Chris M. Frésquez
Over the past few years we have seen our educators step up and courageously speak out against the various obstacles they and their students face.
Due to their negotiating efforts, Denver Public School (DPS) teachers, their union and along with thousands of supporters, were able to agree on working towards a progressive and viable plan for the future of the Denver Public School District.
To continue the momentum of support for Denver Public School teachers and students, The Weekly Issue/El Semanario announces our endorsement for Tay Anderson, an At-Large Candidate for the Denver Public School board.
In my discussions with Tay, he exudes a deep sense of commitment and passion for education and the need to maintain public education for all students across Denver.
His enthusiasm for our students and teachers is refreshing and fulfills our hopeful process for the future of public education.
Activism is a key component to a successful outcome for any endeavor, and Tay has defined genuine activism throughout his educational experiences as a student, and now as a Debate and Student Council teacher at North High School as well as a Restorative Practice Coordinator.
Tay experienced the effects of decisions made by DPS as a high school student. “Four years ago, I was in a student leadership retreat trying to find my voice as a student. I was told that Manual High School would be forced to co-locate due to low enrollment. School Board Member, Happy Haynes said, ‘This decision has already been made by the School Board and you all need to tell your peers this is happening.’ I didn’t agree with this, so I stood up and asked, ‘How do we get a student on the School Board to represent our voices.’ She replied, ‘You need to be 18 years old and run like the rest of us.’”
I believe that it takes great ambition, courage and sacrifice to run for an elected position; and I see that Tay recognizes what lies ahead.
Tay delves into the subjects of inequities faced by Denver Public School students. “Equity should not just be a buzzword,” says Tay. “It is the measuring stick of how students are truly getting access to their constitutionally-protected right to an education. Right now, in Denver, they are not. Our achievement gap along racial lines is one of the nation’s worst. This is absolutely shameful. It is within our power to fix it.”
He addresses in-depth topics regarding equity and how to proceed forward with a progressive approach (tayanderson.org): such as preventing a preschool to prison pipeline, restorative justice, gender neutral bathrooms, ending period poverty in DPS; to, respect for educators, living wages for staff and recruiting and retaining educators.
During an interview with The Weekly Issue/El Semanario last month, Tay he indicated that his priority is “making sure young people have a seat at the table.”
Tay’s humble experience as a homeless student in high school has engrained the hardships that students and their families face when having to choose and prioritize life’s necessities and to sometimes do without.
“I understand what it means to have to choose between lunch or a bus ticket. I want to ensure that all students have a thriving neighborhood school, all educators are paid a living wage, and to give the School Board back to the people of Denver”, explains Tay on his campaign website.
Tay has been fortunate to come from a family of educators, and was inspired by his grandmother’s 35-year career as a grade-school teacher.
“Educator runs through my veins and that’s because when my grandmother and her siblings were being raised, there weren’t educators that looked like them. They went to segregated schools. They weren’t allowed to go into different facilities because of the color of their skin and so they made it their mission to give back to communities, and it’s my mission to carry that on. We have to make sure every student has equitable opportunities; it’s one thing to talk about equality and there’s another to talk about equity and right now we are missing that equity component with our schools. That’s why I got back into this work. She is the reason I fight for these kids, because she fought for me.”
Tay’s words and vision speak to truth, and that is why The Weekly Issue/El Semanario encourages Denver votes to participate in the November 5th Denver Public School board election and vote for Tay Anderson, At Large Denver Public School Board.
More info: tayanderson.org.
Chris M. Frésquez serves as Publisher for The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.
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