Acosta’s ‘No’ vote a disservice to PVUSD students
Amid a national teacher shortage, last week Trustee Georgia Acosta voted to make it even more challenging to put a quality teacher in every classroom. With hard-to-staff positions in areas like special education and science, schools occasionally turn to teacher interns after an effort to recruit a fully-credentialed teacher comes up empty. Interns are qualified with a college degree in their field and work toward their full credential while they teach. With astonishing bad judgment, Acosta voted against this practice at the last school board meeting. That would force schools to hire a revolving door of emergency subs, the kind that steps in for a day or two when a teacher is ill.
When my daughter was a freshman at WHS, the school was unable to fill a suddenly vacated biology teacher position and had to fall back on emergency subs. In the first semester alone, she had five different teachers who lacked a background in the curriculum. Since emergency subs are only credentialed to teach up to 30 days at a time, she also experienced a series of what she called in-between subs. If a teacher intern had been available, my daughter and her peers would have benefited. What she experienced is rare, as it should be, but Acosta’s vote would make this a regular occurrence at every school across the district. It was an ill-informed vote that either reveals our current board member doesn’t understand public education or is working from the inside to dismantle our community schools. My family and my Area II neighbors deserve better. I encourage everyone to support the effort to recall Acosta.
Gina Gallino Cole, Watsonville
Budgeting a better future
While California this week moved to a “new normal,” the state of our state is dire. Californians are experiencing one of the worst droughts in recorded history, fire season is fueling anxiety and Covid-19 has caused immense grief, loss and trauma. With that as a backdrop, we are confronted with two big public health issues that we must address locally: Covid-19 recovery and systemic racism within policing.
Throughout the pandemic, community members, public health leaders and others have elevated the many ways in which systemic racism shows up across society. The city of Watsonville proclaimed racism a health issue in 2020. The most pressing of which can be found in policing, particularly in the disparities in our city budget.
With the upcoming city of Watsonville budget vote on June 22, we have an opportunity to take direct action and pivot our city budget toward one that prioritizes economic prosperity and growth. For decades police budgets have become grossly inflated while handcuffing the economic prosperity of our community.
As it stands, the budget aligns with archaic and harmful tough-on-crime models that led to mass incarceration. Residents deserve a budget that prioritizes us through an economic development plan, increased access to intergenerational social services, cultural healing and art opportunities to address trauma (especially for those who are formerly incarcerated or system-involved youth and their families), and a strategy to address racial disparities across sectors.
We encourage residents to call and email their City Council representative before the budget vote to voice their ideas about where to invest our funds in order to build a better, more racially equitable Watsonville.
Elias (Eli) Gonzales, Watsonville
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