I am running for School Board because I believe every child in our community deserves a world-class education in their local public schools.

I am a MMSD parent and education advocate who works tirelessly for better public schools. For the past dozen years, I have participated in countless School Board meetings, listened to educators and parents, and organized action that improved learning conditions in our schools, including smaller class sizes at high-poverty elementary schools and a strong district wellness policy.

After decades of “reforms” that have encouraged privatization, diminished the teaching profession and unfairly labeled children and schools as failing, people across the U.S. are demanding change. As a result of grass-roots organizing and union action, public schools in Los Angeles and other cities will have smaller class sizes, more support staff, and limits on charter and voucher school expansion.

Wisconsin is poised to better support its public schools. After years of devastating budget cuts, Gov. Tony Evers has called for increased funding for public education while ending the expansion of independent charter schools and freezing enrollment in voucher programs.

Despite this good news, we face numerous challenges in our school district. Not all children are thriving. This is unacceptable. I want every student to receive an excellent education that prepares them for a hopeful future. Classrooms should be joyful places to learn, and all children must be valued and respected. We will undermine our efforts to create opportunity for all children if we pursue “reforms” that have devastated public education nationally.

As a School Board member, I will advocate for evidence-based strategies to close achievement and opportunity gaps. We know what works: more teachers of color, small class sizes, experienced teachers, early childhood education; a challenging, culturally relevant curriculum including the arts, humanities and world languages; and services and interventions for students who need them.

One of my top priorities will be standing up for staff and the teaching profession. Teachers need support and resources to meet the needs of all children. They also need more say in how they run their classrooms. Strong schools for all means strong support for educators.

I will oppose privatization and fight for public education. School privatization takes choice away from public school families by draining resources from schools. In coming years, voucher and charter schools that are not governed by our elected School Board will siphon millions of dollars out of MMSD public schools. Nationally, only one out of four charter schools performs better than public schools.

All of our children must be physically and emotionally safe at school. The incident at Whitehorse, and other concerning incidents, clearly indicate that we must do better as a community. Creating just and equitable schools will require tremendous work.

School districts must work transparently by listening to the citizens they represent and communicating information back to the community. As your School Board member, I will visit schools, listen to students, families and staff, and ensure that all community members — especially underrepresented communities — are informed and have a voice in how our schools are run.

I am well-prepared to serve on the School Board. As a public education advocate, I have studied district data, budgets and policies. I have dedicated my life to public service, both through my career at UW-Madison and my leadership in the community.

When people unite for democratic, progressive change, we build our power for creating a better world. Let’s come together on April 2 and vote for strong public schools that will give every child in our community the opportunity for a bright future.

Cristiana Carusi is a candidate for School Board Seat 3.

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