Berkeley PTA Council Meeting - January 2021

Monday, January 11, 2021 - 6:30pm to 8:15pm

Agenda for the meeting:

6:30 - President’s introduction

6:35 - Discussion of schools reopening scenarios. Where should the PTAs stand between BUSD vs. BFT?

7:15 - Discussion of BHS distance learning and math issues. Because BHS (unlike the elementary schools) is highly unlikely to reopen for in-person learning this school year, the BHS PTSA believes that parents’ longtime complaints about the school’s math program need to be resolved urgently by BUSD, and should be a priority for the PTA Council. Comments by longtime BHS PTSA leaders Mimi Pulich and Ramona Coates, plus discussion.

7:30 - Election of candidates: Martin de Mucha Flores as VP of Equity and Inclusion; Sandra Loving as VP of Health Policy; and Mike Chang as VP of Legislative Advocacy and Communications. Each candidate will have two minutes to present themselves and explain his/her ideas about the position; we will then discuss the roles and issues that each of the three positions will cover? How can these VP positions address the PTA Council’s real needs to play a substantive role in the Berkeley schools community? Finally, after any needed modifications to the job descriptions, we will vote (by acclamation if there are no objections, or individually if there are). See candidates’ statements below.

8:15 - Adjourn.



At this point, with Alameda County in the COVID-19 purple category and likely to stay there for weeks more, there is zero chance for schools reopening in the near future. But once the county moves from purple to red and BUSD receives permission from the state and county to reopen schools, there’s likely to be a very strong debate over what to do. As reference for our PTA Council meeting discussion, I urge all of you to examine slides 14-15 in Brent Stephens’ slide deck from the Jan. 6  School Board meeting:

Those two slides describe several important areas in which BUSD and BFT are in disagreement over the steps necessary to reopen the schools. It’s important that all of us understand these clearly. Please also see the BFT’s view on these disagreements, as explained by BFT President Matt Meyer at the Jan. 6 School Board meeting:


The next negotiations between BUSD and BFT are scheduled for this Tuesday. If the disagreements aren’t bridged soon, I would hazard a guess that they will cause significant controversy. Let’s discuss to figure out how the PTA Council should respond to these issues in the coming weeks and months.


On a related note, the SF Chronicle had an interesting article yesterday about the controversy in San Francisco over COVID-19 disagreements between SFUSD and the SF teachers union:



At our Dec. 13 meeting, we heard from the three candidates for Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, recently vacated by Ana Vasudeo after her election to School Board - Mike Chang, Martin De Mucha Flores, and Sandra Loving. All three expressed their desire to serve together rather than engaging in a zero-sum competition for one VP position. The meeting then agreed by consensus that the PTA Council would create a total of three VP positions covering different topics, with PTA Council President Rob Collier and Parliamentarian Tom Killilea deciding these in coordination with the three candidates. 


Below are proposed outlines of the three positions. In each case, although the VP will be the policy coordinator on the specified issues, it’s important to remember that he/she represents the PTA Council’s collective viewpoints rather than his/her own viewpoint. Like all PTA officers, these are two-year positions. Our meeting will discuss these job descriptions and can modify the details before the voting is held.


VP of Equity and Inclusion - Martin De Mucha Flores

  • Coordinates PTA Council policy on BUSD equity issues
  • Works with PTA units on increasing PTA inclusivity

VP of Health Policy - Sandra Loving

  • Coordinates PTA Council policy responses about COVID-19 and schools reopening
  • Coordinates PTA positions and actions on vaccinations (i.e. should unit PTAs help with vaccine outreach and inoculations).
  • Communicates regularly with PTA units about best practices for PTA activities during schools shutdowns. Helps coordinate and curate information sharing, in coordination with VP of Legislative Advocacy and Communications (see below).

VP of Legislative Advocacy and Communications - Mike Chang

  • Coordinates PTA Council advocacy at: Berkeley City Council and State Legislature, and on election-related ballot initiatives. 
  • Interface with State PTA Legislative Advocacy team.
  • Coordinate with BFT, School Board, and PTA units on advocacy initiatives. 
  • Works with PTA Council Webmaster Tom Killilea on website & Facebook, keeping it up to date.


STATEMENTS OF THE THREE CANDIDATES (written in early December before the three separate VP positions were created):



I have three kids, one of whom just graduated from BHS, a BHS sophomore and a King eighth grader.  My wife Liz and I have been active participants for ten years in BUSD from kindergarten through highschool.  I am a former V.P. of Asian American Affairs on the PTA executive board of BAM elementary.  I am running for the VP of Equity and Inclusion because I believe that equity is a fundamental value to a world class public education, which is what Berkeley deserves.  I am an attorney with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and a Commissioner on Berkeley's Police Review Commission and also a lecturer in Ethnic Studies and Legal Studies at Cal where I teach on race, law, civil liberties and civil rights.  In my role as a civil rights attorney I resolve discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability and age in school districts and universities.  I was recently co-chair of the national Diversity and Inclusion Council of my federal agency for several years.  In that position I coordinated committee work on culture and climate, recruitment and retention and morale at my agency.  My parent experience in BUSD, combined with my legal, teaching and committee work know how will be instrumental to providing a very strong foundation and basis for the PTA Council to move its Equity and Inclusion Committee forward as we navigate complex equity disparities associated with Shelter-in-Place as we return to a state of normal.


I am the grandson of Mexican farmworkers and son of first generation parents.  I am the proud parent of a Chicana Pinay 9th grader at Berkeley Independent Studies and  a Pinoy Chicano 3rd grader at Sylvia Mendez. My wife is a Pinay American, my best friend and my high school sweetheart.  I have experienced the institutional racism in education that “pushes out" and "chills out” Black and Brown students. I identify as Chicano a term I use politically to situate my activism in Social Justice, Equity, Inclusion, Anti-Racism and Anti-Sexism.  My recent and past involvement in BUSD include: Chair and Council Member of the SSC at Cragmont, BUSD Parent Advisory Committee, BSEP P&O Committee, and currently the Co-Chair of the SCC at BIS. My professional career has included teaching in middle school, teaching at SF State, managing programs at the UC Office of the President and UC Berkeley focused on improving Equity and Access to higher education for Black and Brown students.  My current role as the Associate Dean of Educational Success and Student Equity and Achievement Programs at Berkeley City College intersects all of my professional experience and my personal commitment to Equity and Inclusion.  I center unapologetically on supporting our historically marginalized students and actively resist dialogue that centers on notions of “All Students”.  I am asking for your vote to elect me as the Vice President of Equity and Inclusion and I look forward to being in solidarity with all of you to support our BUSD students. 


I have served for many years in PTA leadership positions and on BUSD committees, I’ve been deeply committed to equity issues as a parent and professionally, and I would be honored to serve as the PTA Council’s VP of Equity and Inclusion.  I am the mother of three students in BUSD, an 8th grader at King Middle School, and 10th and 12th graders at Berkeley High. I’m currently in my first year as President of the Berkeley High PTSA, where I’m working to strengthen the PTSA and make it an important voice for all sectors of our diverse community at Berkeley High. At BAM I was the PTA Enrichment Coordinator for eight years, often attended PTA Council meetings as BAM’s representative, and I was the BAM representative on the BUSD Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) for over three years. Also at BAM, I was the parent rep for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) for four years, and was a member of the BUSD Extended Learning Task Force. I now serve as as King Middle School's member on the PAC.  Professionally, I have a B.A. in Child Development and an M.S. in Human Services, and I currently work for Berkeley Youth Alternatives (BYA) as the Extended Care Coordinator serving high-risk youth. I work closely with the BUSD Office of Family Engagement and Equity, BUSD's Counseling Department, and the City of Berkeley. I am a stakeholder for the Community Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CCEIS) Plan, and a Board member for In Dulce Jubilo.