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Dear Friends,

Forty-seven days until November 3!

With little more than a month to go, well over 100k voters have requested absentee ballots in Montgomery County, and we need to contact them! If you would like to help us phone bank, please fill out this form. Phone banking is easy! We will meet on zoom as a team, give you a list of 20 of your neighbors to call, and make calls together as a team. Let's make sure that your friends and neighbors are paying attention to this important down-ballot race!

Other ways to help:
  • Click here to ask for a campaign yard sign.
  • Ask for your mail-in/absentee ballot online or on the paper form mailed to your home. Email us if you need help and we will call you back.
  • Make a contribution to help us reach the hundreds of thousands of voters in this election!
Thank you for your support. Let's go win this for our kids!

Sunil

 

September 17 Campaign Newsletter: Thinking Ahead

While walking my dog one night this week, I met a twenty-year veteran first-grade MCPS teacher for the first time and right there on the street she almost broke down crying because of stress. She said she can’t keep up with all that she is supposed to do. Despite her best efforts, it’s been super hard to engage her students. The technology doesn't quite work. Some students sit wrapped in blankets, not engaging, potentially traumatized. She told me she was going to three student homes this week to deliver writing paper because the parents can’t pick up from school during day hours. Her principal, she told me, does it all the time and the school community has been amazing, running a pantry.

We are in just in the third week of school and, while many students and teachers have started well, this level of stress is going to be unsustainable. We need to consider the current teaching and learning conditions, including whether it is really possible or desirable for the virtual learning day to approximate a traditional school day. That's been the logic of how MCPS has organized its Fall 2020.

The problem is that we speak of the pandemic as unprecedented, but immediately follow that up with the promise or desire to return to normal. If indeed, these are unprecedented conditions, we are going to have to find a new, sustainable normal until the pandemic is entirely behind us. Leadership going forward lies in envisioning this new normal.

Before the decision is made to return some teachers and students to physical classrooms, we need a robust plan of action that prioritizes student and staff safety and makes logistical sense. Right now, I see no evidence of a workable reopening plan from MCPS. Any workable plan needs to answer four basic questions:
Who goes back into school buildings first? There is no way to fit all students in school buildings safely. We need to know as well who among our families, teachers, and staff are willing to take higher risks to go back and who are not. A census will determine the numbers and we should honor individual choices. Where should students go back to? CDC is recommending six-feet of social distancing. Most schools will not fit all or even a large portion of the student population. We need to think now about where else we can put students. And lastly, I do not see any protocols for temperature checks, testing, tracing, quarantine, and substituting teachers. These questions have to be answered before school buildings can reopen. Read more on reopening in this oped I wrote in Maryland Matters.

Have you heard of the Thursday night Parent-Teacher Chats? We have talked about reading struggles, virtual learning, learning pods, and a whole lot more. Tonight, we have MCPS students joining the conversation. If you are interested in how students are doing in the new school year, please join us on Facebook Live at 8:15 pm. We will be taking questions.You can view past chats on our
YouTube Channel.

Have other questions? Check out www.sunildasgupta.com and send Sunil an email.

Why Sunil?

MCPS needs leaders who bring vision, creativity, academic management experience, and stakeholder partnerships as it tries to meet some big challenges in the months and years ahead.

I have developed
clear, realistic, and achievable plans on very difficult issues such as the boundary study, mental health support for students and staff, capital spending, climate change action, special education, and re-opening schools, and from the first day on the job, I will be there to support your students, your teachers, your staff, your school administrators, and you.

Reassert the BOE's leadership role: I am the only candidate who has spent 20 years in the classroom and over a decade in academic planning and management and have taught online for seven years. I can and will work with other Board members and use my academic background to engage with MCPS staff to make clear, data-driven, and transparent decisions that renew and strengthen public education in the county.

Be that independent voice: The system needs to be challenged in constructive ways and I know how to transform without disrupting. From equity and academic performance to student welfare and labor relations, I am and will be an independent voice on behalf of students and families, and it is my hope to continue to build and engage a coalition that includes all parts of Montgomery County.

Ensure teachers and staff have the support they need to continue to educate our children: We need to make better use of our educators, teachers, and staff. I will push to reestablish collaborative decision-making that worked well for MCPS in past years. On key questions like how to fix distance learning, I know what needs to be done because I have spent years teaching online. This is why I have been endorsed with the Apple Ballot by the Montgomery County Education Association (the county teacher’s union), SEIU Local 500 (our support staff union), and the MCPS Retirees Association.

Bring diversity of thought and experience: As a first-generation immigrant, I will bring to the Board my experience managing diversity and overcoming discrimination. One-third of the county's population is foreign-born, and while our Student Members of the Board have been wonderfully diverse, we have elected just one Asian-American non-student member in the BOE's nearly 140-year history. If elected, I will be the second. Further, I represent a broad coalition of supporters from Takoma Park to Poolesville and from Bethesda to Germantown and I have been endorsed by CASA in Action, Maryland’s largest Latinx advocacy group, and Progressive Maryland, which has been one of the biggest defenders of equity in our state.

How You Can Help

Make a Campaign Contribution: We need new yard signs and money for campaign advertising to reach tens of thousands of homes. I depend on individual contributions from supporters like you. Please consider a donation.

Ask for an Absentee/Mail-in Ballot now: The official form asks for personal information and you will need to have your driver’s license in hand. If you need help filling in the ballot request, please email us and we will set up a time to help you.

Make a 30-second video about why you chose to support me: Video is how we communicate these days and it is great for potential supporters to watch your endorsement of me. All you need is to shoot yourself talking to the camera. The video can be as short as 15 seconds or as long as 1 minute. Once you're ready, email it to me.

Invite your friends to a zoom call: It is easy. We do all the back-end work. You send out the invitations and we can even write text you can use. Please email us.

Volunteer your time/special skills: We need help with graphic design, photo/video, photo/video editing, or volunteer tracking, phone-banking, please sign up.


Display a yard sign: Ask for a sign if you need one or want a new one.
Useful Resources
Recursos en español
Sunil is endorsed by:
  • Montgomery County Education Association (the county teacher's union). Yes, the Apple Ballot.
  • SEIU500 Local (representing MCPS staff)
  • MCPS Retirees Association
  • CASA in Action
  • Progressive Maryland
  • The Coalition of Asian Pacific Democrats of Maryland (CAPAD-MD)
  • YIMBY MoCo
  • Fair Access for Western Montgomery
  • United We Dream Action
  • Jud Ashman, Mayor of Gaithersburg
  • Sidney Katz, Montgomery County Council President
  • Eric Luedtke, Maryland House Majority Leader
  • Aruna Miller, Former Delegate, Maryland General Assembly
  • Mark Pierzchala, Rockville City Council Member
  • Hans Riemer, Montgomery County Councilmember
  • Jeffrey Slavin, Somerset Mayor
  • Susan Turnbull, Former Maryland Lt. Governor candidate



Sunil Dasgupta, Ph.D (he/him/his)
Candidate for Montgomery County Board of Education At-Large
Website/Donation: sunildasgupta.com
Twitter: @sunildasgupta4
Facebook: @SunilforSchoolBoard Instagram: @sunildasgupta4
Email: friends4sunil@gmail.com Phone: 240-554-5923
Authority: Friends 4 Sunil Dasgupta
Treasurer: Crystal Calarusse
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Copyright © 2020 Friends 4 Sunil Dasgupta, All rights reserved.


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