October 6, 2020

Ernesto Querijero

Pronouns:he/him/his
School District:Ann Arbor Public Schools
City:Ann Arbor

How long have you lived in your district?

25 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Ann Arbor Education Association, Washtenaw Democratic Party, Huron Valley Area Labor Federation

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I want to be a school board member to first safeguard long-term student learning and make sure that it is the focal point of the Board’s work. Second, I will support and recommend policies that increase representation, fairness, and inclusion.

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

Education justice to me means that all students have equitable learning opportunities and access to resources. It also means being included and treated fairly and equally, regardless of race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, religious beliefs, etc… In the context of AA Public Schools, this specifically refers to special education students and students of color.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

The ultimate re-imagination of public schools would be to change how public schools are funded, which is the greatest cause of the systemic inequality that surrounds public education at every level. Without this kind of change, these inequalities were persist. A more immediate re-imagination would place those students and families who are most in need of support at the forefront of policy making and rethink how we assess student achievement. This includes special education students and students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

Parents, students and families should continue to be vocal and active in their schools as volunteer parents, PTO members, and parent representatives on hiring committees. This kind of involvement is where real, cooperative change that can influence decision-making vertically, from the playground to the Board meeting.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

My campaign is largely funded by friends and other like-minded community members who see the value of having an active educator in a virtual classroom on the Board.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

1) To safeguard long-term student learning
2) To recommend policies that increase representation, fairness, and inclusion
3) To bring about the kind of systemic change that public education needs to be more equitable, which includes re-imagining student assessment

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

To me, there are 2 focal points:

1) To bring about systemic change in how public schools are funded
2) To protect the rights of any unions in the educational landscape to collectively bargain

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

The biggest challenges for schools this year is to make sure that schools are safe to enter when students do return, which includes updating ventilation systems and reviewing the maintenance routines at the building level. For now, to keep students and staff safe, schools should remain closed.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

Updating ventilation systems for the safety of students and staff is the number one priority.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

Standardized test should not be the only measure used to assess student learning. They create long-term text anxiety, are culturally bias, and have a negative effecct on how students’ relationship to learning.

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum, what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

First and foremost, I would propose a K12 focused curriculum that puts environmental sustainability at the forefront so that students are informed about and engaged with the problems that they will undoubtedly have to face as they enter adulthood. In addition, I advocate expanding opportunities for students in skills and trades.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

Our district is responsible and should provide services to support emotional health/wellbeing.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

Our district should not have zero-tolerance policies. Schools are made safe through open, communicative, and cooperative relationships among teachers, parents, and school administrators.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

My top priority around special education is to get students the support they need on a case-by-case basis, as it should be. In some cases, this requires some sort of socially-distanced, FTF support.

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

As stated earlier, I believe that we can advocate for a more equitable district through both systemic change in public education and providing support to those in our community who need it most.

Any other information you want to include or share?

No.