CTE Teacher, Kelly Lane Middle School, Pflugerville ISD
How are you making an impact for kids, the community, or the network?
I recently started the “Austin ISD X Podcast”. While it focuses on the issues in the Austin Independent School District, the conversations about education are important to everyone. A veces bilingüe. I am joined by Candace Hunter, a 7th-generation Texan and East Austinite who has worked as a classroom teacher and instructional leader in Title 1 schools for over twenty years. You can listen on Apple, Spotify, or at the website anchor.fm/aisdxp where all supported podcast platforms are listed. Find them on social media as well @aisdxp.
So far the conversations have run the gamut from TEA reopening guidelines, learning pods, cultural proficiency & inclusiveness training within the district, as well as the most listened to episode to date; a conversation with Austin ISD’s Equity Officer, Dr. Stephanie Hawley, who lays out what equity actually is and how it’s practiced. Candace and Cuitlahuac will also be publishing conversations with all of the Austin ISD Board of Trustee candidates running in contested elections this November. Please listen, like and share!
What do you hope to be true for Austin kids, community, and/or the alumni network 10 years from now?
years, I would like to see two changes. First on a local level, the schools in the most historically marginalized and minoritized communities in Austin, typically east of I-35 serving predominantly Black, brown, and immigrant communities, need to stop being closed or threatened with closure especially in a fast-growing city like Austin with a growing pk-12 population. Instead of closing these schools, they should be equitably funded and staffed. The district must address both historic and current-day racism by changing many of the policies (boundaries, transfers, feeder patterns, magnet programs) that result in under-resourced campuses who struggle to keep up with the wealthier, whiter, schools west of I-35 that benefit from the systemic racism perpetrated by the district and the state.
Second, on a state/legislative level, I would like to see a change in funding and testing. The use of property values to fund education is inherently racist and while the recapture program is a very democratic and equitable model, something needs to be done to address the specific burden it places on the Austin ISD, which hands back the most money in the state by a substantial amount. I also want to see legislation that makes significant change to standardized testing. I see a lot of similarities between testing and policing; both were born out of white supremacy and are used today to maintain white supremacy. As our society has clearly seen during this pandemic, police cannot simply be reformed. As a society we must completely re-build our system of public safety. Similarly, standardized testing cannot simply be reformed. As a society, we most completely re-build our system of education, and that includes the use of standardized testing.
Listen to Cuitlahuac and Candace on the “Austin ISD X Podcast”
Tell us what you are working on or give a shout out to another alumni here. We’ll be recognizing the incredible work of our alumni network throughout the year.