My name is José Rodriguez and I'm running for GRPS School Board. This is why…

For five years, I have worked with the children of our Grand Rapids community as a student advocate. I have seen the tremendous amount of perseverance that our young people have in the face of adversity and I have seen the amazing young minds that will lead us into the future. I have also seen the ways that "traditional" education can, as scholar Bettina Love puts it, murder kids' spirits.

Education can no longer be what it was 30 years ago. We are working with an entirely different generation, and in order to meet the needs of our students today, we must be wiling to radically transform our education system into one that is communally and culturally responsive. Standardized testing, punitive discipline, school policing, and the like, must be left in the past. Students of all identities, including Hispanic students, Black students, LGBTQ students, neurodivergent students, and differently-abled students, should feel included in their school communities. This, and much more, is necessary for students to be able to thrive in a public school setting...and it starts with us!

- José Rodriguez