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Anthony Caro, School Board Candidate

on January 31, 2018

Community organizer Anthony Caro wants the district to adopt a tough new requirement for students to graduate high school. They must have a letter of acceptance from a college or trade school, or have a job lined up. Otherwise, they must join the military.

The West Contra Costa County Unified School District needs to model this graduation requirement, implemented in Chicago early this year, to help students transition into college or the workforce, Caro said.

Caro, 21, a homeowner in Richmond, is a first time runner for the district school board. He also wants the district to partner with local businesses and organizations to bring in more jobs and internships to help students get more civically engaged.

“Our students now are just being pushed through our school system,” Caro said.

He believes that students should be required to complete at least one summer job, internship or community service program.

Caro’s passion for civic engagement was ignited when he volunteered for the 2012 presidential election as a high school student. He took a break from school to create his community-driven organization Citizens Power Network, a nonprofit aimed at encouraging the youth to be active in the community.

Now a senior majoring in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, Caro aims to use his critical thinking skills to mediate the charter school debate. The district is torn between people who are for charter schools because they believe public schools are failing, he said. On the other hand, there are people who are against charter schools and “want them to close because the district loses money.”

Empathy is the cornerstone of Caro’s campaign. His goal is to help people in the community embrace each other’s perspectives, he said.

Caro said he believes people who think “teachers are doing a terrible job” need to put themselves in the shoes of teachers who are often overworked and underpaid. And teachers should also understand that parents want what’s best for their children.

Statewide education testing suggests the district’s students are underperforming.

If elected, Caro said he would implement a policy for mandatory tutoring services at elementary and middle schools because, “the district needs to take lower grades more seriously.”

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