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The San Jose Metropolitan Area is proud of its diversity; its community safety and security. San Jose State University is an integral part of this liberal, accepting and inclusive community which supports the creative innovations of Silicon Valley’s industrial complex. SJSU has trained more than 50,000 engineers employed therein. Since a college education is essential, it is fitting during 2014 to give more attention to the ‘Town & Gown’ issues impacting this community, its families and their kids.

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Why are there not enough class offerings scheduled to permit all students to fulfill their degree curriculum requirements during a four year period? Many students cannot afford to stay enrolled for five or six years. They need assurance that all degree requirements are available during their four academic years. The current situation adds to the college student drop out rate, especially of students from families having modest means.

Why are ‘required classes’ not available? Is the faculty really committed to teaching or is an effort being made to have SJSU become another academic research factory? Since SJSU was orginally founded as an educational institution which trained teachers and professionals needed by the community, maybe its faculty needs to review its priorities and mission statement.

What is the cause of all those tuition increases? Would the UC/CSU/CC system permit an investigatory commission of ‘non-academic’ organizational experts look at their current organizational structure and cost of operations to dtermine what contributes to the escalation of costs, especially tuition and fees?

Just what is being supported by public revenues (taxes) provided to SJSU as part of the UC/CSU/Community college state supported higher education system?

Too many gifted students from families of modest means cannot attain their career goals unless the cost of a public university education is kept at levels which are reasonable, accessible and attainable. Should our Latino community establish a rotating college scholarship fund which is administered transparently, and which provides for full fundng of tuitioin, books, fees, and board & room to deserving qualified student candidates? In its own self interests, the Latino community could do just that.

El Observador recommends that the local Latino community review the entire local education system. It is not enough to deal with local charter school, pre-K to 12 education, and the lack of performance by its own Latino(a) students. The lack of Latino professionals in many institutions which are being governed and administered by civic servants, who do not know much about the Latino culture and values. And the current educational systems seems to respond with great sensitivity to local industry needs rather than essential projected needs of general society.

The low income Latino community must understand that its sales and income taxes support education at all levels. Sales and income taxes are paid without consulting a tax expert to learn about tax avoidance strategies. As 28% of this Silicon Valley community, we need to know what is being supported by the taxes we stoically provide every time we purchase groceries, gas or anything for that matter.

During 2014 let’s learn enough to understand how to influence school officials so that our community benefits as much as does the other sectors of Silicon Valley.

Last September 2013 the State Department of Education implemented LCFF (local control financing formula). This department kept 10 categorical programs while handing off 48 categorical programs to the local school boads. Board chairs such as ARUSD’s Delores Marquez, and four board colleagues are now making funding decisions formerly made in Sacramento. Those parents whose child benefitted from those 48 categorical programs now need to become watchful informed stakeholders.

Let’s complete the cycle by asking how our local member of the California State University system is funded. Let’s understand why it was necessary to change the former practices of permitting local San Jose East Side Latino students to be accepted at SJSU. If we pay taxes which support SJSU, then let us understand what, if anything, we are getting as a ‘quid pro quo’. Let us require that SJSU provide all ‘core curriculum requirements’ for a four year degree within four academic years. Is that too much to ask? If so, then let’s find affordable alternatives.

The local Latino community has enough interested, informed and educated professionals to be directly engaged in the proposed ‘investigatory commission’. That is what we, as a community, need to address during 2014.

The outcome will provide a sense of inclusion and becoming a significant stakeholder. Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2014.

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© 2011 news el observador ·A weekly newspaper serving Latinos in the San Francisco Bay Area
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