Chiany Dri On the Issues

Issue statements by candidates are quoted from public media statements either direct or edited for brevity.

 

Equity and Inclusion

As an equity-minded candidate, I will advocate for and drive policies that carry all students forward in their educational success, including students who are traditionally underserved: racial and ethnic minorities, language minorities, differently-abled students, working class and poor families, and LGBTQIA+ families. Our district and its students deserve a School Board that reflects the diversity of its district and if elected, I plan to support that diversity in intentional ways. I will advocate for and introduce policies that take into account all unique circumstances that impact a student’s ability to thrive and succeed in our schools. Equity has to do with access and with leveling the playing field for all students. It requires our school board to understand the ways in which different students may be positioned in our world based on experienced systems and intersections of oppression.

 

We currently have a committee called the Inclusive Culture Guiding Coalition. This committee is made up of mostly members of our district and very few community members who have or do work outside of our school district. This committee should be expanded to include people from throughout the Ojai community, and should be made up of parents, students, district employees and Ojai residents.

 

Bilingual education

I will advocate for integrated Spanish language programs in all schools by 2024 and dual immersion programs. Bilingual education raises empathy, supports student engagement, cultural awareness, and supports connection to home language and culture for Spanish speakers. Bilingual education also attracts new families to our district, as bilingual education continues to be highly sought out by parents nation-wide. The district should appoint a committee to oversee language justice and equity initiatives. 

 

Remedies to systemic racism

I will advocate for ethnic studies curriculum as a high school graduation requirement, on-going teacher, admin, and staff training on the impacts of implicit bias and ableism. We must also improve the process and available forums for families filing discrimination complaints to increase access, address trauma, and increase accountability. I will do this by advocating for restorative justice practices to address bullying and discrimination complaints and for trauma-informed training for teachers, staff, and administration. Our educators must have ready access to cultural competency training for social justice that includes deep reflections on how their positionality impacts curriculum design, pedagogy, and outcomes for students.

 

Implementation of the state’s California Healthy Youth Act

The district should implement a comprehensive sexual health education curriculum that is LGBTQIA+ inclusive, consistent with the California Healthy Youth Act.

 

Is accountability of School District leadership to parents and community currently sufficient? Explain

The District must improve on the centering of the Ojai community in our public schools and involving the community voice in OUSD decision making. I’ll facilitate this by expanding opportunities to offer informed and timely input to the school board, district committees, and school administration. This should include: (1) Open comments in School Board zoom meetings that happen in real time and are open to the public for a set amount of time during the meeting. Our school board should never censor public comments; (2) Parents, teachers, staff, and other community members to research and recommend policy; (3) Publication of open comments through local press, social media, email, and text messaging that is also available in English and Spanish; (4) Increasing transparency by pushing the administration and board to adhere to the principles of open government.

 

Teacher and staff accountability

Teachers must have access to on-going professional development and to updated and accurate curriculum. I will advocate for fair evaluation of teachers and collecting clear data on student and teacher needs by pursuing student and peer-led evaluations of educators and administrators on inequities in policies, practices, and outcomes in the classroom and schools.

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