The negative impact of over-crowding on student life includes shortened lunches, filthy bathrooms, and crowded playgrounds. Parents have proposed amending Berkeley’s 20/20 vision to include a Berkeley Elementary Student Bill of Rights. If this were to happen, what essential student rights would you want to see in it?


Ty Alper

If elected, I would be the only Board member with children in elementary school. I see every day the effect of a short lunch period (which usually results, in our family anyway, in an untouched lunch), loss of “flex” classroom space, and crowded facilities. I also see how more than a decade of No Child Left Behind and a high-stakes testing culture has narrowed the curriculum, especially in the elementary and middle schools, and constrained our excellent teachers. We cannot serve all students, and we will never close the achievement gap, if we do not provide teachers with the time and resources to meaningfully assess their students’ progress in order to inform instruction and provide appropriate interventions. I’m not sure what a “Student Bill of Rights” would entail, but I believe all children in Berkeley should have an equal opportunity to succeed, be challenged and supported in the classroom, and attend school in a safe, clean, and welcoming environment that fosters creative thinking, problem solving, and a lifelong love of learning. The time they spend practicing for, and taking, end-of-year standardized tests that do not inform instruction should be kept to the minimum necessary to comply with the law and meet the District’s educational goals.

Josh Daniels

I’m not exactly sure what is meant by an Elementary Student Bill of Rights. However, as I mentioned in my response to Question #6, I believe that the board needs to adopt a policy that establishes a baseline level of service and staffing per school site that the District would fund and that the PTAs/SGCs would augment based upon the unique needs of that school community.

Norma J F Harrison

Why ask ME!!! For a change – let’s ask the students to ask each other, to ask themselves! Get out of their way. Tell them to ask for everything – no compromises with the system – no accession to not being able to do a way because it hasn’t been done. Figure out how to live and then work to make that possible. It won’t happen tomorrow.

Karen Hemphill

I support development of a Master Facilities Plan which includes minimum and/or recommended guidelines for not just classroom space but flex/enrichment, cafeteria, and outdoor space as well as technology needs. I also support continual review/adjustment of recommended staffing levels for all of our schools to ensure appropriate support and safety of our students. Finally, the Board’s Policy Sub-committee has been reviewing District policies regarding safety and harassment issues. Many other student/family rights are established by federal or state laws/regulations (such as the right of students with special needs to a free and appropriate education).

Julie Sinai

The reason I am running for election is because I believe every child has the right to a high quality education. When I walk into a kindergarten classroom, I expect that each student, regardless of race or socioeconomic background, will graduate high school prepared to pursue the college and career of his/her choice. It is their right to receive this education in a safe, clean environment with caring, supportive adults. I would support a community effort that includes students and parents/guardians in developing a Student Bill of Rights that expresses our community’s and District’s values.