May 2015 Election: Multnomah Education Service District (MESD)

///May 2015 Election: Multnomah Education Service District (MESD)

May 2015 Election: Multnomah Education Service District (MESD)

(Photo from left to right: Siobhan Burke and Stephen Beaudoin)

Civic Engagement is central to APANO’s mission of ensuring that Asian and Pacific Islanders are fully engaged in the political process, and have opportunities to vote in elections. In order to inform and educate our members about the May 19th special election, we have reached out to candidates who are primarily running for seats on local school boards and institutions of higher education. We will be posting candidate responses (from only those who have responded) on a daily basis.

Candidates have been asked the following questions to engage more directly with constituents, and for voters to be more familiar with their vision and policies. We are giving equal opportunity to all major candidates in the race.

 

Multnomah Education Service District (MESD)

Stephen Marc Beaudoin, Position 6 At-large

1. How are you qualified to represent the interests and concerns of diverse communities of color, immigrants and refugees?

I grew up in a lower middle income household in a suburban housing project, the youngest of four kids with two parents who each worked two or more jobs to make ends meet. Although we didn’t have much in the way of stuff and things, we always gave generously of our time and talent, and supported other families and communities, especially through our church. Some of my earliest memories are volunteering alongside my dad to help immigrant families – from China, India, Mexico, and beyond – new to our community find housing and connect to services and community.

My life’s work has been at the intersection of education, social justice, and the arts. I am honored to be supported in my campaign for MESD Position

 

2. What policies and practices do you support that ensure all Asian and Pacific Islanders can be meaningfully engaged in the decision-making of the institution(s) you would represent if elected?

My platform for my campaign for MESD Position 6 has four components: 1) Restore trust and faith in MESD; 2) Increase agency learning and planning around diversity, equity, and inclusion; 3) Create a long-term strategic plan for MESD so the agency has a cogent and strong roadmap for the future; and 4) Increase MESD engagement in advocacy and public policy.

I am especially excited by the opportunity to be a board champion for the agency’s work ahead on equity: collaborating with the staff ELT (Equity Leadership Team) to develop an agency-wide equity lens and supporting plan, and understanding and addressing disparities.

 

3. Oregon currently graduates half of it’s English Language Learners, who make up 10% of the state’s K-12 student population. What policies will you support to ensure that students–including ones who identify as English Language Learner, have access to quality education and career-readiness programs after graduation?

This is an area of opportunity for listening and learning for me in my campaign and, if elected, in my service to MESD and to the community. There are clearly disparities in need of addressing here, so that ELL’s share in equal access to quality education and career readiness programs. I will look to community partners and a broad and diverse coalition of community members for ideas and solutions for how to address this and other disparities within MESD’s scope of work.


4. Access to quality, affordable, and culturally competent health care ensures Oregonians are able to thrive and contribute. Please explain the policies you will support to increase access to care, and address health disparities, specifically for immigrants and refugees.

It is not news that undocumented children in Oregon face a long list of challenges to growing up healthy in our state. The Northwest Health Foundation issues a report last fall that outlined many of the disparities and challenges to living full and healthy lives faced by undocumented families and kids – over 17,000 of whom are living in Oregon. There is current work afoot to begin to address these disparities, including advocacy from the Oregon Latino Health Coalition and other partners. I avidly support the current legislation, HB 3517 “Cover All Kids,” working its way through the legislative process.


5. What policies relevant to your institution(s) do you support that strengthen economic opportunity and jobs for all communities in Oregon?

I have been and will continue to be a fervent supporter of raising the minimum wage for all Oregonians, to $15 per hour or better. I applaud the local policies that have been passed by Multnomah County and the City of Portland to increase minimum wage for certain subsets of workers, but will feel unsatisfied until the State’s minimum wage is raised to a fair and living standard, and I believe $15 is the minimum we should aim for. I also support all legislation that extends fair wages to persons with developmental disabilities, who have so often been left behind on the wage parity conversations. There is current legislation (SB 555) working its way forward that would take a step in the right direction on this front. In the spring of 2015 I wrote about the need for the nonprofit sector to lead on the wage parity issue, in a guest column for the Portland Business Journal. This column helped to spur conversation and discussion with the philanthropic community, and with leaders across the nonprofit sector, including foundation boards and directors.

 

 

Multnomah Education Service District (MESD)

Siobhan Burke, Position 7

1. How are you qualified to represent the interests and concerns of diverse communities of color, immigrants and refugees?

I have classroom experience with diverse students and community organizing experience working in Chicago and Aurora, Illinois working directly on issues of racism including solidarity work with worker centers and immigration reform. I am involved in the Portland Parent Union working on parent organizing around racial disparities in exclusion policies and special education placement. I recently worked on the Education Committee for Don’t Shoot Portland. I try to identify and check my privilege and engage in critical conversations around these issues individually and within groups.


2. What policies and practices do you support that ensure all Asian and Pacific Islanders can be meaningfully engaged in the decision-making of the institution(s) you would represent if elected?

I have advocated as an individual and organized for outreach to impacted stakeholders in decisions. Since moving in 2013 I have been doing parent organizing in PPS. I have worked to support parents of color coming together to advocate on educational issues and parents of children with special needs. I have supported student organizing through Portland Student Unions and Black Student Unions. During the run-up to the possible strike in February 2014 I helped organize parents of color to respond with babysitting coops, parent-to-parent advocacy and food coops and scaffolded new parent organizing with infrastructure like Google phone, and website and FB training, organizing culturally specific meetings, and school board testimony training. I continue to work on parent organizing around racial disparities and pushouts with Portland Parent Union.


3. Oregon currently graduates half of it’s English Language Learners, who make up 10% of the state’s K-12 student population. What policies will you support to ensure that students–including ones who identify as English Language Learner, have access to quality education and career-readiness programs after graduation?

One way that MESD can be more accountable to APIs is by making outcomes part of their accountability to their community. MESD collects and disaggregates data (that is my understanding since they have a separate achievement compact with the State), but they do not make that information readily available or present on that material publicly regarding how they’re doing relative to specific populations. In addition MESD needs to develop strong policy directives on discrimination, equity and inclusion.  An audit of cultural competency and relevancy in areas of staffing, training, curriculum, assessment and disciplinary practices would provide information to APIs to evaluate and hold  MESD accountable.


4. Access to quality, affordable, and culturally competent health care ensures Oregonians are able to thrive and contribute. Please explain the policies you will support to increase access to care, and address health disparities, specifically for immigrants and refugees.

MESD offers programs to connect students and their families to health care. Using best practices to run these programs, including outreach and partnership with local community groups, faith-based organizations and culturally specific liasiions MESD could impact the access to care and address health disparities, specifically for immigrants and refugees. A first step is evaluating the programs in place and making them accountable to these groups with disaggregated data and transparent communication.


5. What policies relevant to your institution(s) do you support that strengthen economic opportunity and jobs for all communities in Oregon?

MESD has programs that help some of the most impacted students graduate and transition to adulthood. MESD also has staff working with school districts on dual credit high school students receive from local community colleges. Graduation, effective transition programs and dual credit all improve students’ career and college readiness. MESD can respond to component districts’ request or need for programming around strengthening economic opportunity and job training for high school students, and to help Oregon students reach 40/40/20 goals. CTE and STEM are two areas MESD could explore since both improve student engagement and outcomes for all students, including students of color. Another area that should provide jobs in the future is environmental education, a curriculum that could be more fully developed within Outdoor School.

 

Read more candidate responses here.

By | 2016-11-18T23:23:41+00:00 May 9th, 2015|Elections, News & Events|