Silicon Valley Latino Report Card

Thomas Freidman in his column in the NY Times on Sunday summed up my feelings perfectly with respect to the federal budget impasse. He wrote: “So far, the GOP is calling for cuts in the things we need to invest more in—like education and infrastructure—while leaving largely untouched things we need to reduce, like entitlements and defense spending. A country that invests more in its elderly than its youth, more in nursing homes than schools, will neither invent the future nor own it.”

In Silicon Valley relative to our future I think the glass is half empty. We must wake up and seize the time now before it is too late. Are our children well? Are our Latino children well?

At last Friday’s unveiling of the Silicon Valley Latino Report Card at the San Jose Convention Center many of us were asked to give a letter grade to the education of Latino Youth. The 25 or so leaders I was clustered with participated in a 30-minute discussion prior to being asked to issue our grade. With unanimity we concluded the grade should be a D-minus.

The report prepared by Applied Survey Research and Creative Mundo Consulting gave the official Latino report card for Education an overall grade of a C. Is this more evidence of grade inflation or are we on the right track with the trend line up?

I will let the facts speak to the grade and the trend line.

Most at our three tables were surprised at the passing grade given the education of Latino Youth in Silicon Valley. Certainly we can stipulate that there are some wonderful stories beginning to be told at local schools and districts relative to the successes preparing Latino youth for school and ensuring their ultimate success through college commencement. And these laudable results are being accomplished with declining funds and resources. Certainly success in these times of diminishing resources requires blistered hands, tired bodies and warm hearts.

In 2009 Latinos accounted for 26 percent of the overall population of Silicon Valley (San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties). By 2040 Latinos are projected to be the largest population group living within Silicon Valley boundaries. Here are some of the facts contained in the Latino Report Card on the Education Indicator.

• 37 percent of Latinos have less than a high school diploma as compared with 7 percent of non-Latinos.
• 14 percent of Latinos have bachelor degrees compared with 52 percent of non-Latinos.
• 33 percent of Latinos are proficient in 3rd grade reading compared with 55 percent for all SV students.
• 30 percent of Latinos are proficient in 8th grade Algebra I compared with 55 percent for all SV students. The SV Latino proficiency rate is • 5 percent behind the CA average for Latino students.
• 25 percent+ drop out of school before completing high school and the rate is climbing.
• 26 percent of Latinos complete UC/CSU course requirements compared with 57 percent for non-Latino students.

There is a saying that college readiness begins in kindergarten. For me it begins upon conception. We can debate that for years, but suffice it to say if we are to have a healthy, vibrant, growing economy in Silicon Valley in the next several decades we need to focus much more of our attention and resources to the education of our Latino youth.

Congratulations to Carmen Sigler, Chairperson of HFSV and Ron Gonzales, HFSV President and CEO, for their foresight in commissioning this first-ever report. In their greetings to the data portion of the report Carmen and Ron write: “The well being of Latinos concerns everyone who lives and works in Silicon Valley. This is about the quality of life not just for Latinos, but for all of us.”

The Report Card highlighted other quality of life indicators and a grade for each:

• Health: B
• Financial Stability: D
• Housing: D
• Environmental Sustainability: C

Joseph Di Salvo is a member of the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Board of Trustees. He is a San Jose native. His columns reflect his personal opinion and can be found weekly on San Jose Inside.

60 Comments

  1. So, Joe, is the problem with the school system, or with the students and their families?

    We throw $billions at programs for the “disadvanatged” and there is little discernable progress.

    You can lead a horse to water…

    • Dear Joe,
      Get back to us when these “disadvantaged” cultures stop regarding those who try and get an education as “sell outs” to their race.

      • Novice it’s worse than that…  I attended James Lick and Sheppard Middle,  maybe the situation has changed in the last 20 years, but I doubt it.

        I attended Sheppard at a time when desegregation in schools was full speed ahead.  Josef George would have been closer, but the district in it’s infinite wisdom of “Integration” decided to make me one of only 3 white kids in attendance at Sheppard.

        Daily I’d get spat on, called “Cracker” “White Boi” “White Devil”  I had a bully that memorized my schedule and would wait to kick my ass outside of the classroom. 

        Unlike Casey Hanes, I wasn’t able to defend myself.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpFZrfaoDOI&feature=related

        It didn’t stop me from fighting back though. 

        One memorable day involved my bully slamming my face into the pavement, then rubbing my face against the pavement like he was grating cheese.  As usual, we sat in the principals office.  After sitting in there getting lectured by the principal, she let my bully go and kept me around for a minute to further lecture me on “Keeping your head down, don’t be a target”

        I never took that lesson to heart…

        But let’s talk about the bullying that goes on in ESSJ schools these days..

        It’s not just the usual “You’re fat, you’re ugly”  There’s so many levels to it.  Some kids are raised with gang affiliation.  Gangs are racist.  ESSJ has typically glorified gang life to its youths.

        You have kids that are into doing drugs as young as 10.  When your life is a horrible, welfare shithole surrounded by other vagrants and loafers, what other hope do you have?  Your parents never had any desire than the here and now, why should you?

        When mom sits you in front of the TV for 5 hours to run and get some crackrocks at night, you don’t really have anyone to turn to for homework help. 

        I saw this type of despair many times across the faces of kids.  When I got to James Lick, I was no longer a target since I was just a speck of plankton in a much bigger sea.

        You have your neighbours, your friends, you everything telling you just don’t do better, your effort is for naught.  Just keep your head down.. It doesn’t matter, some rich corporate bank will own you in the end.  The bank is probably owned by some race one of these afformentioned people in your life taught you to hate.

        I’d say that’s a huge disadvantage.  It’s true, the folks raising these kids are teaching them the wrong thing, but is that the kids fault?

        If there is something the schools need to do NOW is figure out how to support these kids.  Try to break up gangs, show these kids that there is a future they can work towards and achieve. End all bullying, hazing.  Kids should not be scared to go to school, yet there are kids in the ESSJ school system that go to school scared everyday.  It’s pretty hard to look at a book when you’re always checking your six.

        For the majority of the ones that slip through the cracks, they’ll end up doing the same thing as their parents.  Loafing around on welfare, not working, sucking our taxes dry for public living funds because we didn’t bring them past that mindset that they’re in now. 

        So bearing all that in mind…

        1. Do we pay a little now, and help turn these kids into productive members of society?

        2. Pay a lot later in the form of lifetime welfare recipients, criminals, and mentally insane?

        As a human being, I can’t simply turn my back on people like that.  I feel some empathy.

        • Wow, what to say, and how to respond to a post that really jolts it all into perspective. The hardship and toils of day-to-day survival, in comparison to nifty little programs that might tie the problem up in a perfect bow is a hard bridge to gap. However, one of my favorite sayings, and I stand by it, is, “the solution does not look like the problem”.  If I feed the problem, I’ll get more of the same. If I turn toward the problem and coddle it, it feeds unnecessary (low) energy into it. If I stay in the context and focus the (very huge, cumbersome) ship toward solution, pretty soon, or with much patience, that ship will turn. So, it starts daily, with teachers creating an environment of acceptance, a culture of kindness. It starts with a focus on the solution, how to change those old belief systems; they will change, deep down in everyone, no matter what background, success is a fundamental desire. Spirits become dampened, even warped by daily criticism and an institutional sense that “to keep one’s head down” is how to survive. We do not have to feed the problem we must feed the solution- go around. go left. I will be working with these kids, and bridging the gap by bringing in people from similar backgrounds who have surmounted similar obstacles. Perhaps people closer to their age, who they can respect. Making connections for these students to their true roots- peoples who had complex social structures, and mathematical and scientific advances prior to many other cultures. Drugs, even bullying share one component in common-they are fueled by low energy. I can tell youthat these low-energy choices can always be overcome by positive energy, and patience. take care-

  2. I think it is very important to bring attention and focus on certain ethnic groups in order to create universal access to education and/or resources. However I think that Carmen and Ron hit it on the nail when stating “This is about the quality of life not just for Latinos, but for all of us.” How can we make this grade from a D-/C to an A?

    • I submit that dumping a child, without a whit of English comprehension, into a classroom full of native born kids is a losing proposition.  Surely, that sort of behavior will drag the entire class down to the lowest common denominator.  It would be wonderful, however, if the end result was something other than hearing, “For English, press one, para Espanol…”.

        • > It would be wonderful if it said For English push 9…

          For Communist, press 1;
          For Leninist, press 2;
          For Maoist, press 3;
          For Stalinist, press 4;
          For Socialist, press 5;
          For Progressive, press 6;
          For Pinko, press 7;
          For Democrat, press 8;
          For English, press 9;
          For American, hang up and dial something else.

    • Many of the students I work with are Latino English Language Learners.  As educators, we need to acquire more training and strategies to teach English Language Learners. They need support and resources to succeed.

      • I completely agree. ELL students need more resources and extra attention from teachers and parents in order to feel motivated in school, especially if they are struggling.

      • Nancy- I agree. It’s difficult if you can’t grasp the language fully to actually get something out of your education. Teachers definitely need to find ways to teach (i.e. teaching techniques that apply to various learning types) all learners, as well as assess them too. You need to make sure what’s being taught is actually going through to each students, and you can find that out through an assessment. It doesn’t have to be too extensive but simply looking for comprehension throughout lessons and an assessment which all learners can do is how you can make sure all types of learners in your class are being reached.

    • Does it matter? They are in this country and can only benefit it if they receive a proper education and are able to be productive members of society.

      It’s your kind of short-sighted racism that is resulting in dragging down our country as a whole.

      • Annoyed-you are so annoying! Too bad you started out with a good point but then dragged yourself down. If you truly knew David Wall, you would not have accused him of “short-sighted racism and dragging down our country”. Mr Wall is someone who shoots straight from the hip and tells it like it is. Take a look in the mirror and perhaps you will see that it is, in fact, yourself that is short-sighted.

      • annoyed-you are so annoying! Too bad you started out with a good point but then lowered yourself down. If you truly knew David Wall, you would not have accused him of “short-sighted racism and dragging down our country”. Mr Wall is someone who shoots straight from the hip and tells it like it is. Take a look in the mirror and perhaps you will see that it is, in fact, yourself that is shortsighted.

      • I’m annoyed at you and your ilk that your only “argument” is to accuse someone of racism.

        Anyone who is against giving away billions of dollars to people who entered here illegally and have ZERO loyalty to this country and what it stands for is a racist?  Gimme a break!

        The “Path to Citizenship” argument is so much drivel.  A very low percentage of folks here illegally have any desire to become US citizens.

        They are here because their countries offer no jobs.  Yet, given the chance, they’d go back to their home country in a heartbeat if they could get there the same low-paying jobs that they have here.

        Many, if not most, work off the books.  Thus, they pay no taxes, but they get a chance to be educated (but a huge percentage drop out) they get free breakfast and lunch at school, they get Medicaid (MediCal here)—all paid for by those who are here legally and work on the books.

        It’s not racism.  It’s economics.  California is not and should not be the economic saviour of failed countries like Mexico.

        When I grew up, neighborhood kids mowed lawns and got diswasher jobs, etc.  Now all the little princes and princesses get to rely on cheap labor, much from Mexico, to do what our kids once did.  But the societal cost of these illegals is unsustainable, just as the costs of city of San Jose pensions is unsutainable.

  3. Cutting spending for education and not the defense budget?  How could this make any sense.  Yet this is exactly what is happening. Unfortunately, the US sees itself as a world power today by a matter of how much military might it has.  Focusing outside the country gives a false impression that we are OK on the inside.  Educating our children, understanding the culture of the largest minority in the US and focusing on education of students from various backgrounds and ethnicities is essential to stregnthen America from the inside.  People need to speak up, senators need to listen and we need to get our education system back again. “This is about the quality of life not just for Latinos, but for all of us.”

    • Comparing defense spending against education spending strikes me as being a straw man argument on so many levels I don’t think I have enough room to get into it here. I will simply say this: Mr. di Salvo, time and again, you use this blog site as a forum to ‘advocate for education’ and yet come across as someone who is pushing a personal agenda and your own personal belief system with respect to education while at the same time employing all manner of logical fallacy as well as a tacit advocacy of multiculturalism and a pluralistic society. Frankly, considering your position as an ‘education executive’ as well as(I believe) an instructor at SCU in the field of education, I expect a very great deal more from you.

      To Sabina, I say this: I fail to see how “understanding the culture of the largest minority in the US…” is a solution to the problems facing education. The sooner Americans begin to expect integration into American culture from every immigrant community, the sooner American’s recognize and embrace that America has its own culture which is well worth embracing and advocating, that America and its culture is the only reason that the rest of the world hasn’t entirely fallen to one tyrannical movement or another, the better everyone will be and the stronger the education system will be.

      But you’re right in one respect: Americans need to take back our education system for Americans from all walks of life for the betterment of American society, regardless of ethnicity.

    • I agree with Sabina that the “US sees itself as a world power today by a matter of how much military might it has.  Focusing outside the country gives a false impression that we are OK on the inside.”  If the US is OK than how come so many companies in the Silicon Valley are hiring professionals from outside the US while stating that they cannot find the caliber of Engineers and educated specialist within the US and are forced to hire from outside the US.  To make or keep the US a strong nation we MUST make education a priority.

      • Connie, again this is a straw man. On the one hand, having a strong, capable military is absolutely essential to our national integrity. This is such an important issue that it is enshrined in the Constituion, “…provide for the common defense…” Nowhere in the constitution is public education mentioned.

        With respect to education, the American Public Education system is astonishingly inefficient. Don’t believe me? Take a look a the numerous layers of bureaucracy, of which Mr. DiSalvo is a conspicuous part. Then, take a look at the enormous amount of resources devoted to intransigent students, student criminals, and ESL.

        Then, too, examine the issue of educating the children of illegal immigrants. Common sense and a little objective thought would lead a sensible person to conclude the following:

        1. For reasons of geography ans sociology, Hispanics are the single largest ethnic group among illegal immigrants
        2. Due to to the aforementioned sociological issues, Hispanic immigrants, legal and illegal, will often be less educated than their American-born peers.
        3. Due to point #2, recent Hispanic immigrants to the US, whether legal or not, will tend to be employed in more blue collar, unskilled or semi-skilled employment.
        4. Due to point #3, those families who do immigrate from Mexico or other Latin American countries will find that, in order to manage the cost of living (especially here in California), both parents have to work and, frequently, both parents work two or more jobs each.
        5. Due to point #4, these parents are frequently away from home or exhausted enough that their children frequently receive less supervision and involvement than their non-hispanic peers. Also, because of their poorer education, many times, hispanic parents simply lack a sufficiency of education to be able to help their children as their studies become more difficult.
        6. Due to the above points, illegal immigrants frequently become self-marginalizing and somewhat insular. Living in fear of deportation, they often live in the shadows, have poorer job opportunities, work multiple low-income jobs, congregate amongst themselves, take far longer to integrate into American Society, if they ever do, take longer to learn english, etc.

        So, what’s the solution? Well, the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers has a comprehensive 10-step plan outlined for immigration reform that seems both sensible and fair: http://nafbpo.org/editorial-cier.html

        And, as for the education angle? I propose this: back to basics. Focus on and budget exclusively for reading, writing, math, science, history and social studies. When those pursuits are budgeted for fully, budget for arts and athletics. And, for those students who have recently immigrated or who have, themselves recently immigrated, total immersion in a year-long ESL program separate from their english-speaking peers so that meeting their needs doesn’t become a setback for their english-speaking peers. Then, when they are sufficiently proficient in English, integrate them with the other students.

    • “understanding the culture of the largest minority in the US…is essential to stregnthen America from the inside.”

      So, let me see if I got this right.  You want US to adapt to THEIR culture.  Sorry, Sabina, you got that backwards. This country did not become the greatest country in the history of the world by having those who were here in 1900 adapt to the numerous cultures of the hordes of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island to come to The Land of Opportunity.  No, Sabina, they gladly adapted to the existing culture here, and had the respect to learn the language of the country that provided them their collective golden opportunity.

  4. Joe,

    A LOT of teachers drink at 7 Bamboo,(They need too) I talk to them all the time.  You can’t take middleground on issues like policing your own schools anymore.  You don’t want kids breaking ankles like Casey Heynes did, but at the same time you don’t want them feel as if their bully will get away Scott free. 

    The kids that want to study need to feel safe, even if it’s in an Orwellian big brother kind of way.

    Install security cameras in every classroom and in all major quad areas.

    You’ll get a few poohoos from some teachers, but the majority I’ve talked to think it’s a good idea.  They’re tired of having to keep bad apples in their classrooms, and would love a sure fire way of keeping kids in line.

    It doesn’t have to be expensive.  Use some old PC’s, $20 webcams, and this free, open source software.
    http://www.zoneminder.com/

    I deployed 4 cheapo rat shack cameras for $30, and the system was just some old junk computer I found out on the sidewalk around the corner from my house.

  5. I volunteer in a remedial English as a Second Language classroom and witness every day the difficulties these children face.

    One boy I work with is struggling because he needs glasses.  Being 10 and a boy, he broke his last pair, but his mother cannot afford to get him a new set.  He struggles to read from the board, gets headaches from reading books, and did I mention he has dyslexia?  Try reading in a second language when the letters mix themselves up on the page.

    Another girl’s mother died three years ago and she has siblings that she is not sure where they live.

    Being a child in this day and age is hard enough without trying to learn in a second language.  people assume that these children can learn Spanish at home, but how likely is it their parents are teaching them about Pablo Neruda over the dinner table?

    Studies have proven a child needs a strong base in their first language to succeed in a second language, and these children are simply being provided with a shaky base in both.  That is no way to help them succeed in the future.

    • Melissa, you have just identified some of the central issues surround immigration and indirectly illustrated why the immigration issue is so central to the issues education faces.

    • Melissa,
      I am glad that you are able to recognize a few struggles latinos currently face. The scenarions that you mentioned are only a few of many they actually expereince. You mentioned that in order for a student to be successful in a second language a strong base is needed in their first language, but how is this possible if like you said they are not being taught the strong base. I am a latina whose parents only received elementary education. My father passed away when i was only three years old leaving my mother with three daughters. I strongly feel that I did not receive the strong base in my first language because in reality my mother did not have any time alloted. Luckly, I was able to pursue higher education with the support of my fifth grade teacher who guided me througout. I am glad that i did not faced many stuggles as other students do but i could say that it is extremely hard to succeed when x,y, and z problems are active.

  6. California has one of the largest Latino populations of any state . We have probably , I’ll guess the statistics of non- citizen illegals who came to the United States into California , about 10 million . With that percentage of those immigrants are in our public k-12 school system . The result is staggering .

    For having taught a class at a school that is (was) low performing up to last year . I have observed some factors among Latino’s .

    1st. Parents don’t attend meetings , or school functions . We have had parenting classes to teach the parents how to speak English. Any luck ? Ha !
    2nd. The Most Students have brothers / sisters in gangs. Some of the (as young as ) 4th Grade already know gang signs /logos .
    3rd. Most of the money goes to these kind of schools to educate them ,  (I ) hope they will learn to become American Citizens .

    Not to be picky , but our state needs to do something . I don’t believe that cutting social services in education will not bridge any achievement gap .
    Even for minorities .
    I think the system for Latino’s needs to be changed .

    Better yet for another ‘minority’ African – Americans .

    • Unknown Educator, your credibility is completely eroded by the mediocre quality of your comment. Your grammar and syntax is abysmal, and your ability to produce a linear well-reasoned comment is in serious question. If you and I were having a conversation in person, I might forgive such linguistic failings, but this was a typed comment. You had all the time in the world to edit your comment for quality and clarity. That this was the finished product you posted is, at the least, disappointing. Confirm that you are college-educated and responsible for the education of our youth?

      In all seriousness, whatever valid points you might have made are lost in the delivery and the loss of credibility that results from the mediocre quality of the comment in light of your (apparent) position.

  7. Hey Education Professionals.  You’re disappointing me on this “blog.”

    Rather than focusing mostly on large aggregate numbers, we should identify, publicize and demand replication of best practices and existing successes.

    Page 9 asserts 58.9 percent of Latinos in Silicon Valley are US-born. Multiplying 27.6% (naturalized Latinos) x 41.1% (foreign-born Latinos) adds 11.3 percent of Latinos in Silicon Valley who are US citizens, summing to more than 70 percent of the Latino population in SV who are US Citizens.  What we need are breakouts by age range to focus on our successes and not-yet-successes.  What percentage of Latino elementary, middle school, high school, young adults, etc are US citizens?  Let’s see cross-tabulated statistics for income range and educational attainment.  Let’s compare breakout numbers to other groupings so we can identify real trends.

    With a few calculations, we’ll have real public data to start demanding from the leaders of Spanish-language providing business, nonprofit and worship communities that they begin demanding cultural changes from the families they serve.  It’s a gigantic big “DUH” that any family with substance abuse problems at home presents difficulties for their kids’ learning environment.

    It’s also a gigantic “DUH” that we know what regional television stations and radio stations are patronized regularly by Spanish-speaking families whose children aren’t performing at a high-enough level to serve those children’s future.

    Canal 14 y Canal 48 should get some serious heat pushing them to address issues of Latino math and language literacy – every day/every night.  (Hey Carl and folks at SVMG’s Education Committee – how about leveraging your power to drag Univision and Telemundo into practical leadership?)

    Local Latino-serving small businesses can push reading at home as well as math proficiency via a simple campaign targeted at parents, such as “Have you asked the school if your child will graduate high school with the right courses to be eligible for college?”  (Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – anyone interested in donating the posters?)

    We’re not going to “fix” everyone in a few years.  But, we can demand (for example) that San Jose Diocese Catholic Bishop PJ McGrath demonstrate leadership in Santa Clara County and require pastors of parishes with Spanish-speaking communities to know the data and make Latino academic achievement a top priority.  No goofing around.  Real demands.  Right now.  Bishop McGrath, have you abdicated leadership regarding the academic performance of Spanish-speaking Catholic families in public schools?

    Is every Latino Catholic?  No.  But, a majority is Catholic.  And, no single person has more week-to-week influence on Santa Clara County’s Latino community than Bishop PJ McGrath, via his role to demand that his clergy rent some backbones and start leading achievement advocacy.  Any decent homilist easily can weave the message into lectionary readings if they have the desire – and the accountability – to do so.

    Step one: demand that every Catholic parish in Santa Clara County push a “learn English” campaign among their non-English speakers.  Host regular “learn English” classes at every parish that offers a non-English Mass. Just simply get it done.  Schedule the classes. Encourage participation. No excuses.

    Step two: demand that every Catholic parish in Santa Clara County push an ongoing “read at home to your kids every night” campaign.  Not just for Latinos, but get the “abuelas” and “abuelos” who attend Mass every week to saddle up on this issue and use the influence of family leadership to start the changes.  Someone has to shake things up.  Catholics like to crank up beautiful background music and talk “Respect Life” and “family values.”  Okay.  Then respect the little ones who were born and whose lives now depend on their current and future literacy.

    Step three: Require that every Catholic pastor and parochial vicar in this diocese know the performance figures of the public schools within their parish’s geographic service areas.  Test them with pop quizzes at Council of Priests and deanery sessions.  The moral responsibility of Catholic parish priests is to lead a parish structure that serves ALL their flock – not to focus disproportionately on families enrolled in parochial schools.  Bishop McGrath, you have to start making your clergy uncomfortable if they don’t know the data of the neighborhoods to which they are assigned.  And, if they whine about how overworked they are, tell ‘em “Too Bad. It’s a gift to have the influence you have and if you prefer to transfer to another diocese where you won’t have to work so hard, bring the paperwork in the morning.”

    And, wrapping up for now, every educational leader in Santa Clara County should know the schools with the top Latino student performance in Santa Clara County.  Take a traipse through the fields of data at “http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ar/”  Click on the second section – the one titled “AYP.” Download the database at “http://www3.cde.ca.gov/researchfiles/ayp/apr10adb.zip”

    The Latino student achievement data is in columns FB through FI – the ones titled EV_HI, ENP_HI, EPP_HI, EPPM_HI, MV_HI, MNP_HI, MPP_HI and MPPM_HI (columns FB through FI).  Step one: sort by C_NAME (column I), then by RTYPE (column B).  This will give you a sort by County and student grouping (High School, Middle, Elementary).  Then, you can sort by number of students or percentage of students proficient within any demographic groups you want.  Success stories pop up right away.  Let’s focus on successful approaches where local Latino students are, to be colloquial, already kicking some serious academic butt.

    OMG. We’re in Silicon Valley.  Envision.  Accomplish.  Just doggone get it done.

    - Chris Stampolis
    Trustee, West Valley-Mission Community College District
    Member, Democratic National Committee
    408-390-4748 *  stampolis@aol.com

    • Chris,

      The County Board of Education and the SCCOE hosted a very successful Charter School Summit last year.  Our chief goal was to share best practices.  Tomorrow there is a meeting at the SCCOE to look further at ways we can share best practices and not have an unhealthy competition between Charters and Traditional Public Schools. We must position ourselves to be leaders not protecting our turf.

        I too agree with your assessment on the role of the religious institutions in our community to support the goal of eliminating the achievement gap.  Si Se Puede.

  8. Gonzalez? Where the hell was he when he was Mayor. He’s still sucking up any energy that does not belong to him. It is discusting to have this dead beat, taking the helm, when he knows not the direction of our community.
      We all know what is wrong with our educational dicrepencies.
      Those that criticise, are the real problem, in our city. They run with Ronzo.

      Los Patricios

  9. I think that as a whole we are being a short-sighted nation.  This is perhaps most true for minority students, second language learners, and children with special needs.  THe sad fact is that our government is not thinking clearly about the future impacts of today’s decisions.  It seems politicians are more worried about getting re-elected than making good, common sense decisions.  Children don’t get a voice in this process, so it’s up to us to speak for them.  I would rather spend money for educational improvements, thus providing a better future not only for the chidren, but for our entire society as a whole.  I know it will be difficult to stomach the cuts that need to be made elsewhere, but its in our country’s best interests not to put our future wage earners on the back burner.  We need to be proactive instead of reactive.  Programs like No Child Left Behind are prime examples of the reactive stance our government takes and there are so many instances that prove this kind of reactionary tactics don’t work, or don’t work as well as being proactive.  Let’s think of ways to put all kids first!

  10. I found the statistics that were listed in your article to be very disturbing and sad. I can’t believe that considering the amount of Latinos that are living in California at the present time, that we do not have a better educational system put in place to help them.

  11. This is a very important issue and I’m glad that it is being addressed. I wonder if this issue is being brought up in any other State? Or if it even needs to. One can only hope that our school boards and lawmakers will keep education at the forefront of their minds.

  12. The problem with our educational system is we are top heavy. I mean most stagnating teachers are so over weight that there is little energy to inspire any students of any color.
    Then you have ner do well self appointed leaders trying to build their reincarnation on the backs of children already lost in the broken down system, filled with incompetent tired fat people.
      All the fence sitters are so dead. Reading all of this BS about legal, eligal, There is not one leader that has the balls to speak to the real cause in the state system.
    Jerry is too old to give ashit. John Vasconsellos is very much missed.
      I hate to break you the bad news, but we are on our asses. Yet, we send our young men off to die, and for what?  Now we are bombing Libya.  Kadaffi will only set all of the wells on fire as he did many years ago.
    Stop for a moment and add up all of the tragic events that have changed our lives. So why are we so dam focused on some illigal guy that came to work for penuts for some greedy farmer, contractor, janatorial company, etc,need I go on?
      I hear and read the criticisum and I see right through the guilt and racisum that hides behind it all.The system will not change until we do, so suck it up, and simply save one kid of any color.
     
    Los Patricios

    • The system is not ‘broken’ . It’s been overloaded for years . With one minority group now becoming the ‘majority’ of the population , there should been sudden shifts in education to address the gowning problem of bridging the gap of achievement racially .

      There has not been .

      • I agree with you. There has been a big influx of more minority groups in our state. The thing that confounds me is that for some reason the state did not plan for this. If the number of immigrants has been increasing, the state should have started planning for a plan where the schools would address this problem and be ready for it.

  13. It is unfortunate to see the statistics presented in this blog, but at the same time, it’s understandable when you consider the language barrier present in many of the lives that compose these statistics.  An English-speaking child starting Kindergarten will be at an obvious advantage compared to a child that doesn’t know any English.  This sets the stage for the long road ahead.  Something needs to be done to help improve these statistics, but while were at it – why don’t we consider the statistics regarding African Americans? There are many places in the educational system that need to be improved upon.

    • Sadly, the English speaking child will not be able to fully appreciate the ‘obvious advantage’ as the pace of education in the classroom is generally set by the least able students in the classroom. And, as far as the achievement gap goes with respect to African Americans, I believe a researcher identified numerous socio-economic reasons for its existence, and was roundly castigated for his efforts by the African American community. I’ll research this a bit more when i have the time.

    • I am glad that you brought up the factor of the language barrier. At times, ELLs have an understanding of the content but because they cannot read or understand the verbal information presented to them, they cannot demonstrate their knowledge (e.g., a student who understands certain math concepts may recognize the numbers being used but now how they are being used in context given the language barrier). Additionally, they are faced with the challenge of learning new academic content in a new language. Thus, instruction should include a good amount of scaffolding and modeling. Teachers must be aware of language demands and find ways to minimize them. They should make connections between the students’ native language and English, and draw upon their prior knowledge and experiences.

      • I agree I think that there needs to be an effort to try to make sure that we connect curriculum to their native language and draw upon their prior knowledge. I believe that it is important for teachers to try to do this on a daily basis, however, there are the issues of not knowing the language well enough and also the issue of balancing time doing instruction that will benefit those students as well as keeping the other students engaged.

  14. Unfortunately, this “Latino Report Card” does not surprise me.  I went to a primarily latino elementary, middle, and high school and found a lot of these facts to be very true. Even though I was in honors classes and got good grades, I was shocked by the difference of education when I reached college.  I went from being the top of the class to a “C” student.  The primarily “latino schools” that I went to did not have the same education standards and funding as other schools in nicer areas. I think that it’s about time these schools get the attention that they deserve.  All schools should be treated the same, where ever they may be.

  15. I agree that our educational system needs to implement changes to keep up with the students needs. One of them is making educational accessible to everyone, especially within the Latino community. Everyone should be concerned because they are going to be the future work force and if our future generation does not receive the proper education they need, it puts our economy endanger. I think that racism also plays a part in this. Affluent schools are not faced with this type of dilemma because they do not have a large population of Latino students within their student body. The majority of the students who attend these schools are white, middle class and have parents who will speak up if they do not agree with the school policies. It is time that we do something about this. The poor are getting stepped on all the time and if we don’t all stand up and help each other out, this cycle of racism will continue to keep people down.

  16. The low figures and statistics indicate the growing achievement gap between the non Latinos and the Latino children in Silicon Valley.  With the shift in the growth of Latino population, the education system should be able to address this achievement gap. It also means that teachers need to be better prepared and trained to teach English Language Learners. More importantly, it also means allocating more resources for these student populations.

  17. Why would the U.S. want to better educate Latinos when they are the largest minority group in the US military? It makes perfect sense to lure them into the “military life” and treat them like second-class citizens.

  18. It is true that these Latino students are part of our future. They will affect how our world will be. Many have lost sight of that. As many of stated, these statistics are sadly not surprising. They are a reflection of the poor state of our educational system as a whole. In order for things to improve, however, I believe that teachers need more time, resources, and less pressure placed upon testing. There is a lot that can be done in the classroom for Latinos, other ELLs, and many other students with different needs, but there are many obstacles in the way as well. This is why we need all the help we can get.

    • I agree with you Kim. The achievement gap is growing and we need to put more time and resources into closing it, our future depends on it. If we don’t fix the problem now it is only going to get worse.

  19. “So far, the GOP is calling for cuts in the things we need to invest more in—like education and infrastructure—while leaving largely untouched things we need to reduce, like entitlements and defense spending. A country that invests more in its elderly than its youth, more in nursing homes than schools, will neither invent the future nor own it.” I am unable to see the logic behind these cuts, I wish that politicians could clearly and factually back up their decisions. It seems to me that it is important to invest heavily in education as that is what builds our country’s future leaders.

  20. Free education. 
    Free services. 
    Corporations that have been beaten into submission with the diversity-uber-alles stick. 
    And on and on.
    Hell SF even provides free airfare back to El Salvador for MS-13 gangsters.

    And yet here we are.  Blaming racism for the plight of the latino.

    A culture that does not value education will be on the bottom rung for eternity and beyond.  It’s that simple.

    And all the money and all the politically correct, handwringing, Stepford teachers-to-be won’t make a bit of difference.

    Teach those who want to learn. 
    Let the rest mow yards and pour concrete.

  21. I read an article about how effective teachers and schools can help boost students’ academic results. Even low-performing students, regardless what race or ethnic group he/she belongs, can considerably gain good results if having a chance to learn with effective teachers in an effective school. Should we think harder about desegregating schools, considering this report card?

  22. It makes absolutely no sense to that every time our government needs to cut funds the first item on the cutting room floor seems to always be education.  If our country is to have a future we as a nation need to provide our children with the education they need to succeed.  Unfortunately our government officials do not seem to agree.

  23. I whole heartedly agree with Melissa F., Rosa, Jamie D., Mika and the others who find the statistics revealed in the Latino report card. We as a state need to find a way to support all students regardless of ethnicity. In order to do so we need to understand the diversity that currently exists in California. I agree that in order to support English Language Learners teachers need to be trained to best support their needs as well as the needs of native English speakers. This can be accomplished but it does require a lot of effort on the part of the teacher. It requires the teacher to use differentiated instruction and to incorporate a good deal of cooperative learning into their daily routine. The results will be well worth it. Differentiated learning will give each student a chance to be challenged by the work in any subject area. ELL’s do not drag a class down and they greatly benefit from the exposure to native speakers. We should strive to celebrate the linguistic differences that exists in our schools.

  24. Not sure what happened to our state. Are businesses so hungry for cheap labor that they’ve convinced the gov. to turn a blind eye to illegal immigrants? Of course! Are people too lazy to clean their own houses, wash their cars, mow their own lawns….YES! The easy way to get things done…..hire an illegal!What comes with one…..well their entire family of course! This is not right and it’s getting out of control. Our school system is garbage.

    Cheap labor will bankrupt us in the end. It may be cheap to hire an illegal but nobody thinks about how the taxpayer is stuck supporting them and their families with free or low cost housing, welfare, food stamps, education, health care, etc.

    Why do we need to teach English to illegal immigrants? I don’t understand!!! They are not entitled to anything that citizens are, but yet we just sweep them into the system and smile like everything is okay and peachy. It’s not up to the taxpayers to pay for anything of anyone (or their children) who are here illegally.Will anybody get the balls to say, you’re not here legally and send them back?

    My parents immigrated here from Europe (legally after filling out paperwork and being approved). Their first priority: night classes to learn English and get an American H.S. diploma. Sweet Jesus! They taught me English and our native language at the same time. They helped teach me what I needed to know in preparation for school. This is so frustrating to see how we cater to just one group. There are so many other cultures that speak other languages….somehow they do well in school.

    I really do feel sorry for these poor children as they are innocent victims dragged here (or born as anchor babies)illegally. What a mess. I’ve never seen the school system in such a bad way like it is now.

    I went to a high school that was mainly Hispanic and it was hell on earth. Gang members and kids who just didn’t care. Being white, I was the minority. I was bullied and verbally abused daily. I wonder how many people in this so called “program to help the kids” would dare put their kids in one of these schools? It’s so laughable….I think whoever is doing this is looking for votes and/or a good resume reference for their own personal gain.Wake up people….being PC is not going to save California! Press 1 for English! Save California’s school system!

  25. I agree with the that statement that, “There is a saying that college readiness begins in kindergarten. For me it begins upon conception.”  Although students can greatly benefit from their teachers pushing them to continue on with a college education, it takes more.  Students need to believe that they can attend and succeed in college.  They need to believe it is possible and believe in themselves.  Teachers can make a huge difference by pushing, challenging, and supporting these students to attend and graduate from college, but students need to also do it themselves.  Therefore, students need to see themselves going to college even before they enter kindergarten.  They need to be expected to graduate from college before they have the chance to choose whether or not they go.  These expectations need to come from family members, friends, the community, etc.  Unfortunately, many students do not have this kid of support and encouragement outside of school.

  26. I don’t mean to racist, but the question; “how many are illegal?” matters. You see most of the students that are here illegally, don’t care much about their education. For you see even if they graduate, they still can’t get a job legally or they can’t attend college like a normal citizen or resident can. They can’t drive, nor get a legal ID. Why are Latinos, both legal and illegal being grouped into the same subgroup? It makes no sense.

  27. Coming from an educated bilingual background and participating in an excellent bilingual school, I am able to see the advances when Latino students are educated in their native language.  When the time comes, their transition allows for a clear knowledge of what they must accomplish in an educational setting in both English and Spanish.  It is not the one and only solution but their is clear data that bilingual schools only help those students they serve.  An increase in support for these schools and the districts that take the chance to install them should be a priority now that it is obvious Latinos will be such an integral component of Santa Clara County life.