1. How would you go about reforming an underachieving school?
Iím a believer in being proactive, so intervention in an underachieving school should be made immediately, after the first six months of demonstrated underachieving. This intervention should take the form of outreach and support for teachers to identify challenges and weaknesses in educational practices.
If the student population has specific needs that need additional resources, for example, a high percentage of English Language Learners, a high percentage of social or emotional problems, the central office of the district should move immediately to provide either on site professional development, tutoring, health or social services to enable students to achieve at grade level. The principal plays a central role in this process as well as the leader of the school community, and he or she should be best able to identify and assess the situation and what steps are necessary to rectify it. If after two years with the above steps taken, the school is still consistently underachieving, he or she should be replaced with another leader.
2 If the superintendent and his staff came to the Board of Education next year and asked them to approve layoffs of teachers and paraprofessionals, what would you do?
I would not be able to approve layoffs of teachers. At the end of the day, education is what transpires in a classroom between a teacher and a student, so teachers are the last thing that I believe should be cut. When you start cutting into the muscle of education, no cuts are ideal. If it came to cutting paraprofessionals who have a direct impact on the one-on-one educator/student relationship, I think the district should look long and hard at its own administration personnel and think about making cuts there as well in the form of furloughs and pay cuts. I donít think sufficient cuts were made in this area, and although some administration cuts were made, I believe they were more symbolic than anything else.
1. Please confirm that you are a registered Democrat.
2. When did you register?
In April, 2008
3. Who did you vote for in the last two Presidential elections?
Barack Obama (2008) Ralph Nader (2004)
4. What have you done and what do you plan to do to ensure the election of a Democratic Governor this year?
I plan to vote for Jerry Brown and contribute to his campaign. I already am taking and will continue to take all opportunities I can to discuss the demerits of Meg Whitman as a candidate. Iíll put a poster up for Jerry Brown as well.
5. Have you ever voted for or endorsed a non-Democrat in an election? Who? When?
I voted for Ralph Nader in 2004(Green Party). He supported issues that I felt most strongly about.
6. Please provide a brief summary of your qualifications for this office. (no more than 250 words)
I believe I can bring a uniquely varied perspective to the Board of Education. I was formerly a SFUSD parent for many years, who was active both in the classroom helping to enrich the studentsí learning experience, as well as outside, working to bring additional resources to the school. I am also a California credentialed teacher with an MA in French and an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. I have experience teaching in public high school as well as in community college, and this has made me appreciate the challenge of successfully meeting the learning needs of a diverse and increasingly dual language student population. At the same time, it has made me appreciate the importance of better supporting our teachers, while at the same time developing a more comprehensive and reliable way to evaluate their performance. Lastly, I have many years of business experience, which gives me the practical knowledge of solving problems, balancing a budget and the understanding that ideas can only be effectively executed with a good logistical plan and most often, funding as well.
7. If you are an incumbent, please describe one of your accomplishments in the position you hold. (limit 150 words)
Iím not an incumbent.
8. As a testament of your commitment to the Democratic Party, please describe your contributions to the Democratic Party at the local, state and or/national level in the last 4 years.
I actively campaigned for and contributed money to Barack Obamaís campaign. I supported Mayor Newsom in his re-election, as well as contributing to his campaign both when he ran for governor, then as lieutenant governor. I am also running my campaign as a Democrat.
9. If elected, or if currently holding office what are the three top issues you will work to affect?
- Developing partnerships with private and community organizations to expand school resources - Addressing the student achievement gap early on before it widens (elementary school) - Helping dual language learners acquire the English proficiency necessary for academic and professional competitiveness (relative to the above issue) - Keeping families and communities engaged in our public schools
ISSUES QUESTIONS (please answer yes or no and include an explanation only if necessary):
1. Do you support capital punishment (the death penalty)?
No I donít.
2. Do you support a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion?
Yes I do.
3. Do you support Affirmative Action?
I support intelligent affirmative action that redresses the imbalance of opportunities that some members of society may have had, which can include, but is not limited to race and ethnicity.
4. Do you support same gender marriage?
5. Do you oppose privatization of essential government services and the outsourcing of public and private sector jobs, and support vocational retraining, income support and health care for workers who lose their jobs due to globalization?
In general I do, depending on what is defined as ďessentialĒ. In particular I oppose the privatization of education.
6. Do you support reducing prison overcrowding and the drain on our economy by decreasing penalties for minor drug offenses and other victimless crimes, making the punishment fit the crime?
Yes, I do.
7. Do you support the implementation of community-based policing to break down barriers between law enforcement officers and the people they serve, and to curtail police misconduct?
Yes, I do.
8. Will you oppose anti-worker initiatives that seek to undermine the ability of union leaders to carry out the will of their members and engage in political activities?
9. Do you support and encourage increased and expedited processing of applications for citizenship, family reunification and naturalization?
Yes, as long as it is applied uniformly and equitably to all parties concerned.
10. Do you support increasing the construction of affordable housing to alleviate and prevent homelessness, and develop supportive housing with continuum of care services to help homeless people re-establish themselves as self-sufficient contributors to society?
Yes, I do.
11. Do you support the many lifesaving programs of the Violence against Women Act (VAWA), including the educational and preventative programs, especially for those who are at higher risk for sexual and domestic violence?
Yes, I do.
12. Do you support or oppose the following local measures on the November 2010 ballot? Please give a short reason for your position.
a. Non-Citizen Voting in School Board Elections No. A bill that is too narrowly conceived. You either decide that non-citizens have the right to vote in all elections that impact them, or none at all. b. Prohibition of Dual Office Holding in a City Elective Office and an Elected Board of a Political Party County Committee. If the same election rules apply for running for all offices, then I am not against it. c. Sit Ė Lie Ordinance I donít support the overly broad language of a law that is basically intended to protect property and business owners in one specific area, the Haight, yet will be applicable citywide. There is a problem in this area, but the language and intent of whatever law addresses this has to target behavior and not posture. I empathize with residents who feel besieged by those perpetually lingering around their entryways, but this is not the way to solve the problem. d. Hotel Tax I support it in principal, but if it ends up impacting tourist revenues and sending convention business elsewhere, it may have to be revamped. e. Sustainable City Employees Benefits Reform Act Charter Amendment I think city employee salaries and benefits should be more closely aligned with comparable ones in the private sector. Itís not fair to ask taxpayers to provide salaries and benefits that they themselves do not enjoy for comparable positions. However, I think the amendment should be designed not to impact struggling, low-level earners, like teachers.
13. Do you support or oppose the following statewide ballot measures on the November 2010 ballot?
a. Proposition 19 ĖLegalize and tax marijuana Yes. b. Proposition 20Ė Congressional district lines to be re-drawn by a committee No. c. Proposition 27 - Return task of redistricting to the California State Legislature (repealing Prop 11) Yes. d. Proposition 25 Ė State budget, though not tax increases, can be passed with a simple majority vote, rather than current 2/3rds requirement Yes. e. Proposition 26 - Voters must give permission before any new taxes can be imposed Yes. f. Proposition 23Suspend AB 32, the "Global Warming Solutions Act" until unemployment falls below 5.5% I oppose it. Global warming solutions canít wait.