Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

Alum Rock Union School District Governing Board

Ricardo García

As a son of a first generation Mexican American, I know first hand the challenges of a single parent working for the promise of the American Dream and dealing with the high costs of living in the Bay Area. As a stakeholder in the existing community and a veteran teacher of 25+ years I truly believe this is a great time to provide leadership.

  1. In a recent poll by Choose Children 2022 of likely general election voters, more than half of parents with children under age 18 say they are likely to move out of the Bay Area in the next few years. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how will you make our region a place where all families can thrive?

    It is no secret that California and the Bay Area are suffering from fast declining birth rates which are resulting in reduced student enrollment. Areas like East San José are extremely impacted because of the high cost of living. This would be a unique opportunity to target small class sizes for schools that could truly address and positively address a significant drop in student enrollment. The second issue is addressing the learning loss during Distance Learning. The last major issue is providing support to teachers in the classroom through support staff, so we could support the struggling students to bridge the learning loss during the pandemic.

  2. As we have learned over the past three years, without quality, affordable, childcare, parents can’t go to work. What will you do to address challenges accessing childcare and preschool programs in our diverse communities?

    As a current parent in our district and full time high school teacher, I utilized the pre school and after school care educational programs available in the Alum Rock Union School District. My wife and I would not be able to work full time and earn enough to provide for my children if it were not for these programs. If I am elected, I would be a champion for supporting these types of support programs available to working families.

  3. Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the opportunity gap that children in low-income families and children of color confront (e.g., lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors, and enrichment activities). If elected, what will you do to increase equity of opportunity?

    Providing students with warm meal(s), qualified-licensed teachers and comprehensive enrichment activities are crucial for marginalized communities. As a latch key kid of the 1970s, I greatly benefited from the musical and after school sport programs afforded to me. With the cost of living at an all time high in the last 40years, children are the ones going hungry. These meal programs are crucial to the sustainability of our future generation of citizenry.

  4. What steps will you take to support inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities and their families to be fully included in our community?

    I believe the first step in this initiative would be to identify the marginalized students with the greatest learning loss and the greatest need for wrap-around services. This could involve providing teacher support staff and or pull out services during the school day. Another effective program could be an after school Homework Club to help struggling students with disabilities or marginalized students.

  5. There is a mental health crisis among children, youth, and those who care for and educate them. If elected, how will you use the resources of your new role to improve access to mental and behavioral health services?

    With a once in a lifetime pandemic and an economic crisis on the frontier, it is clearly a very challenging time for many students and children. As part of providing academic support, our district will have to partner with community organizations and resources to address these challenging times. This would include social and emotional support programs. Furthermore, as a bilingual educator, it would be important to get these resources in the hands of families and students where language could be a barrier.