APS SCHOOL BOARD FOR DISTRICT 1
1) Do you agree with climate scientists that we are facing a climate emergency?
2) Do you agree with climate scientists that greenhouse gas emissions must be reversed by 2030 to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees and to avoid catastrophic runaway climate disruption?
3) If elected, what specific policies or actions will you initiate in your first year of service to begin transitioning our schools away from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy within the timeframe set by the world's leading scientists?
A regenerative economy comes by investing in our youth. When students have the resources to experience different activities, careers etc. they stay engaged with their communities. Students should have a more diverse set of electives that encompasses trade programs, community work and internships. Being in the community creates a vision for their future where they not only stay to work in our local economy but also build a healthier and more sustainable economy/community.
4) What are the current needs you see at APS or SFPS and how do you plan on addressing those issues if you are elected? What is your vision for the ideal relationship between communities and schools? elected, what specific policies will you initiate and support to transition our economy to a net zero carbon economy in the timeframe set by the world’s leading scientists?
We need to provide new and safe infrastructure for our students. This includes incorporating energy-saving equipment such as motion sensored lights, energy saving electrical strips and, most importantly, having HVAC systems that not only work well but are clean and energy efficient. I also understand that electric buses are something that Las Cruces PS is modeling and I would be willing to test that out with APS as well.
5) What role do you believe education has in preparing students actively contribute as community members and to address the issues inherited and faced by each generation?
Similar to question 1, education has a huge role in developing students' relationships with their peers and community. I believe that by learning the history of our communities and providing project-based learning such as asset mapping to students, we are engaging them as community members who have ownership of the space they are in. In return, this gives students the desire to address issues that they may inherit. By partnering with local organizations they can build leadership and advocacy skills to create change and overall be educated leaders in our communities.
6) What are the pressing issues facing young people today?
Gun violence and high rates of youth criminalization. Not only does our state need to implement common sense gun laws but our students need more opportunities for community involvement that includes paid internships or jobs. Many students that have access to firearms and are bringing them to school, when this happens students are pushed out of APS. We need to focus on the root cause of this problem which is poverty and lack of youth engagement opportunities and we need to provide solutions.
7) How can a student's race, class, and gender impact their education?
The education system in its historic context was created to be classist & discriminatory. There are systemic issues that need to be addressed. We need equitable funding, a curriculum that is diverse & bilingual education that is based on uplifting students identities. I support ethnic studies & undoing-racism trainings because we still face blatant racism. An APS teacher cut the braid of a Native American student & no comments on the incident were made. We cannot be quiet
8)Do you plan on engaging students and families as a board member? How?
.I want more students, teachers and community voices involved within decision making at APS. I have a plan to not only include community members in conversations about policies before votes but I also want to have a local meeting space in my district where anyone can come and have conversations with me. I also want to have a relationship with the schools in my district so that I can visit and continue to understand first hand what the needs are for each school.
9) Describe your previous experience working on social/health/environmental justice issues, do you have experience working with impacted communities to co-develop solutions?
I have been a community organizer since I was 13 and have experience planning and leading social justice campaigns specifically in the South Valley. I have skills in asset mapping, facilitating difficult conversations and developing action based solutions which are just a few strengths I will bring to the board. I also have a personal understanding of how superfund sites in my district affect our school climate and can see the profound connections of our environment, health and education.
10) Many schools are majority students of color, and if they were colleges would be considered Hispanic Serving Institutions. Recently, that term has been challenged and critics are now calling them Hispanic Enrolling institutions unless they can clearly show how they have been serving students, their families and their communities. The measures used include graduation rates, matriculation in the next level of education, success at the next level, equitable participation in Honors or AP classes and programs, a teaching staff that is representative of the students' cultural/national backgrounds, a governing board that is also representative, a curriculum that is reflective and representative of their histories, languages and experiences, equitable resource allocation in curricular and extra curricular areas, and meaningful engagement in decision making around policies and budgets. How is the district doing based on these measures and what are your plans for improving on each of these?
APS has an amazing opportunity to build one of the strongest bilingual and representative curriculums in the nation. Unfortunately, APS has not prioritized funding, staffing or building these programs. Many bilingual programs have to fundraise and buy their own materials and we still face a discrepancy in federal outcomes because federal assessments don't understand the cultural or linguistic diversities of NM. Bilingual education is also more than learning a new language, it is understanding the benefits and embracing the identity of being a dual language speaker. Being able to academically advance in different languages without having to choose one language, provides students like myself the courage to be unapologetically proud of all languages we speak at home, work and school. My plan is to support this program and ethnic studies by influencing curriculum because ethnic studies is a key component to understanding identity and systems while in school. This helps students become more empowered to take on leadership roles within their school and community. Ethnic Studies is also a vital part of learning whole history and embracing different cultures for a district that is as diverse as APS.
11) The role of public schools is currently very contested in the US, with corporations insisting that schools should prepare (and help stratify) future workers, and extremist groups like Moms for Liberty pushing the idea that schools should eliminate any critical discourse, ban books and punish un-Christian and anti-American behavior. There is another important, and growing school of thought that says schools should contribute to the "success" of the communities they serve. This thinking, which relates back the progressive schools movement as well as traditional and indigenous education practices, sees schools as a community asset rather than a corporate or ideological tool, and insists that all communities (and their children) can thrive through asset based work rather than just survive with the help of basic services. Which of these three roles do you support, and why, and what are your plans for enhancing the district's progress towards those goals?
I believe that schools contribute to the success of our communities and the more we invest in our students to become leaders the better outcome we have in our local economy and overall health of our city. In order to keep our young people feeling safe and engaged to envision a future where they work in our city and believe in our city. We need to believe in them and provide them career options, leadership opportunities and a safe and healthy environment to grow into. That is our responsibility.
12)There is another shift in demographics occurring, aside from the racial and ethnic base, that sees students concentrated in newer areas of the district and in overcrowded schools, and schools being underutilized in older neighborhoods. Districts are also losing students due to lower birthrates, displacement from gentrification, and the preference of middle and higher income families for public charter and private schools. As a result, districts are under pressure to close schools, consolidate enrollments, and sell off properties. All of these options have potential serious negative consequences. What do you see as those negative consequences and what do you propose instead?
I want to ensure that all schools are receiving the resources needed for teachers and students to stay in our schools without having to right-size and for students to flourish in their education. We have a model with Los Padillas ES of exactly how we can transform our schools to be thriving assets in our community. I also understand that we are losing not only over 10k students to charter schools a year but also teachers and admin. We need to assess the gap in what APS is offering versus the charters so that we can implement the platforms and curriculum that we know are working and that we know families and students want. If we unfortunately do have to repurpose schools I would love the buildings to be used as community spaces where families can have access to social services help, food pantries and clinics. Another opportunity could be affordable housing
13) What connections do you believe exist between our education system and environmental and climate impacts? How will you work to ensure our education system our education system has a positive impact on environmental and climate justice if elected?
.Schools are where most students first encounter learning about the environment. Our students' health affects their ability to learn and schools not only face unsafe industries that pollute our air, we also have schools that are not connected to clean drinking water. Lets start in elementary and create a path for students to understand how school gardens, clean water and air and environment friendly systems can be a start to how young people envision their own ways to create a positive impact
14) How do you see public schools playing a role in a just transition away from fossil fuels for NM? How will you help move this if you are elected?
.Public schools hold a huge amount of real estate throughout New Mexico which uses a ton of energy. By switching to clean energy and energy saving infrastructure not only can we save money for our schools but it also helps our environment. We can partner with local labor unions to help us transition to solar power, motion sensored lights, energy saving HVAC systems (that actually work!) and better plumbing. This not only helps us step away from fossil fuels but also brings more local jobs, and possible apprenticeship opportunities
15) Is it critical to include Indigenous and Traditional Land Base Knowledge when developing a curriculum around climate change?
16)Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM
Environmental racism is when communities that are primarily BIPOC & low-income are subjected to an environment that is unsafe due to companies, industries or governments that come in & pollute/contaminate our natural resources. The community that I grew up in has a high number of people who have asthma due to poor air quality & its also surrounded by superfund sites, where we have no information of how long our families were drinking contaminated water. This affects our students and our schools.
17) Do you believe climate action is an issue of intergenerational justice? What is the responsibility of your generation to the youth and future generations? Explain. you believe climate action is an issue of intergenerational justice?
I do believe this is an issue of intergenerational justice and we need to ensure that we do what we can now in order to help our future. The responsibility of our future generations is to keep up the work that our generation is doing now in transitioning to better systems. Corporations and fuel industries absolutely have a responsibility for clean up and accountability to how their companies harmed our environment.
18) How can pollution and contamination impact schools and students? Do you believe it is the fossil fuel industry and utility corporations' responsibility for clean up?
Contamination and pollution impacts schools and students by the reasons I stated above but again, it subjects our communities to health risks, an unsafe learning and living environment and a lower chance for success.
19) Do you support the State Land Office’s moratorium/prohibition on new oil and gas leasing on state trust lands within one mile of schools or other educational facilities?
20) What is your opinion on the fossil fuel divestment actions from different educational institutions throughout the country?
I fully support educational institutions divesting from the fossil fuel industry.
21) Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No