My name is Anthony Caro and I'm running for School Board for the West Contra Costa Unified School District. For the past few years, I've worked in West County as a community organizer. I've listened to the needs of students, parents, and teachers and advocated on those needs. This campaign is an extension of our work, and my attempt to improve the quality of education in our school district by providing needed systematic supports.
Being from Los Angeles, I'm a product of LAUSD's public schools. Like many in our district, I come from a working class family. I remember having to wake up at 4:30am so my father could take my to my grandmothers house before work. We had to use her address so I could attend one of the best schools in the area. After being dropped off at grandma's, my mother would take us to school after finishing the graveyard shift at the hospital. My story is not unique. For many like me, an education was the most direct path to success and it's led me to where I am today.
What I do
I currently live in the City of Richmond where I run a non-profit organization called Citizens Power Network where our mission is to educate and motivate citizens to vote and be civically engaged in their communities. Through my work, I work with students at Leadership Public School, Richmond and Kennedy High School while also having a chapter in Helena- West Helena, Arkansas. We train them on advocacy, organizing, and leadership development. CPN began September of 2017 and has ran off of self funding and individual donations.
As a community organizer, I've worked with many orgs and people to advocate for a better educational system. I've attended nearly every school board meeting for the past few years (I might've missed two or three, but who's counting). I've joined parents at SSC meetings, proposed policy to the current school board, and led demonstrations.
Whether I win or lose this election, I will continue organizing and advocating.
What I've Been Apart of
For those who are unfamiliar with community organizer, it's all a group effort. It takes an entire community to get together to make things happen. Here I list a few of the initiatives I've been apart of, but I want it to be clear that I was never acting alone. Every initiative that I've taken on has always been with a team. That being said, none of these could have happened without the support of others. Here are some of the highlights of the many efforts I've been apart of:
- I was apart of organizing a panel to find solutions to the growing teacher retention issue our district is facing. The goal of the panel was to discuss why teachers are leaving, what the district can do to support teachers in staying, and what policies need to be passed to ensure that happens.
- I was apart of advocating and was in support of the Resolution No. 54-1617 in Support of Students who are Undocumented, Muslim or Persons of Color and their Families and Protocols for Immigration and Customs Enforcement Access to Schools which passed at the December 7, 2016 School Board Meeting. And when it became evident that the resolution did not provide teachers with a clear plan of action to protect said students from ICE, I advocated for that plan.
- I was apart of advocating and was in support of the Resolution No. 49-1718 Establishment of a Positive School Climate Policy which passed at the November 17, 2017 School Board Meeting.
- I was apart of organizing the West County March For Our Lives.
- I was apart of the successful effort to divert funding for Campus Security Officers (CSO's) from Title I funding to general funding. What this means is, CSO's will continue to be funded, but the $2.1 million that was previously funding them can now go towards other efforts to support our Title I students.
- Being apart of Healthy Richmond's Schools and Neighborhood Action Team, I'm apart of their current effort to 1) Have the district provide data on how effective our LCAP funding is for our Title I students 2) Assess and Re- Design the Campus Security Officer Position to provide more social and emotional supports 3) Ensure parents and students are included in the process to establish a positive school climate policy 4) Ensure that parents, students, and community members are able to be apart of hiring of new staff 5) Establish a "Know Your Rights" training for students regarding the new behavioral matrix and the different supports that are in place for them.
- Previously, I worked with an organization known as Students For Education Reform. I left the organization due to differences with their positions on certain issues and their structure, which you can read about in my blog here. I am in no way affiliated with them any longer. This is something I am very upfront about and I would be more than willing to sit down and answer any concerns about.
Why I'm Running
Through my work as a community organizer, I've seen the great potential in our students and I've seen the needs of our teachers. As a school board member, I want to ensure that we're providing the proper supports for our students and teachers to be able to unlock that potential. I believe a lot of our problems are systematic and can be solved through policy. I'm not running as a former teacher or administrator. I'm running as a community organizer who wants to ensure the voice of the community is heard. As I said before, win or lose, I will continue advocating for policies that provide high supports and lead to high performance from our students and teachers.
Whether it's by volunteering or sharing a post, I hope you join me in my campaign.