Having grown up in a family of limited means in East Palo Alto, I have never forgotten what it was like to do without as a child. I have also never forgotten how an excellent public education allowed me to rise up and contribute, both professionally and to the community.
What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
Early childhood education access Affordable mental health resource access, including special education support Availability of qualified teachers who can actually afford to live in our communities The answer is funding, both direct to public agencies, and in support of qualified non-profits.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
Frankly, the jurisdiction I am running for has no direct link to these activities. But it is in partnership with local neighboring agencies and by serving on their boards that good decisions can be made. Specifically, a LAH councilmember sits on the board of CHAC (Community Health Awareness Council) and as a personal consistent donor to that organization, would be willing to serve in that capacity.
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?
The high cost and limited availability are a function of the high cost of living and limited facility space in our area - consequences of the booming economy. I would look for ways to provide public space to be available at low cost, and provide training resources to improve the quality of child care providers.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
Here's one small example - for two years (2015-2017) I was a CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) for a youth in the foster care system. I saw first hand the nature of the facilities and staff available for those in this system, and the intersection with mental health and drug counseling services. I would focus on the outcomes that work.
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?
These issues are well-established. When I was on the Cupertino school board, I saw the impact of Title 1 on our schools where that was available - it was able to supplement all of these things. I would support continuation and growth of this program.