Morgan Hill Parents Angry as Latino Students Lag Behind
A new group of concerned parents in Morgan Hill is imploring elected school board members to better educate the city’s Latino students.
Half of the students in the Morgan Hill School District are Latino, and they lag hundreds of points behind their Caucasian and Asian counterparts in state measures of academic performance. Only three of the district’s 13 schools meet the statewide goal for achievement. That goal is an academic performance index score of 800 or higher.
At Saint Catherine’s Church in Morgan Hill, 250 angry parents gathered Monday to call attention to the problem.
Parent Roberto Aguirrez fears many Latino kids, including his own, won’t make it to college through the Morgan Hill public school system. He says he spends hours each night doing homework with his kids, and has been trying to get the schools to improve since his daughter started kindergarten six years ago. He does not think the district can raise scores and improve teaching in time to help his children and their peers.
“It’s about the next generation of kids that we need to support," Aguirres says. "They need to achieve. We need to educate these kids. If we don’t, what are we going to have? More kids in gangs. More kids dropping out of high school. I’m going to fight."
Organizers invited all of the district’s elected school board members to the meeting. Only one, Rick Badillo, attended.
Julia Hover-Smoot, who served on Morgan Hill’s school board for six years, now represents the district at the Santa Clara County Office of Education.
"When you continue to offer education to children that is not of equality to what’s being offered to another child in another district, that’s a disparate and unequal offering of a public benefit," she says. "That’s a civil rights issue.”
Many parents say they want a charter school.
The Morgan Hill district acknowledges that many of its schools aren't meeting California's statewide goals, but says many of Morgan Hills' students are making measurable improvements. The district's graduation rate of 79 percent beats the state's rate.
The grass-roots group People Acting in Community Together helped organize Monday’s meeting.