I am a candidate who gives ideas and finds solutions. By engaging the community at the start of the problem-solving process, we can elicit a greater variety of ideas and feedback. The more diverse our ideas, the more likely we are to formulate a solution that truly addresses our needs. I’m not afraid to start the conversation by sharing ideas, taking criticism, and using that feedback to refine a plan until we get the solution right. 

As perfect as Oak Park may seem, we have some pretty scary issues, and we need to start the community conversation to find creative solutions. Property taxes are the elephant in the room. It’s easy to talk about all the things we would do if we were flush with money. It’s hard to formulate back-up plans, but doing do so is the responsible thing to do. 

We brag about our diversity and inclusiveness, but if you look at the statistics, our achievement gap is larger than the state average. That’s a problem, and our efforts to solve it keep falling short. As a scientist, I know that even the best evidence-based solutions will never work unless we have buy-in from the teachers, students, and parents in our community. 

Instead of looking to the ivory towers and continuing the insanity of implementing solutions that don’t work, we should take a grassroots approach. Why not ask the students and families in our district, “What can we do to help you?” 

I admit, I don’t have all the answers, but I will start the conversations and work with members of the community to find them. Please vote Heather Claxton-Douglas for District 97 school board on April 4.

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