We need elected officials who properly view their role as that of public servants to the community at large and who remember—in everything they do—that their duty is to help and support the public they serve. To me, this means putting aside political ideology or favored agendas and remembering that board members have a duty to serve all children and families in our district, not just a select subset. It means creating dynamics that welcome discussion and communication of all viewpoints on the many issues we face as a district, not silencing dissenting voices. And most importantly, it means actively engaging the community and inviting participation in our democratic process, not forcing them to watch from outside as the decisions are made paternalistically without feedback.
Transparency in Policy Development and Decision-Making
Our schools chart the course for our children’s futures, and as such, are a vital part of our community. Given their importance, our School Board is obligated to provide true transparency in its policy development and decision-making on those issues that impact our students. Policies developed by the Board should be thoroughly researched and carefully developed, and the stakeholders such as teachers and students -- those who will be forced to live with those policies -- appropriately engaged for their feedback. A majority of our Board members have disregarded this obligation in favor of rapidly pushing policies through the approval process, avoiding discussion on the merits of the policy to be implemented and leaving a wake of confusion for those unclear on the mechanics of implementation. Our children deserve better than this. The Board should not be allowed to sacrifice the future of our children for the sake of political gamesmanship.
Putting Our Children First
Above all else, the focus of our board should be on policies that put our children’s education first. There are many real issues that present significant threats to the quality of the educational environments our district schools can offer, and that have the potential to significantly impact our students if left unaddressed. These issues include a looming budget deficit, declining enrollment, issues surrounding students’ social and emotional well-being, and an identified achievement gap. We need a board composed of members that are willing to maintain their focus on these very real threats and that will working on developing a consensus on how to address them, not waste precious time and resources seeking to advance personal agendas and alienate our teachers and our community with divisive behavior.
Engaging and Empowering Academic Environments
Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, and that should be reflected in every decision our School Board makes. To me, that means the academic environments within our schools must reflect the diversity of the world outside them, and should promote learning that allows our children views into the ideas, perspectives, and realities of our dynamic and varied culture. Unfortunately, a majority of the current Board has advocated for policies that deny our children these opportunities, sacrificing the quality of their learning environments in favor of personal political agendas. The present and future interests of our children demand that we empower them with the information, tools and resources to grow both academically and personally.
Our children’s future success and the impact they will have on their own communities as adults is in significant part a result of their experiences as students. These experiences are guided first and foremost by their teachers, who devote their own lives to ensuring the future success and well-being of our children. In order to enable teachers to do their jobs in the most effective way possible, it is in turn the responsibility of the Board to ensure that teachers have the necessary training and resources to support all children and all learning abilities, in a way that allows them to keep up with innovation and advancement in the educational field. This also means listening to the voice of teachers on issues of concern, and implementing policies that take those concerns into consideration before they are implemented.
Letters and Op-Eds
Read Jenny's Op-ed, Playing Politics with your Child's Education
Read Jenny's Op-ed, CVUSD should join efforts against violence
Read Jenny's Statement on Free Speech from the CVUSD Board meeting on February 6, 2018
Read Jenny's Op-ed about divisiveness on the CVUSD School Board
Read Jenny's Op-ed on the CVUSD Opt Out Policy
Read Jenny's entire letter in The Thousand Oaks Acorn on January 18, 2018
Paid for by Jenny Fitzgerald for CVUSD School Board 2018