The Difference in Schools Between East San Jose and Los Gatos Is Why Parents Like Me Continue to Fight for High Quality Public Charter Schools

I’m trying to put myself in the school board members’ shoes in an attempt to reason with decisions that they make specifically when it comes to public charter schools. School boards in my community may feel pressured by the union because they funnel money to their campaigns. But their decisions at the end of the day affect our students and their chance to be able to be successful when they get to the university level.

California Teachers’ Association has been making a lot of noise with their advertisements on the radio and their commercials saying that a lot of public officials who are supporting charters schools are corrupted by millionaires and that millionaires are profiting from our schools. But we could argue the other side of things; there is a big interest in the teachers’ unions when they are financing public officials and their campaigns. Why is this not considered corruption as well?

Here is my parent perspective: Many parents have looked for high quality education and have found it in many public charter schools in the community that will indeed teach and prepare students. But unions have never stopped to ask us parent as to why we’ve made that decision for our students and why we selected and continue to chose public charter schools and not traditional public schools.

La información que la unión necesita para entender el porqué escogemos escuelas públicas charter está en nosotros los padres y en la comunidad. The information that the union needs to understand the why families choose public charter schools lies within us parents and in the community.

Los Gatos and Cupertino are two districts in San Jose that are very affluent and do not need charter schools in their community because their students are being given high quality education compared districts that are just a few miles away like my community, East Side San Jose.

I am an Alum Rock District parent and voter who doesn’t see the same success in East Side SJ like I do in Los Gatos. If public charters are bringing what is necessary and needed here, families would gladly accept that over our traditional schools that have been failing our students for decades and have been spending our tax money just to fail our students and families over and over again.

Zip code boundaries are what separates those high performing schools from low performing schools in the beautiful city of San Jose; charter schools don’t have this boundary and in fact are open to anyone who would like to apply. This is the exact reason why they are considered a different option, a choice.

As a parent, I frankly don’t care who is taking what money, what is most important to me is that my children are being given a world class education and are being prepared for the university and for life. What my community needs are people who are interested in uplifting our people.

Money is always part of this conversation, but at the end of the day, that money belongs to my children because I pay my fair share of taxes. I am not against teachers or the union. In fact, I agree that all teachers should be paid for their hard work and dedication fairly. What I need is for teachers to respond to the needs of the community they serve. If we continue to add money to pensions but not keep teachers in my community accountable, then our system will never get better, and we will continue to fight for better options.

I would like to invite all parents to become informed about the quality of the education that your child is receiving. Is the education that he/she is receiving what your student needs to be able to reach for his/her goals and realize his/her dreams?

What do you think?

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Heriberto Soto

Heriberto Soto

Heriberto Soto is a parent leader in East Side San Jose who was born in Zitacuaro, Michoacan in 1962 and migrated to San Jose in 1985. He began advocating for high quality education when he noticed his son was struggling in elementary school and was falling far behind. The school was not providing his child with the assistance and help that he needed to succeed.

Heriberto has been a parent leader and advocate for KIPP Bay Area Schools (Knowledge is Power Program) and Rocketship Public Schools and actively advocates for high quality choice in East Side San Jose and other underserved communities where schools are not preparing students to learn and be successful citizens of the world.

He wants to make sure that his children and other children in his community are not limited to opportunities to compete with the fast paced technological world we live in. He truly believes both KIPP and Rocketship are doing just that, opening up opportunities to children in East Side San Jose that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to attain.

“Every child can learn, you just have to give them the opportunity to do so.”

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