I often say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without my education. And not just any education, but a quality public education supported by a strong community. I have worked to ensure a strong public education system because all children should have an opportunity to succeed.
From a business perspective, well-educated citizens lead to quality employees. Without an appropriate bench of talent in our communities, businesses will have to look outside our city and state, or even our country for quality employees. We need excellence in education for all students to remain competitive in new economies.
As the parent of a special needs child in the Aguilar SPARKS program, I have struggled with navigating the system and believe we should partner with our school districts and education advocates for access to education for children of all needs and abilities. I have cried with other moms and grandmas when I've knocked on their doors as we share the helpless feeling that our children will never fit in at school. I hoped these incidents were few and far between and I'm saddened at the state of special education and disability awareness in our City.
As a working parent, I have personally faced the decision of whether to pay for costly child care or find ways to afford to stay at home. I believe that free, educational preschool for working families is vital to the long-term health of our community. When all children, regardless of income status, are ready to learn in school, students, teachers, families, and our community benefit.
Working parents embody the American spirit, contribute to our local economies, and provide strong examples to their children. I strongly support Tempe PRE and will anxiously await the results of the pilot for further funding recommendations when I’m on the Council. Future funding is going to be an important issue for the next Council, and I’m confident that my perspective and experience will aid in finding the best option for Tempe.
After School Programs
Both of my children have participated in the KidZone Enrichment Program in Tempe Schools. These services are crucial to youth development and I will support funding these programs in conjunction with other community organizations like the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs or other private facilities.
However, I do see a growing need for after school care for children with various abilities. As the parent of a differently abled child, finding an afterschool program nearly led to my husband or me quitting our job because we couldn’t find adequate care. Thankfully, we’ve found a solution with Believe I Can Academy here in Tempe, and I’m passionate about making sure no parent must struggle with limited options as my family did.