What follows next is a contrary opinion, presented without comment. Over the weekend, Washington Elementary teacher Silvia Cantu wrote a lengthy response to what Tubbs is proposing and sent it to the seven school-board members. In her letter, Cantu provides excerpts from the original story, then gives her opinions. Below, the article excerpts are in blue, Cantu’s points of view are in red.
1. Councilman Michael Tubbs hopes the program would reduce dropouts and help at-risk students be better prepared for college or the work force. We as a district seek every child to accomplish goal #3, yet Councilman Michael Tubbs only wants selected male students.
SUSD’s Goals For Student Learning and Achievement
1. Every child by the end of 3rd grade will read and comprehend at the proficient level.
2. Every child by the end of 8th grade will demonstrate mastery of Algebra concepts and application.
3. Every Child by the end of 12th grade will graduate and be college or career ready.
Does Tyler, El Dorado, Taylor, and Peyton have a high dropout rate as well as attendance issues? Taylor School’s API increased by 38 points.
2. Who are these 100 men that will meet with these male students four hours a month? What happens if these men decide not to mentor after two months, as it is voluntary. Do these 100 men have careers/jobs as they are to discuss goal setting and decision-making? When do they plan to meet with the students, some of these students may be in tutorial programs after school.
3. Councilman Michael Tubbs said, ” The program would not cost Stockton Unified any money and would dovetail with the city’s anticrime Marshall Plan.”
The Marshall Plan was not approved and it may not cost SUSD any money for his program, yet it may in liability.
Why would you as board members accept this mentorship when it discriminates against females and certain races? A young lady spoke at (last week’s) board meeting about how mentors helped her, too bad she herself would not qualify for this program if she were in fourth – eighth grade. What nationalities are these male students? I hope Councilman Michael Tubbs is not insinuating that only African-American or Hispanics need mentors, what about the other races? Gang members come in all sizes, shapes, and RACES. Councilman Michael Tubbs’ program is almost like Big Brothers.
I do not understand why Mr. Willie Douglas, the Vice Chair from Hispanics for Political Action, Angel Ann Flores, and Mr. Sammy Nunez at Fathers & Families of San Joaquin would want Councilman Michael Tubbs to mentor only selected, male students. What about the others? They personally may only believe in mentoring males students, but as a teacher in SUSD, all students should receive mentoring. If the district were tracking students, would the above names be outraged, yet when schools track students for the mentorship program, it is fine by these above people. Ms. Flores spoke on how she felt that SUSD students currently doesn’t have the correct role-models and that with this program they would. First off, she is mistaken, every employee is a role model in one sense, as well as you, the board members. We may not be good enough for Ms. Flores, yet she wants to be a board member for SUSD, even though she does not believe in our goals and role models. This is not a political issue, yet this group of people made it one. Where were these people when Councilman Michael Tubbs, working for the Community Involvement Program at the University of the Pacific, decided not to renew the Souza Swimming Pool? King students as well as other students from SUSD utilized the pool, but Councilman Michael Tubbs decided these students were better off in the streets than the swimming pool.
I have been at the board meetings when it was reported our dropout rates decreased, attendance increased, and academically students are making progress, why would we then approve Councilman Michael Tubbs mentorship program to help us with these issues?
Isn’t it ironic that Councilman Michael Tubbs’ mentor program is named Sara Cazares Mentorship Incentive, as only males will be mentored? I wonder how many EL students will be mentored as Sara (may she rest in peace) fought hard for these group of students. I remember her concern of ELs being dropped or not accepted at SECA and ensuring SUSD had a Director of Language Development.
I do agree that our students need mentors, but we need a program that mentors ALL students. Mr. Willie Douglas stated we have a mentor program already in SUSD, so going by his statement, maybe we need to look at our current mentor program. The mentor program has been approved by you, the board, so why not see if this mentor program can be effective at other schools.
Hope to hear from each of you regarding my responses 1-3.
Thank you for your time.