Redwood City, CA – On Oct. 8, more than 300 Redwood City parents and youth came out to a community forum on education hosted by Innovate Public Schools, a nonprofit working to ensure all Bay Area students get a high-quality education.
“This is the biggest candidates forum I’ve seen in a long time,” said Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullin, who authored legislation to pilot a mail-in election this November that he hopes will boost voter participation.
The forum at Sequoia High School was led by local parents and youth who shared their stories and asked candidates questions about the achievement gap, housing for low-income families, the city’s role in education, school choice and how schools can better support diverse students.
“Education is opportunity. Right now, too many students in our community – especially those who are Latino or low-income – aren’t being prepared for success in college and beyond,” said Norma Alvarez, a parent leader with Innovate Public Schools. “Displacing low-income people is not the solution to problems.”
All candidates running for the city council of Redwood City and the Sequoia Union and Redwood City school boards were invited to participate in the event. Ten shared their views at the event and four weren’t able to attend, but provided statements.
“The goal of this event is to get information out to the community about the candidates, motivate people to vote who might not normally vote, and make it a priority to improve public education in our region,” said Innovate parent leader Juana Gonzalez Martinez, who moderated the event with Michelle Vilchez, Executive Director of the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center (PCRC).
The election on November 3 is the first in San Mateo county that will be conducted primarily by mail. All voters will receive their ballots in the mail and must postmark them by November 3 to be counted.
In 2014, in San Mateo County, only two out of 10 eligible Latino voters voted and only 1 out of 10 eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 24 years old.
“I’m here because I want Silicon Valley to be a place that puts children first,” said Vilchez. “This is a call to action for all of us to remember that kids, who are at the center of our hearts, should also be at the center of our political decisions.”
View highlights from the Redwood City Candidates Forum on Education!
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Innovate Public Schools does not endorse candidates or fundraise for elections. All candidates for the races above were invited to participate in this event.