By Hipolito Navarrete, Managing Editor/Publisher
Why are we in such dire situations in our inner cities? There are many examples of talent and intellect that have originated in those cities that most would consider wastelands. As residents of these forgotten neighborhoods, we many times keep looking at those uber-accomplished individuals to come back or come into our environments and save us from ourselves.
Our local elections affect us deeply, we all know that, but are too irresponsible to participate. Some don’t because of loyalties to folks they know are not qualified to run for office and/or lack of time to spend learning about the issues and how the candidates represent them.
If you have children or care about the education of children because you care about the future of our country and our world, you need to start at your local school board elections. Here is where it all begins, here is the most important space for you to make sure those children in your neighborhood are taken care of. The mandate of the school board of you local school district is to help develop the skills of those students that fall within their borders. Even if your children are able to attend a private school, here is the space dedicated to making sure all children including the most vulnerable are given an opportunity to more than just survive. Diana Rodriguez is a School Board Member for the Sacramento City Unified School District, as an elected official she represents one of the poorest areas in the city of Sacramento. “I live in and serve as an elected School Board Member for the same schools I attended as a child. I am proud to be a example to students, who like myself, grew up in poverty and can achieve the important milestone of being a voice at the decision making table. The impacts I’ve made during my eight years of service have helped bring attention to the needs of children and get the services and supports to go to college and start a career,” Ms. Rodriguez wrote.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372, in 2013–14, there were nearly 13,500 public school districts with close to 98,300 public schools, including about 6,500 charter schools. In fall 2013, there were about 33,600 private schools offering kindergarten or higher grades. How does this specifically affect us all, the United States of America has a population of over 324, 000,000 and public school educate over 50.4 million. Again, according to the NCES, http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372, In fall 2016, about 50.4 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools. Of these, 35.4 million will be in prekindergarten through grade 8 and 15.0 million will be in grades 9 through 12. An additional 5.2 million students are expected to attend private elementary and secondary schools. The fall 2016 public school enrollment is expected to be slightly higher than the 50.3 million enrolled in fall 2015.
As an example in the City of Santa Ana, California, that has a population of over 342,000, the Santa Ana Unified School District educates over 57,000 students in their 60 educational facilities, http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/districtsearch/district_detail.asp?ID2=0635310.
Local elections are critical and they must all be supported and citizens must engage, the opportunity for a voice is there, we must just make the effort to follow the example of those that engage, even when they are tired and disenchanted, its not a choice. Engage and start with your local School Board Elections, may be prepare yourself to run for a position and start making a difference.
Have you considered what does it mean to be a School Board Member and maybe making a difference in you local youth?