I believe in eliminating the achievement gap, making the kinder to career pipeline stronger, ensuring accountability and governing with integrity.
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?
1.) Digital Divide and connection
3.) Achievement gap
The digital divide continues to be an issue in our community. Our budget has also been affected by high cost housing and charter schools which have dropped our enrollment. It is unfortunate that the California’s state budget does not prioritize education and school districts are left often having to cut in areas of need. The disparity in academic performance between different groups of students is no accident. These issues are the result of systemic racism that was in place generations before us. However, it is time for a change and I will continue to speak up, call on, and collaborate with the community and other local, state and national leaders to provide our children and families what they need. A quality education begins with providing our students and our families with the resources needed which will contribute in closing the achievement gap. In addition, it is not sufficient to provide the resources, but we must also include parent engagement which includes teaching parents how to use technology in order to eliminate, and not widen, the achievement gap. As the current Board Vice President I have been working closely with the ARUSD superintendent to hold a community forum to keep our parents informed and also host trainings at the schools that are socially distanced for parents to learn how to use the devices their children were being assigned but also the different links the students were being asked to log into and navigate. I have also championed to bring ethnic studies to our district and end contracts the San Jose Police Department, use the funds for more prevention and Restorative Justice programs.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
I will focus on providing funds to programs and efforts that:
• Increase social and emotional support for students and parents.
• Provide innovative professional development opportunities for educators.
• Create more free high quality early learning and after school options.
• Prepare students for college and careers of the future.
Our budget must reflect our priorities!
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 will continue to promote collaboration and collaborate across systems such as the Santa Clara County of Education and our district along with community based organizations like Think Together, Somos and First five who currently overs see our resource family centers and provide services such as parenting classes, support with enrolling in Transitional kinder and kindergarten, and classes to prepare families and children for kindergarten.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
As we know this pandemic has only highlighted our areas of need as a community. Unfortunately, our students with special needs are not all currently receiving the resources they need. Even through this pandemic we must come together to continue to find ways to provide our students the resources need to succeed. It not only affects the child themselves but also the parents and caregivers themselves. Now that we are able to open schools, we are taking a phased approach and ensuring that our special needs children are first to return to a safe school environment.
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?
It is unfortunate that the children in less affluent community receive the bare minimum if that. Many times, our community is not taken seriously by system/leaders elected to serve. Our community has been overlooked for far too long. As a parent and now as the school board Vice President I have spoken up and publicly (through press conferences, newspapers, forums etc.). I will continue to collaborate with and advocate on behalf of our community so that our needs stay on the priorities for the systems in place. The narrative must change and we get to include parent involvement, engagement and advocacy so our leadership clearly understands the needs and are held accountable to meet them just like in the more affluent communities.