education, Inteverview, Politics

I Know of Migrant Kids


LARRY ACEVES, CANDIDATE FOR CALIFORNIA SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION

Stockton, CA / Bilingual Weekly

He started as a kindergarten teacher back in 1974. Now Larry Aceves is vying to be California’s top education boss.

Ending first in a field of twelve candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in the statewide primary election, Aceves is trying to convince voters he’s better than assembly member Tom Torlakson, who is termed out this year.

It has been said that this year’s elections are being won by money, yet the wealthy Californians’ EdVoice Committee invested $1.5 million on (also termed out) State Senator Gloria Romero and she got only a third-place. The California Teachers Association, spending the same amount, pushed Tom Torlakson to second place. In contrast, Aceves used $830,000, given to his campaign by the Association of California School Administrators, to edge Torlakson for less than a point on the June Primaries.

To garnish as many votes as possible, Aceves and Torlakson are traversing the state visiting school districts and communities to get their names known.

On Thursday, September 16th, Aceves visited the San Joaquin County Office of Education to participate in a forum coordinated by the Teachers College of San Joaquin. The same group will sponsor the visit of Torlakson in October.

Bilingual Weekly interviewed Aceves and asked what does he knows about us in the Central Valley.

BW: You were educated in the San Diego area, worked there and in the Coast, what do you know about Central Valley kids and their needs?

LA: San Joaquin and Valley schools have significant number of migrant, English-as-a-Second-Language (ELA) students. I was born to an immigrant family in Calexico. I was a kindergarten teacher and a principal at the Mexican border. I know how the lack of language affects these kids. I got an MA in Early Childhood Education. I know how it is.

BW: California students’ academic performance is in a sorry state. San Joaquin has some of the lowest achievement rates in the state and many blame ELA students for it. Any solutions?

LA: In Watsonville I worked in a district that included three labor camps. The key was parents’ involvement. Once parents understand their role they assume it. When talking to a mother, she said her husband wasn’t interested on participating but she asked him “if we don’t push for our kid to go to college, who will?”

BW: Most Central Valley school districts have large percentages of minorities, yet teachers are predominantly Caucasian. Do you subscribe to the idea that children do not perform well when the teachers don’t look like them?

LA: I know the statistics. I worked 32 years on those districts. I already got into trouble for saying something about the “white-to-minority” ratio (Alum Rock Union School District, 1994) What I meant then was that (some) White teachers are not culturally sensitive to immigrant children. The immediate solution is to train teachers in culture diversity and language, to break the cycle

BW: You are here now, courting our votes. All candidates in education elected posts claim they do care about our children and most just care about their next, higher position. Will we see you often if you get elected?

LA: First, I am not a politician. I came out of retirement after four years out of concern. Education takes money. I will inquiry why some California school districts, side by side, get half of what the other gets per student. That’s a start. And yes. I will visit Mike (SJC Office of Education Superintendent Mike Founts) often. 

He started as a kindergarten teacher back in 1974. Now Larry Aceves is vying to be California’s top education boss.

Ending first in a field of twelve candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in the statewide primary election, Aceves is trying to convince voters he’s better than assembly member Tom Torlakson, who is termed out this year.

It has been said that this year’s elections are being won by money, yet the wealthy Californians’ EdVoice Committee invested $1.5 million on (also termed out) State Senator Gloria Romero and she got only a third-place. The California Teachers Association, spending the same amount, pushed Tom Torlakson to second place. In contrast, Aceves used $830,000, given to his campaign by the Association of California School Administrators, to edge Torlakson for less than a point on the June Primaries.

To garnish as many votes as possible, Aceves and Torlakson are traversing the state visiting school districts and communities to get their names known.

On Thursday, September 16th, Aceves visited the San Joaquin County Office of Education to participate in a forum coordinated by the Teachers College of San Joaquin. The same group will sponsor the visit of Torlakson in October.

Bilingual Weekly interviewed Aceves and asked what does he knows about us in the Central Valley.

BW: You were educated in the San Diego area, worked there and in the Coast, what do you know about Central Valley kids and their needs?

LA: San Joaquin and Valley schools have significant number of migrant, English-as-a-Second-Language (ELA) students. I was born to an immigrant family in Calexico. I was a kindergarten teacher and a principal at the Mexican border. I know how the lack of language affects these kids. I got an MA in Early Childhood Education. I know how it is.

BW: California students’ academic performance is in a sorry state. San Joaquin has some of the lowest achievement rates in the state and many blame ELA students for it. Any solutions?

LA: In Watsonville I worked in a district that included three labor camps. The key was parents’ involvement. Once parents understand their role they assume it. When talking to a mother, she said her husband wasn’t interested on participating but she asked him “if we don’t push for our kid to go to college, who will?”

BW: Most Central Valley school districts have large percentages of minorities, yet teachers are predominantly Caucasian. Do you subscribe to the idea that children do not perform well when the teachers don’t look like them?

LA: I know the statistics. I worked 32 years on those districts. I already got into trouble for saying something about the “white-to-minority” ratio (Alum Rock Union School District, 1994) What I meant then was that (some) White teachers are not culturally sensitive to immigrant children. The immediate solution is to train teachers in culture diversity and language, to break the cycle

BW: You are here now, courting our votes. All candidates in education elected posts claim they do care about our children and most just care about their next, higher position. Will we see you often if you get elected?

LA: First, I am not a politician. I came out of retirement after four years out of concern. Education takes money. I will inquiry why some California school districts, side by side, get half of what the other gets per student. That’s a start. And yes. I will visit Mike (SJC Office of Education Superintendent Mike Founts) often.

About bilingualweekly

Bilingual Weekly News brings you community news in both English and Spanish, covering information such as Stockton News, San Joaquin News, Latino News, Hispanic News, Mexican-American News, Bilingual News, Government News, Political News, Arts News, Tracy News, Manteca News, Lodi News, Modesto News, Stanislaus News, Education News, Stockton Unified School District, San Joaquin County Office of Education, Health News, Environmental news, and much more!

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