Race-Based Question Not Answer to GUSD Success

Dear Editor,
I would like to thank the Gilroy Unified School District Board
and the community for the opportunity to present my views during
the selection process Monday night. I congratulate Mr. Javier
Aguirre for his selection. He has a year to prove that he was the
right choice.
Dear Editor,

I would like to thank the Gilroy Unified School District Board and the community for the opportunity to present my views during the selection process Monday night. I congratulate Mr. Javier Aguirre for his selection. He has a year to prove that he was the right choice.

The process worked well, with many difficult but pertinent questions, until the second round began. I was then asked a question about my qualifications based on the origin of my last name.

I am disappointed by this question on several levels. First, the board vice-president and the superintendent were supposed to be screening the questions, and discarding those that were offensive or of no value. There were plenty of questions; of what value was this one? Second, none of the board members (except the two that supported me) or community members expressed regret to me after the meeting for this question. And third, there is apparently a portion of the population of our diverse Gilroy community that does not understand that racism involves not only how you are treated, but your attitudes toward others.

There were many pointed questions about my commitment to the English language learners. I have always advocated for improving the academic performance of all students, and the changes that have been instituted will benefit all groups. What I have not done and will never do is to suggest that we take resources from one group to improve performance of a different group. Such a policy would further divide our community, and drive more GUSD students to other districts or private schools. We will never be a high-performing district if we continue to allow our community to be divided by these issues.

How to help these ELLs is a difficult question, and I must admit I do not have the answer. Perhaps we need to compare what we are doing in our district to what is being done for these students in other districts where the results are more positive. I am sure that having another board member with an Hispanic last name is in itself not the answer.

For the last several years, the majority of the top people in the GUSD administration have been people with Hispanic last names. Perhaps it is time for the Hispanic community to hold its leaders responsible for this continuing problem.

Bob Heisey, Gilroy

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