Years ago, my parents immigrated to this country to raise their children with an opportunity to pursue an education in a nation governed by laws founded on the principles of democracy.
To that end, I am reminded of a quote by President John F. Kennedy: “There is an old saying that the course of civilization is a race between catastrophe and education. In a democracy such as ours, we must make sure that education wins the race.”
As a public servant, an educator and a parent, we should strive to win in education and not allow it to become a catastrophe for our children.
We must not tolerate the disgraceful actions of people who disregard our country’s core values of laws and civility with contempt toward our district leaders and disregard for the welfare of others.
Some adults, by their words and actions, are teaching children to be irresponsible during a global health pandemic, disrespecting the process of democracy through grossly defiant statements and actions that will have lasting effects.
Meeting canceled: Salem-Keizer school board cancels meeting due to ‘disregard for health’
Instead, we should create an environment where children learn to participate civically and economically as they move into adulthood.
Education has proven to be a great indicator for this ideal of eliminating gender inequality, reducing wealth gaps and poverty and transforming livelihoods — it has transformed the lives of my parents’ children and their families.
I am proud to be an active participant in our democratic process, and as chair of the Salem-Keizer School Board, I am committed to rising to the occasion and upholding the duties of this board.
We were elected to serve, and we swore to ensure that the district abides by federal and state laws. Our students must feel safe and welcome when they return to school in person, five days a week this fall.
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As the second-largest school district in Oregon, with many diverse voices, it is our opportunity to demonstrate true leadership as we follow public health policies, administrative rules, procedures and practices mandated by the Oregon Health Authority and Gov. Kate Brown, CDC recommendations and the American Academy of Pediatrics on mitigating this deadly coronavirus that continues to endanger the health and safety of our community.
As a fellow parent, I implore us to teach our children a growth mindset to overcome adversities they face with positive attitudes to be successful.
Children want to enjoy their learning, socialize with their friends at school, and believe they can be successful. Children are resilient and our support as parents makes a difference.
Let’s stand together and make sure education wins for our students and our community.
Osvaldo Avila chairs the Salem Keizer Public Schools board of supervisors. He may be reached at [email protected].k12.or.us