology companies. Early learning benefits us all and we have the $ to pay.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
Students with special needs has always been a strength of my work as a teacher, principal and Trustee. I strongly advocated for the Eureka Inclusive parent conceived school that was to create a learning community whereby regular education students learned while in a classroom and school with 25% children with special needs. Learning collaboratively with each other promotes environments of real life and inclusion not exclusion that is too often current practice in our schools.
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?
This issue is the number one civil rights issue of this time. The achievement gap is about academic results. When the data is analyzed the gap between white/Asian and their Latinx peers is 40+ points in math and English-Language Arts. This gap has existed for 4-+ years with education budgets rising exponentially throughout the nation. High quality early learning significantly addresses this gap and must be the chief agent to erase the opportunity gap that addresses the conditions and obstacles, as in poverty and race.