First, the debate has passed about whether SJUSD will or will not have Charter Schools. State law allows Charters and they are here, period. I am supportive of choice for students and families in attending a school that they feels best meets their academic needs and where families feel empowered to positively affect the education of their children. For some this is a Charter school, for others it may be a magnet or a neighborhood school. Regardless of the location, the District has to support each school and each teacher in the delivery of academic excellence, to whatever extent the governance proximity and the legislative language allows the District to do so.
The real question is more about how does SJUSD intend to support academic achievement of all students that it is in any way responsible for? The mobility rate of SJUSD shows us that students move, from school to school, either as a result of their families moving, their circumstances changing, or simply because our system includes elementary, middle and high schools.
Instead of limiting ourselves to asking how the District can effectively collaborate with Charter Schools, we really need to take a look at the bigger picture. For example, how is SJUSD working to ensure academic continuity for students who attend Alternative Schools, the School at Juvenile Hall, those that are homeschooled and even those that choose to attend private schools? How are we as a district promoting the academic success of all students who live in the District? Such a holistic approach normalizes the Charter movement and helps us see that ultimately, students need our support in learning, wherever they are.
The San Jose Teachers Association has taken a proactive approach to the emergence of Charter Schools in SJUSD and Santa Clara County. If elected, I will make sure that Charter Schools are held to the performance and other standards they asserted would be met in their initial Charter petitions. Just as importantly, however, is my commitment to work collaboratively with Charter Board members and administrators to figure out how we can share best practices, jointly address the mobility issues for students and how we can demonstrate to the County Office of Education, the State of California and the nation that San Jose Unified has as its clear and number one priority closing the achievement gap among our students to foster academic success, collegiate opportunities and a successful next generation of Silicon Valley adults.
I welcome your feedback regarding Charter schools or any other issue through the comments section of my website.
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