OC Education Candidates Think Ahead of Constraints
By Dianne Anderson
Apparently, voters are not slacking off as drop boxes have sprung up across the nation and are getting a lot of action. As of Tuesday, over nine million early votes have already been cast.
By now, everyone should have their ballot with pre-printed barcode, ready to walk it into their County Registrar of Voters, mail it in without a stamp, or drop it off at any number of easy drop box locations.
Going into the last stretch of the race, education candidates are facing some of the hardest issues ever considered by their predecessors. Beyond so many pandemic related constraints, they are trying to think ahead to what students need to succeed when they finally return to school.
David Crockett – Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee Area 5
In tackling reopening Rancho Santiago Community College District, David Crockett says safety comes first and following the medical expertise and the science closely.
But he also wants to make sure that the faculty have all the resources they need to effectively teach online, especially at this time when funding and resources are so heavily strained. He is concerned that financial assistance can expand to help students that have been impacted by Coronavirus.
As a solution, Crockett sees good potential in bringing both the community businesses together along with the college district to help increase opportunities for students.
“Rancho Santiago Community College District, due to COVID-19 and a challenging work environment, will need to strengthen and expand ties with the local business community by partnering with business-critical training and development, vocational training programs, and internships,” he said.
Crockett, a network performance advisor in affordable healthcare management, attended Southern West Virginia Community College, and holds a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University. He has taught with Job Corps, and has served as a school-to-work program and managing on-site courses for Pierce College.
Crockett is endorsed by the Democratic Party of Orange County, the Faculty Association of Rancho Santiago Community College District, Congressman Lou Correa and Rancho Santiago Community College Trustee Zeke Hernandez.
At this time, he said programs and projects require more attention to help get under-served students up to par, especially considering the disappointing assessment in the Measure of Success report last year from the Rancho Santiago Community College District Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness Office.
“We must continue to improve counseling, guidance and support towards successful program completion with particular attention to Black and Latino students, who are, based upon data, lagging behind their peer groups,” he said.
“My platform uniquely focuses on ensuring our diverse student body has access to an affordable and high-quality education that prepares them for a successful future,” he said.
LaShe Rodriguez – Placentia-Yorba Linda School Board
Improving graduation and college readiness for students and English learning students within her district, and creating a system for an alternative route to the traditional four-year college track is a priority for LaShe Rodriguez.
“Unfortunately, there are many unprepared and under prepared high school students who are urged into a four-year institution without insight on other pathways to success. Many of these students would flourish in a technical program, at community college, or even entering a trade,” said Rodriguez in an email.
Rodriguez has experience working with students and passing policies for improving school districts, along with a level of expertise that reflects her ability to work with community leaders, government, and teachers to build solutions toward increasing student success.
Among her many projects and programs, she has also established an initiative on the San Bernardino Unified School District anti-bullying committee, working with students, parents, and administrators to create awareness and protect students.
Rodriguez, who currently serves as the Chief of Staff for Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee, earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of California Riverside. She also holds her master’s degree in Communication Management from the University of Southern California.
Her top priorities also include a strong focus on broadening access to mental health services and taking the conversation and awareness wider into the curriculum.
Connecting students with opportunities to enhance their academic, technical, and social skills is another priority, she said. She intends to introduce the Future Leaders Program, a monthly seminar for high school juniors and seniors. The program will teach financial literacy, community engagement, public speaking, and career/technical education.
If elected, she hopes to bring her real-world experience working with students into the school board and make sure that the youth are fully prepared to enter a modern economy.
When she was growing up, Rodriguez shares how her parents talked about the advantages of some of the blue-collar classes like woodshop, auto shop, and metal shop, an option not readily available to today’s students.
“Once we restore these hands-on technical courses, more students will find a career path where they truly shine,” she said.
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