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Dear Friends,

Fifty-four days until November 3!

Please see this week's campaign newsletter below to stay up-to-date on the rapid developments affecting our schools and our young people.

With only a few weeks remaining in the campaign, please consider one of these small actions: 
  • Request your mail-in/absentee ballot online or on the paper form mailed to your home. If you need help, please email us and we will call back.
  • Request your first (or a replacement) campaign yard sign by clicking here.
  • Make a contribution to the campaign to help us reach the hundreds of thousands of voters who will participate in this election!
Look at the end of this message for English and Spanish-language resources on virtual learning and school policy. If you know of other resources, please send them my way and I will include in the next newsletter.

Thank you for your continued support. Let's go win this for our kids!



September 9 Campaign Newsletter: A Wrench in Public Education

We will be coping with the consequences of the pandemic for a long time. The Federal government is weighing direct support to school districts, but we do not know what will happen with this administration. State and county governments are not offering increases and remain reticent to use rainy-day funds. Meanwhile, Governor Hogan has decided that it is okay to press schools to reopen buildings without putting in place safety measures for students, teachers, and staff.

While many students are adjusting to virtual learning, many more remain daunted. Thousands may not be logging in. Special education students are not receiving their usual services. The prospect of learning loss cannot be ignored. I know a number of families who have pulled their kids out of the school system. Teachers are stressed; they are delivering instruction, managing cameras, recordings, and technology, and also trying to manage their own families and home lives. Rather than bring teachers solidly onboard, MCPS is now in labor impasse with teachers. Expect these stressors do grow.

As the only potential Board member to have taught online and in-person, I understand how to
make distance learning work. I will bring to the Board practical knowledge and clear understanding of how to push MCPS forward.

We must also start planning NOW for reopening schools when it becomes safe. If we do not start planning immediately, we will fumble when the time comes. We have to think about who returns first, which teachers and staff are willing to return, how to match teachers with students, how to use space beyond school buildings, and what testing, tracing, and substitution protocols need to be in place.
Read more on reopening in this oped I wrote in Maryland Matters.

I have been hosting parents, teachers, and students for Thursday night chats on different education issues. You can check out these videos on the campaign
YouTube Channel. You can also join us live on Facebook on Thursday nights at 8:15 pm.

The safety of students has been on my mind for many weeks now. This summer saw an outpouring of student testimonies on sexual assault and racism and now we have the arrest of an MCPS teacher for inappropriate sexual contact with a student. Now with cameras and children being recorded, the privacy of students and families is in question. School maybe virtual, but we need to address the mental health, wellness, and privacy concerns of students and staff.

To push for these changes, I need to win the BOE seat - and I need your help. Please share this newsletter with your friends and family, as well as on social media, and consider forwarding it to neighborhood and community listservs. You can also help by
making a contribution here.


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 spe
nding, 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. 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 Can You 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, please sign up or email.

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
Twitter: @sunildasgupta4
Facebook: @SunilforSchoolBoard Instagram: @sunildasgupta4
Email: Phone: 240-554-5923
Authority: Friends 4 Sunil Dasgupta
Treasurer: Crystal Calarusse
Copyright © 2020 Friends 4 Sunil Dasgupta, All rights reserved.

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