Monday, June 27, 2005

Community Leaders Meet at Forum on Local Schools

(Photo courtesy of ACORN)

On May 21, a forum of parents, educators and elected and community leaders met in San Jose at a forum on schools. The forum was sponsored by San Jose ACORN, a local community organizing group as part of The Great Schools NOW! Campaign, a coalition of ACORN, the Service Employees International Union Local 1877, the California Teachers Association and California PICO.

A panel composed of Assemblymember Joe Coto, school board members from San Jose United and Alum Rock School District, parents and community members outlined the challenges facing parents and schools and looked for common ground.

Alma Chavez, parent to two children with special needs spoke about the impossible task she faced in getting help for her children's education. The panel outlined a lack of funding for schools as a major barrier in providing quality education for children. Assemblyman Coto stated that funding in California for schools is not at a level that will allow schools to adequately meet the needs of children. He pledged to advocate for increased support for local schools. San Jose Unified School District Board member, Jorge Gonzales stated that the district has lost $10 million last year due to the suspension of Proposition 98 funds. The need for stability in school boards and school staffs was stressed. It was also expressed that better relationships between parents and teachers needs to be developed so that there is mutual understanding between parents, educators, elected officials and leaders in the community.

In the future, ACORN will be working extensively on school reform. They have pledged to knock on 200-250 doors per week! If you would like to be part of this effort, contact Alejandra Arostegui at (408) 293-1536.


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