A school board representative should have experience working with school districts and be dedicated to advocating for equity in our schools. Ana Vasudeo, a candidate for Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) School Board, meets these qualifications and many more, making her the clear choice for a school board representative. Vasudeo is running for school board to create an equitable BUSD, advocate for vulnerable students, and work to close the opportunity gap. Vasudeo grew up in San Francisco and Berkeley, and currently lives in West Berkeley with her husband and two kids, who both attend BUSD schools. She has served on the Cragmont Elementary PTA and school site council, and currently serves as the vice president of equity and inclusion on the Berkeley PTA Council.
One of Vasudeo’s strengths is her experience working with multiple school districts. In her role at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), she works to provide safe and sustainable transportation to and from school for students, and supervises San Francisco’s Safe Routes to School Program. She is no newcomer to the inner workings of school districts, and is an expert at navigating these systems to advocate for students. Her experience overseeing large scale projects within school districts makes Vasudeo the best choice for school board, because it will allow her to hit the ground running once she is elected. During the pandemic, when BUSD is making tough decisions that will affect thousands of students, we need a representative who has experience making decisions with everyone’s best interests in mind.
Vasudeo is committed to closing the opportunity gap in BUSD, especially for Latinx and Black students, as well as students with disabilities. In order to achieve this, she plans to implement a district wide Latinx and African American resolution that would hold BUSD responsible for collaborating with families and other community organizations. This strategy of collaboration is imperative to closing the opportunity gap, because families and communities know best what their children need to succeed. As the only Latinx school board member if elected, Vasudeo will be able to represent, and reach out to the families of the 21 percent of students in BUSD who identify as Latinx.
BUSD has attempted to close the opportunity gap in the district in the past, to limited success. In attempts to provide equal opportunities for all BUSD students graduating in 2020 and beyond, BUSD established Vision 2020 in 2008. However, the class of 2020 has come and gone, and many of the plan’s goals have not been acheived. Vasudeo has shown her dedication to fighting for equal opportunity for students and centering the needs of families and students of color. She is the candidate that will push the district to meet the goals laid out in the 2020 plan, and beyond.
BUSD, like the rest of the world, is in uncharted territory. It must do better at addressing the racism and inequities experienced by Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in BUSD. To guide us through these times, BUSD needs a leader like Vasudeo, who is both experienced in working with school districts to provide equal opportunity for all students, and deeply passionate about her work. To support Vasudeo, students can encourage their families to donate to her campaign, join her next phone banking event, and contact her campaign for other ways to get involved. Most importantly, eligible voters should be sure to register to vote, and vote for Vasudeo in the upcoming election on November 3.