SANTA CLARA COUNTY VOTER'S GUIDE ON CHILDREN'S ISSUES
Jon participated in the Santa Clara County Voter's Guide on Children's Issues. Below are his thoughts on children's issues facing the community.
1. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
Financial and economic difficulties affect many families and in extreme cases includes homelessness. The results are some children not being able to attend school, not having money for lunches, not having the adults to nurture, guide, and assist them. And when children fall a little behind they can quickly become a lot behind. Children should not be victims of poverty. We all need to make children a priority and insure there are the programs in place so they all can reach their full potential and become happy well adjusted and educated adults, and have a childhood to remember.
2. How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
Although the City Council budget is not directly part of the educational budget, I believe that help and encouragement is almost always welcome, and this includes helping and encouraging school administration. The city budget is for the city services and programs, but we can find excess funds that can be used to assist children and school programs. This should include preschool, before and after school programs, and tutoring for children from families in need. I think it is also possible to solicit funding from businesses and suggest they sponsor or cosponsor programs to provide programs or assistance in our communities.
3. What steps will you take to address the high cost and lack of availability of quality child care and preschool programs in our communities, especially for low-income children and English language learners?
Early childhood learning is known to be very beneficial. And having recently been through the child day care, preschool, and before and after school programs process for three children, we found it very challenging. I think encouraging these types of providers to partner with nearby schools can make the process easier for parents. But most of all, it should also relieve a lot of the parental concern of finding acceptable providers that can be trusted with our most precious possessions, our children.
4. What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
Although there are programs for inclusion for children with special needs and disabilities, but the school locations are limited and it can be a challenge for families. I would encourage school administrators to try to increase the number of schools that can accommodate these children. I realize there are economics that limit how many locations can have full programs. But perhaps there can be more ways to provide the services like using tutors and assistants. Then these children might be able to remain in their residing areas as opposed to needing to go to specific locations.
5. Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the "opportunity gap" that low-income children and children of color experience, including lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors and enrichment activities. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue?
Every child deserves to be able to dream big and excel at whatever they are good at or have an interest in. In addition to classroom academics, there are activities that can assist in developing important foundations; self-confidence, social interactions, and interests like after school clubs and sports. I would work to encourage more after school activities in these areas. And the happier children are, the better they will learn and perform in school. I would promote raising awareness because I am frequently surprised when I talk to parents that they just don’t know that there are some activities available.