Throughout the beginning of the school year, The Paly Voice was fortunate to meet with all four candidates for the Palo Alto Board of Educaiton to discuss their views on possible changes in the education system. After deliberation, The Paly Voice has officially decided to endorse candidates Ken Dauber and Melissa Baten Caswell over Heidi Emberling and Camille Townsend.
Ken Dauber has our support mainly for his stances on the achievement gap and student mental health. First, Dauber has focused more on closing the achievement gap than any other candidate. He plans to “advocate for investment in teacher professional development and curricular improvements to support differentiated instruction at all levels of the curriculum,” according to Dauber’s website. The Paly Voice believes that Dauber’s commitment to helping underprivileged and minority students have a level playing field is a necessary next step in an already successful school district. Dauber also focuses on improving student mental health, as he was a co-founder of We Can Do Better Palo Alto, an organization whose goals include managing homework amounts, promoting Tutorials and Advisories and preventing the overlap of tests and projects for students, according to the We Can Do Better Palo Alto website. We think that this is important because having many tests and projects in the same day or week can be extremely stressful and does not leave time for students to pursue their passions. While we have reservations about his policy of lowering the value of homework in grading, we believe that his faults are few when compared to the positive changes he plans to make.
The Paly Voice also supports Caswell’s campaign because of her emphasis on students feeling like they have control. She wants every student to be able to make a difference in their community, be it in their school or outside life. Voice also supports Caswell’s thoughts on improving and extending staff development to increase collaboration within departments and making for more effective teaching practices.
The Voice does not endorse candidates Townsend and Emberling. Both are well-intentioned and have honorable goals and would be capable candidates. However, we are not impressed with either of their policies or outlines of what they will do if elected. Neither has adequately explained plans that we feel will better the district.