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Dear Friends,

Thirty-five days until November 3! We are building incredible momentum, and we have a new and exciting outdoor volunteer opportunity: Sign up to wave a sign at polling stations during early voting or on election day!

Here are other ways how you can help:
  • Make a few calls with us. Last week we made over 700 calls! Fill out this form if you are interested.
  • Make a contribution to help us reach the hundreds of thousands of voters in this election!
  • Request a campaign yard sign.
Thank you for your support. Let's go win this for our kids!

Sunil

 

September 29 Campaign Newsletter: Reopening Buildings and Grading

The drumbeat to reopen school buildings is growing. This week Fairfax County decided to bring back about 7,000 students and 700 teachers, mostly for special education in October. Teachers with medical risks do not have to return, but those with high-risk family members will have to. It is unclear if families can choose not to return.

MCPS is under tremendous pressure to reopen buildings sooner than later, and last Friday it issued the required 45-day notice to employees, paving the road for a potential reopening by November 9. Actual reopening may come later, but the timer is now set. I am apprehensive that announcing a reopening timeline before answering questions about who will return--for both families and staff--is counterproductive. Rather than enable an early return, an artificial deadline is likely to produce more anxiety and confusion. Blaming teachers as obstructing reopening alienates the very people we need on board at this time.

I do not want to see a repeat of the summer where the fall plan was approved five days before the school year was to start, but I am not seeing clear evidence of planning and thinking through several dilemmas: Who will go back first? Are there teachers and staff available? How do we match teachers and students? What happens when a school cannot fit more than a certain number of students? What are the protocols if someone catches the virus? Without answers to these questions, this is another Hail Mary hoping unprepared teachers,  students, and families will somehow catch the ball downfield.  Read more on reopening in this oped I wrote in Maryland Matters.

One big unresolved issue is grading. While the pandemic has forced changes to the instructional medium, the time spent, almost everything we know about school, grading policy this fall remains unchanged. Many university and college admissions offices are weighing the pandemic semesters differently, but MCPS has returned to regular grading. If the promise was to reimagine while recovering and reopening, we are failing our imagination. Walter Johnson senior, David King, captured the problem well in his testimony to the BOE.

We could be reimagining so much. Lower class size, more outdoor education, perhaps garden classrooms, students taking courses outside their home schools, teachers able to collaborate across schools, vibrant student journalism in every middle and high school, climate change action with solar roofs and electric buses, a reading program that emphasized advanced phonics and phonemic awareness, and above all a revitalized home and school partnership.

The Thursday Night Parent-Teacher Chat on October 8 will focus on reopening school buildings. Maryland General Assembly Majority Whip Delegate Eric Leudtke will join us (albeit a little late). Councilmember Hans Riemer will be there and we will have teachers and parents. We will be broadcasting live and taking questions on Facebook. If you are not Facebook, we will post the video to campaign 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)
  • Progressive Neighbors
  • 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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