As an elementary school teacher, I am passionate about our public-school system, student success, the rights of teachers and workers, building relationships between the community and the Santa Clara County Board of Education. I want to advocate that every child has the quality public education that they deserve.
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?
As an educator myself, one of my top priorities is working with community stakeholders in ensuring that all children and teachers are able to return to classroom only when it is safe to do so. In person learning is important to a child’s education, but so is the health of our students and teachers. I know first hand the struggles of distance learning and want to support the education community in returning back into the classrooms.
Another issue that surrounds us with distance learning during the pandemic is the technology for support for teachers. Many times teachers are often financially supporting their own classrooms in order to ensure that their students have the best learning experiences. I understand the struggles of not having technology that supports distance learning. I will advocate for teachers and students to have equitable access during distance learning.
Due to our recent events regarding social justice, I will call upon leaders in the educational communities to provide a culturally comprehensive and supportive curriculum. By building in these ideals into our education we can start building a more tolerant community starting from our students. Additionally, I will demand that appropriate actions are taken in order to support more restorative justice practices for our students in our schools.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
Budgeting when it comes to education is always difficulty as there is always not enough to give out students everything that they deserve. In light of the circumstances that we face, I believe that our budgets should be prioritized in supporting our students with the challenges that they are facing today. I will advocate for funding toward distance learning protocols, support for educations with professional development trainings, safety in our schools during the pandemic (once we are able to return to school), and supporting the adoptions of culturally comprehensive curriculum. My experiences in working with students firsthand give me a unique perspective in the decisions that are made for education. I believe that we need to prioritize our budget to benefitting our students and communities in the most direct way possible.
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 that a parent should never have to make a decision between working to support their family and child care. It is a constant struggle that many families have to work around. I believe that we should have more state funded childcare and public preschools. Early childhood education is vital step in the education and leaders in our schools need to do more to support that. I will advocate for more funding to support these programs to help all our families, especially those in low-income households as well as our English Language Learning families. We as a community need to the most that we can to support our community and doing this is just one step in doing so.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
Working as a public-school teacher I work with students with special needs every day in my classroom. I believe that every child should receive an education that they deserve and that includes providing services to our special needs students. We as community leaders need to support the funding and continually advocate for our special needs students within our schools and communities. I will advocate for our students with special needs as well as our special needs educators for more funding and prioritize these programs. I will also want to include trainings for educators so that we are able to include more inclusion programs into our schools. Inclusion is not only beneficial for our students with special needs, but also for our general education students. This opportunity allows for unique opportunities for all students to work with one another.
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?
I believe that equity needs to be addressed in the situation of the student achievement gap, especially with links to the opportunity gap. Providing services such as preschools, day cares, and after enrichment programs needs to be centralized in our low-income areas and in communities of children of color. Equity does not come with providing each community with every opportunity, but has to be focused on providing these opportunities with the communities that need and would benefit the most. I believe that with advocating for these programs in that area we can take one small step in bridging the achievement gap.