Friday, April 29, 2005
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Endorsement from Lane, Coos, Curry, Douglas Building Trades Council
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Study Finds Parents Don't Want Soda in Schools
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
New Study Finds Soda Vending Contracts Flawed For Schools
According to The Oregonian:
The total revenue to school districts from the contracts that were analyzed ranges from $12 to $24 per student annually. What parents don't realize, though, is that most of the money comes from their own pockets. That is, it comes from their teens plunking down money to buy soft drinks. Vendors, meanwhile, walk away with between $14 and $32 per kid per year in sales revenue...What we hear about, of course, are big cash advances and gifts such as scoreboards (which usually double as advertising for the vendors).The full story can be read here (link).
On an annual basis, such "gifts" amount to paltry sums. Some even have to be paid back, if schools terminate their contracts early without delivering an agreed-upon number of soda sales. Typically, vendor "gifts" equate to $2 to $8 a year per student.
Monday, April 25, 2005
Register Guard Write-Up
The article discusses Nadia's candidacy, as well as Aria Seligman and Eric Forrest. About Forrest it says:
It is interesting to consider what issues the school board will decide on that will not be related to the health of the children.
Forrest explained that, as president of the Oregon Soft Drink Association, he is expected to testify on legislation affecting the industry.
He said he would not do so again on any issues that touch on both the industry and schools.
"Now I realize I need to remove myself," he said, just as he would remove himself from any school board discussions pertaining to his company's contract or, in all likelihood, anything related to children's health.
Nadia Responds to Stand For Children
The local branch of Stand for Children has sent a series of questions to Nadia, Aria Seligman and Eric Forest. Below are Nadia's responses.
1) Why do you want to serve on the school board?
Young people today face a climate of increasing instability, conflict and at the same time opportunity. This is as true in Eugene as it is anywhere. In a city fraught with difficult feelings and differing perceptions around race, class and other systems of privilege-children are far from immune from these issues. Regardless of how you feel about allegations of racial profiling by the police, about the so called eXit files of professionals of color who have left Eugene because of experiences of racial hostility, about the history of raids on and deportations from Latin American communities in the Eugene and Springfield area- it cannot be denied that these adult matters affect the way that all children grow up in this area. From the recent beating of the Russian immigrant boy in a self-declared "Racism Free Zone" local school, to the growing disparity of access to resources and alleged system of effective segregation the children in this school district are affected by issues of race and class every day, no matter what their personal backgrounds are.
All of the children need someone on the School Board who is trained to address these types of issues. I have that training, and years of experience working with adults and children who need communication to move towards healing the wounds of conflict. Issues of race, class, and struggle to access quality resources are key issues in this election and in educational institutions around the country. They cannot be ignored; they must be engaged with head on, with as much knowledge, skill and priority as we can muster.
2) What qualities do you bring to the school board?
Cultural Competency: I support State Sen. Avel Gordly's bill to extend Cultural Competency training requirement beyond areas such as Eugene and into all schools around the state. Support for measures such as this is key to making schools as effective and inclusive as possible. Cultural competency is especially attractive because it emphasizes knowledge about how all students experience their own lives; it is not ideological prescription for any particular course of action. Cultural competency and years of experience facilitating dialogue across lines of cultural difference are key strengths I can bring the board.
a. We need to increase the number of languages immersion schools. Open and fair lotteries for all children, regardless of their background, ethnicity, class, and other systems of privilege.
b. Teaching languages of the immigrants will give the children a sense of pride, sense of belonging, and build their self steam. It will help the other children to value, respect and understand other cultures and nationalities. Have a heritage day to celebrate the children culture and ethnicity.
By doing this. It will help bridge the gap, of understanding and value other cultures and races.
c. Invite the children to tell stories of their own culture and background. Let the children teach us what they need us to know about them..
4) What is your position on the Superintendent's recommendations on school choice?
- I support the ongoing existence of alternative schools, while understanding the vital importance of minimizing any negative impacts they might have on neighborhood schools. Alternative schools must be reviewed, but they are very important.
- Immigrant children in particular need to be able to leave a school if it is unsupportive of them and chose another schools that better fits their needs.
- All children should have equal access to admissions lotteries, with no system of privilege. There should be extra outreach to less privileged families to compensate for the inequities of the world in general that impact a family's propensity to engage in the school choice process.
5) How should the district address the needs of an increasingly diverse population?
We need to encourage merging the alternative schools into our neighborhood schools. Support and promote neighborhood schools by adding languages and open lotteries for all students. Taking informed steps to maximize inclusiveness is key.
Taxing corporations fairly could make a huge difference. Likewise, people who make more than $100,000.00 a year need to contribute to the schools' funding.
7) What would you do to improve school nutrition?
Having nutritional food; such as fruit, juices, nuts, etc
sold in the vending machines would be helpful. We also need to add some ethnic food to cater to our immigrants students' diet and nutrition value. Diet is key to many cultures around the world, and if a student's otherwise strict diet is disrupted at school, then that school will not be the best place for the student to learn.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
CIM/CAM currently fulfills the type of State Standards required by Federal law, thus leading to significant savings over the costs that would be required to re-write a purportedly cheaper "off-the-shelf" test. I support Superintendent Castillo's efforts to cut costs while complying with Federal law and ensuring the most effective education possible for the children.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Position Revision Regarding School Choice
These are complex and difficult issues; we can only hope to learn from each others' experiences and formulate policy together as best as possible.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Senator Morrisette Endorses Nadia
Morrisette is currently the sponsor of Senate Bill 560, which would require that any food sold on school grounds meet the federal nutritional standards for school meals, as well as other standards. (story link)
Nadia is excited to include the Senator in her list of endorsements (see right side bar).
Friday, April 08, 2005
Cultural Competency in Schools
We need to implement this into our school systems. This is one of the most important and painful issues facing every immigrant to this country! They need to have schools that respect & understand their children's background and ethnicity, comprehending the dynamic effects of policies and behaviors on children’s self esteem. Cultural Competency promotes valuable assets and educational sensitivity to the cultures and religions of all students. It'll help to deter the bullying and hate crimes. We also need to recruit teachers from all diverse backgrounds. That would certainly restore the students’ & families’ confidence in the school system.
While I was researching and meeting with community members to gather information about their concerns and issues regarding the schools, one member of the Russian community approached and encouraged me to run for the School Board. He told me our children need to identify with some one like them in this position of leadership; someone with an accent, different skin color and language. Understanding the experiences of immigrant and diverse communities is key to effective policy making; that is one of my personal strengths and why I support efforts to foster cultural competency on every level.
"Rainy Day Funds" Should Be Limited
"The Oregon School Boards Association recommends a carryover, or ending fund balance, of about 5 percent to 8 percent. But only 21 of Oregon's 197 school districts hit that target. The rest carried over balances ranging from 9 percent to 275 percent at the end of last school year."
I think the school districts need to come clean with the legislators and the public. The schools should not be allowed to hold more than 2-8% of their funds for a Rainy Day Fund. Recent media coverage around the state is bringing this issue into the light of day, but school districts themselves need to prioritize openness throughout the funding process.
School Choice Policy Recommendations: Nadia's Response
*Reducing fund-raising disparities between rich and poor schools by requiring centralized donations and a 10 percent contribution to an equity fund
I SUPPORT. We should reduce fund-raising disparities between rich and poor schools to help eliminate students’ achievement gaps related to diverse backgrounds such as race, ethnicity, gender, class etc..
*Moving or merging alternative schools and ending co-location of alternative and neighborhood schools
I SUPPORT. It will help bridge the gap between those who have and have not! It will make school safer and less intimidating for students with diverse background & ethnicity.
*Providing lottery preferences and transportation for low-income kids
YES, I totally agree, we should provide same equal opportunity to our low-income hard working families.
*Strengthening neighborhood schools with extra money
YES, I'm for it. That will level & strengthen our neighborhood schools. It will make the students welcome all kinds of different cultures and teach them respect and acceptance.
*Placing more special education kids in alternative schools
YES, very important to have equity among our most vulnerable populations.
*Reviewing alternative schools
YES, I agree with our superintendent Russell
*Creating a position to provide more information about school choice to low-income parents
I SUPPORT. It’ll strengthen the cultural awareness!
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
The Other Candidates
Also running for the School Board position is the appointed incumbent, Eric Forrest. Forrest is the former President of Sales for the Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. of Eugene, and a founding member of the Parkway Yes! Political Action Committee. Parkway Yes! was the #1 PAC in terms of money spent locally 1998-2003 according to a study by the Register Guard, published December 22nd, 2003.
Forrest is also an at-large member of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
He is currently a member of the School Board Budget Committee, a position he took after leaving the City of Eugene Budget Committee.
Forrest is also active on the state level in debates concerning school policy. He was discussed in a Register Guard story on March 29th, 2005 regarding Senate Bills 560 and 860, requiring that nutritional standards be applied to food and drink sold in public schools.
"Eric Forrest, an executive with a Eugene-based soft drink distributor, argued that it's actually beneficial for students to pass by vending machines in their schools that offer a variety of soft drinks for sale; this way, they learn to choose when it's appropriate to have a sugary soft drink and when they would be better off purchasing water or a sports drink, said Forrest, vice president of the MLF Group, a Pepsi distribution business. Forrest also is a member of the Eugene School Board."
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
I believe that the national compulsory school system and is debilitated and dilapidated. If the system fails children of a certain, race, socio-economic status; ability, then the system is failing all of us.
We are much more dependent on each other than our society seems to believe and the media moguls portray. Our world is vastly more complicated than it has ever been and yet, it is increasingly common place not to even know our own neighbors. We are estranged from our greatest resource--each other.
There is a role for our compulsory education system to help to heal some of the unjust and crippling divisions in our society but, it is not the role of schools alone to address those issues. And we cannot expect schools to do their part if they are not funded. Across our country school systems have been so mired for decades in politics and the politics of funding that the education system cannot fulfill its fundamental purpose to educate the electorate and teach basic skills necessary for working and living in the United States and in the world. With such great burdens, how can a system be expected to inspire young minds to discover their own potential and discover the fulfillment of pursing a lifetime of education?
To gain any ground on the plagues of prejudice, institutional poverty and all the divisions that work silently to erode our social fabric our schools must both educate and inspire; and not serve just a few but, all young people. The people in the school buildings each day- educators, school administrators, parents and children- are run ragged with the impossible work of managing to meet just the most basic expectations we have for our schools and still they have invested lifetimes in improving our schools. Surely the educators have been among the leaders in that work of revitalizing our schools and it has been incumbent upon school board members to steward the effort.
Working with the community and bridging cultures in our community is a strength that I can offer. The choices each of us make about supporting our schools can make a difference. It is reasonable to call upon our whole community to come to the table and help shoulder the work of making our schools places that serve the needs of our children.
Alternative school programs and charter schools are examples of what can happen when inspired people work to make a difference, but, again, the work of a few cannot be expected to reverse trends that not only show up in our local schools but, have besieged schools systems all over the country even in more severe and dramatic ways. We must allow our schools to nurture the children. Adults make politics, not children. We can dialogue in a productive way about the role of alternative programs, charter schools and neighborhood schools and so that we can focus our scarce resources on how to make the tapestry of school choices work best for all our children. We can challenge ourselves to model for our children how people can inspire each other and care for each other in the face of great difficulties.
Monday, April 04, 2005
*The 4J School District Equity Committee
*The City of Eugene's Citizen Involvement Committee
*Faith in Action (Eugene)
*Citizens for Public Accountability
*The Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee
*1000 Friends of Oregon
*The Oregon Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
*The American Arab Anti-Discrimination League (ADC)
*The National Council on US-Arab Relations, as a Research Assistant for the Center for International Disaster Information
*and many others.
Nadia also received 48.8% of the votes cast in the 2003 election for the Lane Community College Board.
After undergoing extensive training from organizations including the Oregon Diversity Institute, Pacific University, the International Victim-Offender Mediator Association, the US Department of Justice and others, Nadia has also:
*facilitated adult and teen dialogues on racism in San Francisco, Portland, Salem, Corvallis and Eugene.
*co-founded the Eugene Middle East Peace Group (http://www.mideastpeace.net/)
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Education and Employment
*Bachelor's Degree in Social Science from Portland State University
*Master's Degree in Computer and Instructional Technology in Education from the University of Oregon
*Five years of consulting in politics and engineering.
*Six years in law and academic offices.
*Ten years as an interpreter and translator.
*Fifteen years as an instructor in Languages.