On June 2, 2016, parent leaders with Innovate Public Schools hosted a forum to hear from candidates for the 24th Assembly on their plans for education and housing. All eight candidates participated in the event, which was co-chaired by Innovate parent leaders Rocsana Enriquez and Jessenia Solorio
“Tell your friends that every vote really does count,” said East Palo Alto Mayor Donna Rutherford, who kicked off the event with Father Goode of St. Francis de Assisi church, which provided space.
“We are trying to preserve our community here – resist gentrification and keep our community alive and well,” Father Goode told the candidates and attendees.
Parents shared statistics about schools in Silicon Valley and their own experiences, then asked the candidates questions.
Hear opening statements from the candidates and what they had to say on:
- The achievement gap
- School data for parents
- School choice and charter schools
- Teacher quality and
Sonja Spencer of Faith in Action asked the candidates about their plans to address the shortage of affordable housing.
“I have seen where people were put in a position between eating, rent, or medicine. Only three families remain from my original neighborhood,” said Spencer, who has lived in East Palo Alto for more than 25 years.
“Providing an excellent education for every child and closing the achievement gap in our region requires leadership from everyone– our local parents, our district, and our state and federal officials,” Enriquez told attendees. “We need strong leaders at the state level to fight for what is best for our kids and we plan to hold our leaders accountable.”
More than 100 parents and community members came out to the event, with many participating in a call-to-action to spread the word about the importance of voting. See their messages and photos.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Innovate Public Schools does not endorse candidates or fundraise for elections. All candidates for the race above were invited to participate in this event.