SANTA FE SCHOOL BOARD FOR DISTRICT 2 (INCUMBENT)
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?
The school district will embark on a very important project next year called the Facility Master Plan. Through that planning, the Community Review Committee makes recommendations to the Board of Education about priority projects for General Obligation Bond spending. There is always a portion of that funding (and those prioritized projects) spent on sustainability. I am co-chair of the CRC and am committed to ensuring adequate funding for our continued push for clean and renewable energy.
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?
In SFPS, there are a multitude of needs: funding, attendance, student recruitment and engagement, and adequate staffing for classrooms as well as support staff like educational assistants, behavior specialists, social workers, nurses, counselors, and librarians. I will continue to work with our local legislators to ensure increased funding and with our Board and Superintendent on thoughtful and meticulous work on the budget. The communities & schools should work together as much as possible.
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?
I believe schools and education have a serious responsibility to prepare students to actively participate in their communities, both before and after graduation. It is not the sole responsibility of schools as families and other community organizations share that honor. Education should provide factual information to students as well as a foundation for critical thinking and civic engagement so that graduates have the skills to address the issues they will face in their lifetimes.
6) What are the pressing issues facing young people today?
I would say some of the most pressing issues facing young people today are the economy and the environment. As someone in my 40s, it's hard to feel hopeful and optimistic sometimes and I recognize that I've experienced much more stability than not in my lifetime which isn't true for young people right now.
7 ) How can a student's race, class, and gender impact their education?
Structural racism, sexism, and classism exists in every facet of our society. Those things impact a student's education because they exist. As a community leader in education, I see one of my responsibilities to help look meticulously at where those biases exist and building new systems in their place to support true equity for all students.
8)Do you plan on engaging students and families as a board member? How?
Yes, I feel that collaboration between students and families and the Board is crucial for helping us to form (and re-form) schools and education in the way that students and families (and educators) need. The Board just adopted a robust student engagement resolution that creates clear opportunities for student voices to be shared directly with the Board through various avenues as well as bi-annual town halls. I look forward to expanding on that work to include families and community members.
9) Describe your previous experience working on social/health/environmental justice issues, do you have experience working with impacted communities to co-develop solutions? How will you use this experience to influence your position on the board?
Outside of the work I've done on the SFPS Board of Education since January of 2020, I spent several years working in healthcare advocacy. Because I am a nurse, I have first hand experience with the impact of social factors on health outcomes. It's quite similar to education, I think, and very shameful. Equity, equity, equity! I will use this experience to continue to seek community engagement for building policy.
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?
I think the District does a fair job based on these measures but I would not say it's adequate in all areas. The resource allocation piece stands out and I think is often overlooked. A prime example is the use of PTAs/PTCs/PTKs to provide funds for curricular and extra-curricular activities. The fact that some schools have incredibly active fundraising groups and others have none is hugely problematic. The Board and Superintendent have discussed ways to address this such as district-wide fundraising with equitable fund distribution and "sister" school PTA fund sharing.
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 whole heartedly support the role of schools as community assets. Public schools should be a public good and that good serves all of us. It should be informed by all of us via representation through the democratic process as well as ongoing and continual community engagement.
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?
My sincere hope is that through the existing Re-imagining process the District can address many of these issues and that we can avoid closing schools in communities. We will also continue to advocate for affordable housing, distributed throughout the county and city, not concentrated in one area of town.
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?
I think it's very important to educate students about environmental science and climate issues in age appropriate ways throughout the course of K-12 schooling.
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?
Traditional school facilities and transportation use a significant amount of resources including water and energy. Ensuring our new buildings, renovations, and future investments are sustainable, energy and water saving is a priority. In addition, we will continue to build solar arrays to supply electricity to our buildings, water catchment systems, and native gardens.
15) Is it critical to include Indigenous and Traditional Land Base Knowledge when developing a curriculum around climate change?
.Yes! I am not very knowledgeable about this but would love to learn more and definitely agree it is important.
16)Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM
Environmental racism is the practice of having environmental hazards in close proximity to neighborhoods of color (or low socio-economic status). This practice causes direct harm to those communities. An example in New Mexico is the "down-winders" and the exposure to hazardous materials during the testing and development of nuclear weapons here.
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?
According to UNICEF, the idea that present generations have certain duties towards future generations, climate change raises particularly pressing issues, such as which risks those living today are allowed to impose on future generations, and how available natural resources can be used without threatening the sustainable functioning of the planet's ecosystems. I definitely agree with that statement and believe we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our finite resources and our planet.
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?
Pollution and contamination can impact schools and students by causing health and environmental issues. In short, yes, I think that the fossil fuel industry and utility corporations are responsible for clean up. I think each situation requires examination and nuance. If proof is established that the companies were aware of the negative health impacts, then they are absolutely responsible.
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 wholeheartedly agree in educational institutions divesting from fossil fuels. Our money is an indication of our support for non-renewable energy sources as well as contribution to climate damage.
21) Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No