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Issues and Solutions

We need school board members who are well-versed on the challenges facing Wichita Public Schools. We need school board members who are actually listening and learning from our stakeholders on how to address these issues. And we need school board members who are fully transparent and honest about the ideas and policy priorities they have for our school district. For those reasons, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the issues facing Wichita Public Schools and how we can address them. 

In my commitment to transparency and accountability, I also encourage you to check out my responses on KSNReddit, Ballotpedia, The Wichita Beacon, and VOTE411.

Strengthen and Protect
Our Public Schools

Ensure Student Success and School Discipline

On Student Success: My vision for all of our students is that they maximize their critical thinking skills, college/career readiness skills, and life skills to improve their academic achievement; inspire them to be productive members of society; and help them reach their fullest potential. I want our students to be curious, creative, and motivated to learn. I want our students to have the opportunities and resources they need to lead meaningful and rewarding lives and to be a part of something much greater than themselves. I therefore:

  • Support connecting all students with paid internship, apprenticeship, and entrepreneurship opportunities. 

  • Support active learning/applied learning to empower all students to take ownership of their learning and education.

  • Support smaller class sizes and ensuring the workloads of educators, classified staff, and school administrators are reasonable/manageable to best support students. 

  • Support increasing the rigor of school curriculum and holding our students accountable to the highest academic standards.  

 

On School Discipline: Our schools should be places where all students, school employees, and school visitors feel safe, connected, and ready to learn. It is clear that problematic student behaviors undermine a safe, productive working and learning environment. We should not be enabling problematic student behaviors. Yet we must also be vigilant of the political candidates who make use of dog whistles, soundbites, and extremist rhetoric on this topic, yet propose no solutions, and if they do, propose solutions that are harmful and not effective. I therefore:

  • Support smart investments in mental health promotion, substance use prevention, and violence prevention programs and strategies that work.

  • Support classroom instruction and classroom management practices that promote self-discipline, empathy, and respect. 

  • Support efforts by student leaders to foster school pride and build a unified sense of community.  

  • Support improving students' access to comprehensive, wraparound mental health, physical health, and social services. 

  • Support the prevention of problematic social media and technology usage in our schools and classrooms. 

  • Support acknowledging and addressing the school-to-prison pipeline and foster care-to-prison pipeline, which disproportionately impact students of color, students in poverty, and students with disabilities. 

  • Oppose exclusionary discipline practices, zero-tolerance policies, and corporal punishment.

Improve Family and Community Engagement

When it comes to all Wichita school board candidates, I encourage you to ask them (and myself) the following:

  • Whether they attended USD 259. 

  • Whether they regularly volunteered or mentored in USD 259 to serve our students, before they ever filed to run for the Wichita school board. 

  • Whether they have children/family members who attend/attended USD 259 instead of other school districts or private schools. 

  • Whether they are supported by USD 259 students, school employees, and families (look at their campaign finances, who they are speaking with and listening from, and who their volunteers are).

These questions are important to uncovering how genuine our Wichita school board candidates are in serving all of our families and communities. Do they have a meaningful track record of service to our students above and beyond the politics?  

I can say yes to all of those questions. 

Not only does our school district have a responsibility to help families and communities be more involved in our schools, but we must more meaningfully involve our families and communities in decisions made by the Wichita school board. It is crucial that our school district builds meaningful relationships with, defer to rather than dictate, and empower our families and communities to use their voice to make our schools better. My approach to governance is therefore one that is bottom-up—I prioritize humility, democracy, and accountability. 

Our public schools play a significant role in:

  • Preparing all students to be critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and responsible citizens. 

  • Promoting economic development, stability, and opportunity.

  • Creating a sense of community and building meaningful relationships with people from all backgrounds and walks of life. 

 

It is important we have school board members that are fully committed to supporting public education and ensuring our students have the resources and support they need to succeed from Pre-K/Kindergarten to 12th grade and beyond. I therefore:

  • Support fully funding our public schools, including special education, in a sustainable and equitable way that does not (1) impose undue burden on working-class families, middle-class families, and people on fixed incomes and (2) undermine economic growth. 

  • Support diversification of revenue sources for Wichita Public Schools and ensuring recession-proof budgets. 

  • Support living wages, comprehensive benefits, and meaningful professional development opportunities for educators (including student teachers and substitute teachers) and classified staff. 

  • Support ensuring financial transparency and accountability of Wichita Public Schools' budget/finances. 

  • Oppose school voucher schemes and the systematic defunding of public schools.

  • Oppose the micromanagement and authoritarian intrusion of government into our public schools and classrooms. 

  • Oppose censorship of literature and school curriculum and suppression of intellectual curiosity and diversity of thought. 

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