I fully support the INVESTinED ballot initiative. Arizona educators rank 49th in pay, many have to work second and third jobs to make ends meet. Arizona has the most overcrowded classrooms in the nation. Between now and November, the most important thing all of us can do for our schools is work to make sure INVESTinED passes on Election Day. Phoenix Union High School District will gain an estimated $11,847,000 for Certified Educators; $5,924,000 for Educational Support Staff; and $2,369,000 for Teacher Mentoring & Retention Programs. As a board member, I will always fight to protect pay for the teachers and school support personnel that serve our students in Phoenix Union.
I applaud Phoenix Union's recent decision to remove school resource officers, and as a board member, I will work to engage students, teachers, and community partners to find new ways to build strong schools and safe communities. Policing in schools can pose a serious risk to the safety, health, and well-being of historically marginalized students. This includes Black and brown students, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ and gender non-conforming students. We must reject school security measures that fuel the school-to-prison pipeline.
Before finishing college, I spent two years working with high school and middle school students through an AmeriCorps program called City Year in Boston. We ran service-learning programs to teach students how they can become agents of change within their communities, even at a very young age. We also ran a youth civic engagement program for high school students that introduced them to local and national elected officials so they could start thinking about how issues impact their communities. As a board member, I will work to expand service-learning opportunities and bring AmeriCorps and other community resources to Phoenix Union.
Our students deserve an accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of history that covers diverse cultural histories in Arizona and across the world. We owe students a comprehensive social studies curriculum that is accurate and inclusive of all people, one that recognizes the role of organized social movements in shaping history. Without this, our students will lack the analytical tools and the information they need to improve the world today. As a board member, I will fight for ethnic studies programs that give our students a fuller understanding of our history.