Kate Vadehra, M.D. On the Issues
Issue statements by candidates are quoted from public media statements either direct or edited for brevity.
The Covid-19 pandemic: virtual versus in-person attendance
In-person schooling is important to the emotional and social well-being of students. During this time of isolation, we need to give special focus to connecting with all students, especially at-risk learners, to ensure we take care of their emotional wellbeing as well as their education. A big step towards this goal is our plan to provide our teachers additional resources and preparation time to better adapt to these challenging circumstances.
Conditions necessary for a full reopening of district schools
COVID-19, being a novel virus, has yet to be fully researched and understood. However, our district has spent over $1M to enhance our facilities and purchase the necessary PPE to enact our reopening plans. We’re working closely with the LA County Department of Public Health to determine when it is safe for our students to return. We can only reopen, as determined by the Department of Public Health, when the community transmission rates of COVID-19 are low enough so as to decrease the chances of an infection in the schools when we reopen.
Management of loss of enrollment and revenue
Of top importance is ensuring our district has the resources it needs to provide the highest possible quality education to our children. Through my 14 years working with the district, I have been at the center of budgeting, fundraising, and LCAP planning at both school and district levels. Our district is facing a $4M deficit with the 2020-2021 school year, a challenge I plan to face by creating partnerships with community leaders and businesses, advocating for improved district funding at the state level, ensuring efficient use of current resources, keeping budget cuts away from the classrooms, and most of all: asking the tough questions.
Post-graduation and career preparation
LVUSD has a proud history of providing the opportunities students deserve to realize their potential. Our students are accepted into top colleges and universities and provided career pathway programs such as Robotics, Medicine, Architecture, etc. We need to increase the available options for college and career exploration to meet the needs of our diverse student population. I will work to expand our available career and mentorship opportunities.
Remedies (if any) to systemic racism
I believe this community wants nothing more than to build inclusion and address the issue of racism and bias. More than anything else, education has the ability to give our students the faith in themselves and respect for each-other that we all need to live in a truly inclusive society. I have a four-step plan to improve our education for the betterment of all.
1. Provide anti-bias education and training to all school employees, giving them the tools to keep their classrooms safe and productive.
2. Ensure our curriculum is evaluated by our community members so that nobody is left out of the conversation.
3. Round table discussions should be made an integral part of the high school experience, giving students the opportunity to learn from the experiences of each other.
4. A more robust Freshman Seminar course to engage students to learn about racism and prejudice.
Prioritization of STEM versus liberal arts curricula
Our schools should provide students with opportunities in both STEM and liberal arts curricula. They are equally important.
Implementation of the state’s California Healthy Youth Act
School often is the only source of sexual reproductive health information for our students. It is crucial to provide our students with age appropriate, up to date information.
Use of FAIR curriculum guidelines
The FAIR Act stands for Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respective. Our social studies curriculum should and does include the study of the role and contributions in history of both men and women, Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, and members of other ethnic and cultural groups. FAIR curriculum guidelines provide students the tools to learn about different cultures and people so as to prepare them to become part of a global society, a mission that I support.
School support from outside businesses, community groups, etc.
One of the key features of successful school districts is strong partnerships with community businesses and corporations. I will work to create partnerships with community leaders and businesses to bridge our funding gap and to create career-related opportunities and mentorships.
Is accountability of School District leadership to parents and community
currently sufficient? Explain
Our parents currently have several means by which to hold the School District accountable: School Site Council, LCAP committee, Bond Oversight Committees, and regularly scheduled Parent Faculty Club meetings. I will work to ensure constant improvement in communication, especially now in a time when information changes rapidly.
Managing child development
I am a Pediatrician and parent with 14 years of volunteer leadership in LVUSD schools. I understand both the complexities of child development and our public education system. From my career in academic medicine at USC to my volunteer work, I have dedicated my life to ensuring the health, safety, and education of children. These past 14 years in LVUSD I have learned the strength and weaknesses of our schools, what changes need to be made, and how to implement those changes.