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League of Women Voters of California
Political Philosophy for Eddie Chin
In a state that ranks 40th in funding for education, we need the cooperation and involvement of every community. And, while we have worked out the financial wrinkle left by the last administration, we have more basic work that remains unfinished.
Parents and students themselves are our most valuable resource to maintain and improve our schools. Students are willing and eager to make the system work. Parent involvement is the key ingredient in education that must be improved. Hillary Clinton's "It takes a village" is not mere allegory. It really does take the talents of everyone in the district to make productive students and successful citizens. The schools are too often dumping grounds for the convenience of parents. Government and citizens-at-large have much to offer, and everyone must become a part of the education of children outside the home that is overseen by the parents.
Our three main objectives are:
A. Recruit, retain and distribute quality teachers. Too often our best teachers are attracted to other areas or to private schools by better salaries, benefits and lower costs of living. This simply means better salaries and working conditions. Subsidized housing for our teachers is a solution I continue to work for, including building new housing for teachers. I have advocated for teacher housing on school property to attract better teachers to our district and bring in revenue from surplus properties as well.
B. Continue to monitor, maintain and increase "best business" practices to insure the best use of our scarce funds and accountability to the stakeholders.
I kept the promises I made four years ago. As Chair of
the Budget Committee that turned around the Rojas
administration's fiscal chaos, I was instrumental in
reforms that work:
Today we have reserves that exceed state education codes and the highest possible bond rating. A new Tenderloin School serves San Francisco's neediest children. Solid plans are proceeding to upgrade facilities in our neighborhoods.
With the scarce school funding constraints, wise use of available funds is paramount to quality education. As Chair of the Budget Committee, I work with that in mind, but I also seek to assure that no one gets left behind.
C. We must raise the performance standards of all students and close the gaps of low performing schools by adopting small school design. Students need to feel they are a part of a family, not merely a number in a one-size-fits-all experiment. The small school design recommendations need to be adopted to achieve a more personal atmosphere.
After school arts, sports and social programs that work well in other districts need to be adopted.
One of the accomplishments I am proudest of is our Tenderloin School, but it must be considered a model for every school in our less affluent areas. Bessie Carmichael, Starr King, Luther Burbank and others come up at every public meeting and are a disgrace to the public spirit of San Francisco. We have already identified the problem schools and special care is being given to ensure equitable allocation of resources, and budgets of the local school sites are allowed more independent use and decision making powers.
Not only do we need to rebuild the facilities that serve these areas, but we need to rekindle the sense of community that makes children's education the responsibility of the everyone. We can't afford to leave any kids behind and we need to enlist the help of parents and the talents of San Francisco's great arts and technology communities to help. As an example, our theatre, music and dance spaces are all but disappearing, yet such spaces go unused at our schools on many evenings. I believe we can coordinate better with these communities for our mutual improvement.
Although I do not favor set asides, I am encouraged by Proposition 49 on the November ballot that will provide grants to fund after school programs (according to its sponsor Arnold Schwatrzenegger). At the very least, these indicate that there is interest in the general public for after school programs. If these should pass, I would count on our representatives in Sacramento to assure that San Francisco benefits from them.
Public testimony is always welcome at the Board every 2nd and 4th Tuesday at Everett Middle School at 7PM and I encourage the public as well as parents, students and teachers to make their concerns public at that time. Every taxpayer is an investor in the future of our children, and your opinion counts. When public schools work, everyone wins!
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Created from information supplied by the candidate: August 30, 2002 09:56
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