Xavier De La Torre

How Can Educators Solve the Racial Achievement Gap by 2020?

San Jose Inside columnist Joseph Di Salvo writes that local educators still don’t have the data necessary to do a meaningful analysis of the racial achievement gap in schools. (Photo courtesy of schoolbook.org)

There are several critical “gaps” in the education of our children. One is the gap of how our high school students compare to high school students in cities like Helsinki and Shanghai on PISA (Program for International Student Assessment). Let’s call this gap the “Global Achievement Gap.” It is related to how students perform on comparable international assessments to real world problems in reading, math and science.

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Discover Charter Goes Back before County Board of Education

The debate on the efficacy of charter school instruction compared to the other methodologies continues at the county level. (Photo by cybrarian77, via Flickr)

Tonight a third petition to build a second Discovery Charter School in San Jose goes back before county education officials. Other items on the county Board of Education agenda include a report on the $2 million cuts from the federal sequestration, a study on foster youth in schools and an update on Superintendent Xavier De La Torre paying back his home loan from the county.

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County Superintendent Xavier De La Torre Agrees to Help Pay Home Loan

County Superintendent Xavier De La Torre announced Thursday he will pay $2,500 a month to the county to help cover interest and principal for a home relocation loan he received last year.

Xavier De La Torre, superintendent for the Santa Clara County Office of Education, has agreed to give back nearly $100,000 of his salary over the rest of his contract to help pay down the interest and principal of a housing relocation loan he received last year. The manner in which he announced the giveback, however, was a little curious.

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Legal Counsel Gave Bad Advice on Darcie Green Appointment

My professional life has been filled with many ups and many downs. One big down moment came in a Jan. 9 email from District Attorney Jeff Rosen to Superintendent De La Torre, with a “cc” to the SCCOE Board of Education. In this email, Rosen said he had received a complaint that Darcie Green’s recent Board appointment was unlawful.

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Turning the Corner on Condo Debacle

I am very embarrassed. Through an unfortunate set of circumstances, I have contributed to diluting the critical conversation about the quality of public education in Santa Clara County. The debate on how to ensure a high quality public education experience for every child in the county is too important to have it held hostage to a serious error of judgment. The focus of far too many articles in the San Jose Mercury News has been about a condo and contract debacle that I have tried to own for personal naivety. And not asking the right questions of legal counsel when the new superintendent’s contract was negotiated in March 2012.

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A Candidate Without a Campaign

After filing papers to run for a second four-year term for my County Board of Education Trustee seat, I learned on the Aug. 10 deadline that no one filed papers to run against me. Therefore, I am automatically re-elected. This is a great and unexpected result, but one that is not so good for providing me a campaign forum to raise some of the most critical issues of our time.

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Oversight Doesn’t Always Equal Results

Flummoxed? Outraged? Ineffective? Embarrassed? These feelings are not necessarily compatible all at once. However, when I got a call two weeks ago from Mercury News Education reporter, Sharon Noguchi, I experienced all four emotions at the same time. I was totally mystified that as president of the county Office of Education Board of Trustees I didn’t know the answers to a series of questions she asked to begin the interview.

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Mercury News Sensationalizes Supe Pay

It is common practice for superintendents in counties with district budgets over $100 million dollars to receive well over $200,000 in salary. The position of superintendent is incredibly complex, especially under the current economic conditions. So, if I am at all responsible for the Santa Clara County school board’s negative grade in “Who’s Up & Down” in Sunday’s Internal Affairs column in the Mercury News, I am deeply sorry. But, my quote in reporter Sharon Noguchi’s article last Thursday, which detailed the salary for new county Superintendent Xavier De La Torre, was taken completely out of the context intended.

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De La Torre Named New Superintendent

Dr. Xavier De La Torre will be officially appointed Mar. 7 as the Superintendent of Schools in Santa Clara County, replacing retiring Superintendent Dr. Charles Weis. The announcement was made simultaneously to the leadership teams at the Santa Clara County Office of Education and the Socorro Independent School District in El Paso, Texas, where Dr. De La Torre is superintendent. As was made clear to him during several interviews by the SCCOE Board of Trustees, Dr. De La Torre understands the “fierce urgency of now” relative to increasing achievement for all students.

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