Berkeley School Board Candidate Statements, Kalima Rose

Tuesday October 19, 2004

I am Kalima Rose, a parent of two Berkeley school students, and a CAL alum.  

I’m running for School Board because all of our students deserve a richer educational experience. Berkeley was proud to be the first school district to voluntarily desegregate in the 1968. We can once again be just as proud by ensuring the individual and collective academic success of all of our students. 

A persistent education gap thwarts our success. The science scores of African American and Latino students hover at 25 percent of proficiency, while white students score at 73 percent. Six schools (Cragmont, Jefferson, Rosa Parks, Arts Magnet, King Middle School, and Berkeley High) did not meet 2003 comparable improvement or school-wide growth targets, primarily because of the wide gap in scores between White/Asian students and Latino/African American students. 

I know that none of us want our children educated inequitably. To change our existing course, we need leadership on the School Board that can focus our resources on satisfying the community’s twin values of academic excellence and equity. This requires not only a willingness to reach out to the entire community to develop an understanding of community needs and desires, but also the skills and capacity to create and implement a plan that can meet those desires.  

My number one, URGENT goal is raising academic achievement levels for all students. I will work to create an inclusive academic achievement framework for all grades. It will set benchmarks and give teachers the support they need to teach. This framework will require a balanced community process that will rely on data for decision-making. It will include systematic interviews and analysis with principals, teachers, parents and students. It will use outside experts and draw collaboration from diverse UC, local and national partners. This framework will guide future resource allocation decisions. Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s endorsement demonstrates her confidence that Karen Hemphill and I can accomplish this goal. 

Second, I will focus on making schools to meet the needs of all students and their teachers. With other parents, students, teachers, administrators, and community partners, I have played a leadership role in establishing the process that is now transforming Berkeley High. These efforts are better engaging our kids. They model some of the most sought after private school practices: well-attended classes, close working relationships between faculty and students, internships, service learning placements, and international exchange programs. They are producing broadly successful and college-bound students-students with a lived experience of diversity. By next year, we will offer students this engagement in an arts school, an ecology school, a media school, a community partnerships school, or the large school. The Berkeley teachers’ union (BFT) endorsement shows their confidence in our 12 years of productive working relationships. 

My third goal is to bring new resources into the district from philanthropic sources and through partnerships with other agencies and businesses. I have already helped raise over $1 million for these efforts. This practice of building and maintaining partnerships with the university, city, foundations, and businesses must become a cornerstone for the board to build the future stability of the district. My broad community endorsements demonstrate the rich possibilities for partnership. 

Despite their rhetoric, neither incumbent has shown the ability to work with the many school communities during their terms on the board. Their records (and our children’s report cards and experiences) demonstrate a focus on individual programs and non-academic interests. Latinos Unidos, an organization uniting community service groups, recently published: 

"Closing the gap does not appear to be an urgent priority for the district nor for the two school board members who are up for re-election—Selawsky and Rivera. What they do offer is ill-informed and piecemeal. Their track record demonstrates it...We are convinced that Karen Hemphill and Kalima Rose are the best choice this time around."  

I have served on many formal school site, district committees, and research teams in the past 12 years. As a senior professional for PolicyLink, the Ms. Foundation, and the Tides Foundation, I have developed and implemented policies advancing affordable housing, community development, and civil rights for almost 20 years. I know how to scrutinize public budgets, develop organizations, raise resources, and get results.  

Please join these community leaders in voting for me: Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Berkeley Federation of Teachers; Supervisor Keith Carson; Berkeley Council members Linda Maio; Margaret Breland; and Mim Hawley; School Director Terry Doran; NOW; National Women’s Political Caucus; Cal Democratic Club; Paul Wellstone Democratic Club, Fr. George Crespin; Michael Miller; Victor Cary; Santiago Casal; Beatriz Leyva-Cutler; Jean Yonemura Wing; Tracy Matthews, Netsy Firestein, Irma Parker; Alexis Adorador; Dena Belzer; Ann-Marie Callegari; Steve Rasmussen & Felicia Woytak; Phil Catalfo; Stephanie Allan; Ilene Abrams; Carol Wilkins; Mario Rivas; Barbara Coleman; Iris Starr; denise brown; Lisa Bullwinkel; Wanda Stewart; Joe Brooks; Angela Blackwell; Jim Grow. 

—Kalima Rose