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'Schools Selected for Closure Unfairly'

'On Wednesday (Jan. 28) the Santa Cruz school board will meet from 6:00 - 8:00 PM in the Harbor High Multipurpose Room (300 La Fonda Ave.) to discuss closing two schools. The district office is pushing for an option that will target Branciforte elementary and Natural Bridges elementary.\n\nBranciforte houses the poorest and most disenfranchised population. 74.8% of its students qualify for free or reduced breakfast and lunch at school. Its population will be dispersed to Gault
Bayview and Delaveaga Schools. The latter
 
 


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Re: Schools Selected for Closure Unfairly

"There have been more than a few blatant requests to move my child to a school where English is spoken on the playground. Parents have been known to monitor the language spoken in the classrooms at Branciforte and to appear at site council meetings to complain if that involves too much Spanish for their liking."

Well there was an initiative passed that mandated students didn't have to be part of a bilingual program if their parents didn't want them to be. It limited the amount of instruction in Spanish (actually I doubt Spanish is mentioned specifically in the initiative - but as a practical matter it applied only to Spanish since Asian immigrant children are usually eager to learn English). So I think the parents were probably well within their rights and the bounds of reasonableness.
 

Re: Schools Selected for Closure Unfairly

The requests to end all spanish speaking n the classrooms have predated Proposition 227.

But the point is that while these parents may be within the letter of the law, they are still demonstrating an intolerance for different languages being spoken. Is this racist? I think so.

There was a parent at a site council meeting who admitted walking up and down the halls listening for spanish to be spoken and kept an account of which teachers were speaking other than english.

This parent does not speak spanish and had no idea what the teachers were saying. They had no idea if the teacher was instructing or speaking informally during a 'social' period.

I wish that I had been exposed to a languae other than english while I was growing up.
I think it's a advantage for a child, not a disadvantage.
 

Right On!

I am so glad to see people organizing around this issue. District-wide enrollment is down and some schools may have to close, but let us make sure that the selection process is fair.

I am a recent arrival in Santa Cruz (3 years this summer). I would like to hear from people who were here in the 1970's, when the Laurel School (now the Louden Nelson Center) was closed. Apparently an earthquake safety mandate, the Field Act, took effect during that decade. Were racist/classist forces at work when it was decided not to retrofit that particular school?

Another question: is it feasible to operate some smaller schools, in which the support staff might be part-time. For example, could a principal divide her day between two schools)? I favor operating more schools, but smaller ones, if it is feasible.

I come from a family of educators (my parents, my husband, my parents-in-law, and even my sister!). Thank you to those of you who are working to give young people the best possible opportunities.
 

Re: Schools Selected for Closure Unfairly

I grew up in this area and my own Natural Bridges Elementary School is being closed. I'm not very pleased it is going to be rented out to Pacific Charter School, but these are the forces operating in the county.

People such as myself who grew up and were educated in Santa Cruz county now with children can't afford to raise them in this area.

Why is it racist/classist to expect teachers to work in English? As my many Latino friends will tell you from growing up here, they are grateful that our education was conducted with an emphasis on English. It was'nt until Junior High and High School that we saw the segregation, largely self imposed by the children of foreigners.

The bilingual education system is a complete failure and it is not helping the children who plan to make their futures in this country. If thousands of Anglos immigrated en masses large cities Mexico, how much sympathy do you think there would be for them not helping their children learn Spanish?

But common sense is not required to be an out of town 'progressive' and live in Santa Cruz. Hopefully you'll be able to afford to live here.
 

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