Sarb Rai is running for school trustee in Langley Township. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Sarb Rai is running for school trustee in Langley Township. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

MEET THE CANDIDATES

IN THE LANGLEY SCHOOL TRUSTEE RACE: Sarb Rai

Ahead of Oct. 15, the Advance Times offers a profile and Q&A opportunity to each candidate

Sarb Rai

RUNNING WITH CONTRACT WITH LANGLEY

Federal public servant, age 47

Brookswood resident who’s lived in Langley 18 years

As a mother of three children – one of whom is a diverse learner, and another who was bullied – I understand the value of equal education and the importance of a safe school environment for children in the Langley public school system.

Having these experiences, I want to ensure that guidelines are put in place so that no other parent or student has to go through this.

My 22-years experience as a federal public servant gave me the skills to mitigate high-stress situations with tactful communication, and I can facilitate conflict resolution.

I am committed to improve the quality of education for all students. I will streamline a structured and efficient training process for SEAs, enforce an anti-bullying program with defined procedures, and promote mental health education.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Sarb.Rai.5

Website: www.contractwithlangley.org/the/right/team/rai

Phone: 604-724-7883

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Have you held office in past? If so, please specify: No.

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CLICK TO CHECK OUT OUR FULL ELECTION GUIDE ONLINE

Questions:

(These answers are presented as the candidates submitted them)

1. Do you agree with how SOGI material and other sex education is currently taught in the classroom, including LGBTQ2S content and sexual consent?

Yes. Sex education is important to learn for reasons of inclusion, diversity and understanding; so that an individual’s sexuality is understood and accepted. Parents should be informed that sex education is being offered, and have the right to decide if their child will participate.

2. Are class sizes too big?

Yes. For equitable education and to maximize potential, students require one-on-one support from their teachers. This is not manageable with large class sizes. To support the dynamics of each classroom composition, smaller classrooms, and more teachers and Student Education Assistants are needed.

3. Should all students with diverse abilities or special needs be taught in regular classrooms?

No. Classrooms should accommodate the unique learning needs for diverse learners. Recognizing and supporting diverse needs works to create equitable education and inclusivity in classrooms.

4. Is the provincial government providing enough funding for public schools?

No. There is a shortage of teachers and support staff, which has resulted in overworked staff, limited support for students and a hindrance to post-secondary planning.

Due to the shortage of teachers, there are limited options of elective classes and programs.

Students can’t enroll in elective classes that support their post-secondary education direction and/or career choice because several classes are at capacity.

The shortage of student education assistants has resulted in less one-on-one support in classrooms and limits student growth.

Guidance counsellors help students decide what electives are best suited for their skill set. With only one guidance counsellor available for the entire student population, not all students get the support to help plan their class schedule.

5. Should the district set a deadline to switch to an all-electric bus and vehicle fleet?

No. Currently, there is a lack of funding in several areas of the education system that need attention before the all-electric bus and vehicle deadline can be determined. Areas of funding that need to be prioritized are recruitment, and mental health and wellness.

To maximize students’ learning potential, funds need to be spent on recruitment and retention of qualified educators, such as teachers and Special Education Assistants.

The hiring of counselors and psychologists is needed to introduce learning tools that enhance mental health development for students.

I support a sustainable environment, and welcome the deadline to introduce an all-electric bus and vehicle fleet after other priorities are planned for and/or there is a surplus in the budget.

6. Should there be more emphasis on STEM courses in schools?

Yes. STEM courses set students up for success in pursuing post-secondary education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These academic disciplines have positive implications for career development, and teach valuable skills like problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision making, leadership, entrepreneurship. These skills make students more employable and prepared for the workforce.

7. Should the district consider offering distance education for some students on a regular basis, based on what was learned during the pandemic?

Yes. Students have different learning styles, and some may thrive in a customizable learning environment. A controlled environment in a home setting without several classmates and distractions, may also be more beneficial for students with behavioural issues such as being violent or disruptive in class.

8. Should the district have a strategy to reduce the use of portables?

Yes. Portables are separate from the school and don’t give students or teachers a feeling of inclusivity. Additionally, portables relate to health risk factors because of poor air circulation and the absence of air conditioners. With the yearly increase of extreme temperatures, air conditioners are necessary to manage heat to a safe temperature.

9. Should there be more emphasis on Indigenous-based history and culture courses?

Yes. By supporting the Ministry’s Indigenous Education Strategy to promote awareness about First Nation, Métis and Inuit cultures, histories, perspectives, and contributions in schools, students will be more informed, understand the culture, and be advocates for inclusivity and diversity. Indigenous-based history and culture courses will help students work towards understanding and supporting Indigenous reconciliation.

10. Should new elementary schools be built larger, to accommodate more students and deal with continuing rapid enrolment growth?

Yes. Continuous improvement is needed to accommodate the changing world and needs of students.

CLICK ON OUR ELECTIONS 2022 TAB TO FIND A WIDE VARIETY OF RELEVANT STORIES

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

How the questions were presented to each candidate

Langley Advance Times readers have repeatedly told us how much they value this important, straight-forward reference guide that helps orient them with the range of choices on the ballots – both at the council and school board levels.

Towards that end, we have attempted to make this package available (along with the following instructions) to each of the candidates in a timely fashion ahead of the Oct. 15 election.

Please read carefully before you start to fill this out.

To help voters in Langley make their choices on election day, the Langley Advance Times is asking local candidates 10 issue-based questions.

You must provide a ‘yes,’ a ‘no,’ or a ‘don’t know’ (Y, N, D) response to EACH of these questions.

Each question MUST be answered with yes (Y), no (N), or Don’t Know (D). This will be published in a grid in the Oct. 6 edition. Any questions not answered will be LEFT BLANK.

Candidates may also expand on ANY OR ALL of these questions (to a maximum of 200 words each). Please note any responses longer than that will be cut off at the 201-word mark.

Due to space limitations, we can only guarantee to run one of these answers in the Langley Advance Times print edition ahead of the election. You must CLEARLY indicate which expanded answer you want to see published in print. If you do not specify, we will choose. Any and all expanded answers provided will be published online at www.langleyadvancetimes.com.

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