For our students to thrive, the curriculum must reflect the range of knowledge that has been produced by people of various cultures and identities. Students have been rightly demanding that an Ethnic Studies course become mandatory, that local Indigenous knowledge and history is taught in a truthful and respectful way, and that BIPOC and LGBTQ+ perspectives are centered on a much more consistent basis. I am more than willing to help lead that effort.
I’m a firm believer in public schools and that the single most important responsibility of a community is to be fully invested in its children. There simply is no greater obligation. I am for the passing of the Measure M parcel tax renewal because our students and teachers deserve our strong support. The last thing that we want for our children is to see important programs get cut, teachers laid off and larger class sizes. Please support Measure M.
The stories that have been brought to light recently of the traumatic experiences of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, students with disabilities and students that have experienced sexual harassment or assault should wake everyone up to the fact that we need to put more protections in place, especially for marginalized students,, as well as have adequate support for these students in order for them to heal. We need to make sure that we are addressing the needs of the entire student, including mental and emotional health.
Keeping students safe requires creating an environment free from physical violence, harassment, prejudice and discrimination. The best way to create that environment is to teach techniques of non-violence, have restorative justice policies in place, and for the entire educational community to actively identify and address their personal prejudices. We need to listen to students as they speak out on the systemic forms of violence they experience and take immediate action. Our campuses cannot be systems that feed the school to prison pipeline. That is why I’m committed to keeping Student Resource Officers(SRO’s) out of our schools and continuing to invest in counselors that will help support our students and lead to better outcomes. Our students do not need to be criminalized, they need to be nurtured.
What we teach our children is a reflection of what our highest values are. At the top of that list should be taking care of the place that gives us all life. We can’t say that we have given our children the best education if they don’t have intimate knowledge of their local environment, the impacts of their actions on ecosystems across the globe, and a deep relationship to land. Solving climate change requires us all to learn from and support Indigenous peoples locally and globally. Our educational system needs to do its part to help protect the environment for our future generations.
I didn’t have a single Black teacher in my 4 years at HS-1327. As a board member I will make it a priority to up the efforts to bring in a more diverse staff. It benefits all students when folks of various backgrounds, identities and cultures are involved in the process of teaching our youth and are allowed to co-create the educational environment. Not only do our recruiting practices need to be improved, but also our ability to retain teachers whose identities have been historically marginalized.
Every governing body must strive to be as transparent as humanly possible. Transparency equals trust. I believe that every effort should be made to engage the community and create accessibility options so that everyone who wants to participate can do so. Education is inescapably linked to community, and I will do everything I can to ensure that the community is not separated from the process.