On Monday, I joined my offsite advisor at a meeting with her local organization called the South Bay Progressive Alliance (SBPA). I was able to meet four very passionate individuals. One member was a parent of a student at an elementary school in OGSD (I forget which school specifically, but one no longer on the chopping block), a parent of a student at Del Roble (a school sort of off the list of being closed, but under review), a teacher from an elementary school in OGSD, but not on the list of schools under review, and a spouse of a former teacher in the San Jose Unified School District. This meeting was one of the most insightful meetings I have attended throughout this project. I was able to learn a lot about how the individuals were feeling about the entire situation and how they planned to the issue. The next meeting at the time was on Thursday at the OGSD Office (I will talk about the meeting itself afterwards). At this meeting, anyone who wishes to speak may sign up for a capped one minute speaking time. The points we hit at the SBPA meeting were racism and a lack of communication between the schools and the students.
The two schools mostly at risk are Glider and Miner and also happen to have the highest percentage of minority students.
These are statistics provided by the district and show that Miner is mostly made up of Hispanic students and Glider with Asian American and Hispanic students combined. During district forums and district meetings, attenders have noticed the lack of speakers for these schools. One possible answer for this, as suggested by a story told by the teacher, is that they are afraid to due to their safety in residency. The teacher of one of the schools talked about how one of her third grade students had visited her birthplace in Mexico with her mother. Because her mother brought her over illegally, her mother was unable to re-enter the US so she had to fly back to the states alone. Her mother may only return after ten years. Of course, this is only one case. However, given the amount of minority students in these two schools, one can only imagine how scared students and parents are of prosecution.
The second issue touched upon was the lack of communication. As pointed out by parents of other schools in the district, there was a mention that district leaders made multiple visits to most of the schools to check up on students were doing. However, only one visit was reported at Glider. Parents were also mailed letters with very vague and blanketed statements. For example, Del Roble parents, although off the list of schools to be closed, were mailed statements that implied their school was under review and with a possibility of closure. Glider and Miner parents were often not told when board meetings or forums were to be held leaving them unaware of the situation that would affect them the most.
On the day of the meeting, a member from the SBPA meeting mentioned these issues. However, the board members and other attendees were more fixated on issues that seemed to be past the fact that schools may not be closed. There’s a lot of issues of overcrowding into schools that survive and a danger for students who have to travel a farther distance to their new schools. More information shall be uncovered!