Your voice is finally being heard and we are making progress in our fight to re-open public schools safely and rapidly.
On Friday, San Jose Unified, the largest of San Jose’s 18 school districts, announced it will re-open its doors on April 21. Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced incentives to get grades K through 2 open statewide by April 1, but ultimately the plan still requires the willingness of local school districts to agree. And while public health experts roundly say that elementary schools can safely re-open even faster, I applaud the District’s decision to set a date to welcome our kids back to the classroom, and the Governor’s efforts.
These decisions require political courage to overcome the powerful political forces that resist re-opening our schools, and this issue requires direct public engagement to support that courage.
We can’t stop now. School board members and superintendents need to hear from the community that keeping public schools closed amounts to a civil rights violation of thousands of San Jose students whose more affluent peers can learn in-person at private schools or wealthier suburban districts. This social injustice has scarred our children mentally and emotionally, undermined their physical wellness, and set them backward academically.
While the announcement from San Jose Unified is real progress, there are still 18 school districts in San Jose that have not yet announced their re-opening plans. That means there are still tens of thousands of kids suffering
under the “separate but unequal” remote learning system.
What is frustrating to many of us is to see bars, card clubs, and marijuana dispensaries re-opening many months ago, but not our children’s schools. This issue should be beyond politics. The health experts say we can re-open public schools safely – and we can re-open them now.
We know you share my gratitude to the leaders at San Jose Unified who are making it possible for kids to be back in the classroom getting the education they deserve. Let’s make sure every kid in San Jose has the same opportunity.