Ramirez Dean Cites 38 Years In Education In Superintendent Bid

(April 2) Dr. Rita Ramirez Dean, a college professor and former board member with the Copper Mountain College Board of Trustees and previous Democratic candidate for Congress in the 41st Congressional District as well as in the 65th California Assembly District, is now seeking election as San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.
Dean touts her 38 years’ experience as an educator and her own academic achievements in reciting her qualifications for the post.
She is running against Ted Alejandre, who was recently promoted to the position of assistant county schools superintendent by current county superintendent Gary Thomas, and another candidate, Frank Garza.
A professor at Copper Mountain College in Yucca Valley from 1972 until 1999 and professor at Copper Mountain and its sister campus College of the Desert in Palm Desert from 1999 until 2004, Ramirez Dean was the chair of the foreign language department and later the chair of the reading department, which she founded. From 2008 until 2012, she was a member of the Copper Mountain College Board. She holds a doctorate in education from Louisiana State University.
If elected county superintendent, she said, her first emphasis would be on “the dropout rate. San Bernardino County has the worst dropout rate in the state and nation, particularly among Latino and African American students. Our Latino and African American students in 2010 had a dropout rate of 52 percent. In the county as a whole we have a dropout rate of  26 to 28 percent. That is what began my desire to be county superintendent. Enough is enough. There is no future without education. The only way to do it is do it for yourself. I bring 38 years in educational experience to my candidacy. I have taught languages, mathematics, history, business administration, and  biology. I have broad experience. I taught for four years at the primary school level. I taught at the college level for more than three decades. As soon as I am in the superintendent’s office, I would do a diagnostic of curriculum in the areas of English and science and math, so if a student is in a failing situation we can put him or her into a lab so they can get back to where they should be and not fail. I want to create alternative education for those who do not want to go on to college, vocation academies. Parents want to have for their children the best education and best job skills. I think we need to provide them more than just preparing for higher education. I think we should hire professionals in law enforcement, music, and auto technology and put them into place so students who wish can learn work skills in their respective fields.”
Ramirez Dean said schools should not give up on students after they have failed.
“Dropouts find themselves without job skills,” she said. “We need to establish education centers to bring them back to school to get diplomas. We also need to establish English as a second language classes for parents and those who want to become citizens. I believe that if people are here and they are speaking Spanish that is wonderful. I do not believe people should forsake their native language. But the only way to survive in our world is to learn English. I think we need to look after everyone from young to old.”
Ramirez Dean said adequate teaching manpower is available. “We have good teachers, parents and schools, but things need to be done to get those teachers who have been furloughed back into the classroom. We need to enhance safety and security so children do not get hurt.”
She said an effort to end truancy is needed.
“As for those students who are not at school, we need to get them back into the classrooms if they are not ill,” she said.
Ramirez Dean said she is cut out to be the county superintendent of schools.
“I not only have experience and knowledge, I have the heart and I speak both languages – English and Spanish – and can communicate with students, teachers and parents in both English and Spanish. I know what teachers feel. I am not only a teacher but the mother of two sons, both of whom are teachers. I am not limited to just being an education administrator, or just being a teacher or just a professor or just being a parent. I have and will continue to have an open door policy. Those with a stake in our schools and educational system can talk to me in either language. I am here for everyone. I know we must defend our students and do everything possible for their future. I spent six years teaching elementary school and junior high and have been teaching at the community college level for 32 years. It is my love of education that has inspired me to run. In my own life, I have had to suffer and sacrifice. I was ten years old when my father died. I was the youngest of four daughters. My mother knew that if we did not get an education we would not survive. All three of my sisters and I have college educations. My mother held our family together and education was central to that. Parents will do anything for their children and make sure they receive the best education. They are entitled to the American Dream, even those who are not yet but want to become American citizens. With education comes jobs and prosperity and everyone is better off.  I suffer when I see children not receiving a proper education. I suffer when I see parents trying to do the right thing and education is not available for their children  because of the elimination of resources and teachers being put on furlough.  I would be the first Hispanic women to run and serve and the second woman to become superintendent in this county. The first was elected in 1926. I love children and respect parents.”
Ramirez Dean grew up in Orange County.

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