Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

San José Unified School District, Area 2

José Magaña

I believe all children and adults can learn. Regardless of race, income-level, learning challenges, or gender, every person can thrive when provided with the right opportunities and resources. With these opportunities, every child should be prepared to succeed in college or the different career pathway that they chose.

  1. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?

    The top three issues are: cost of living, student preparation, student trauma. The data shows that we are not serving all our students as well as we should be. There are large disparities between 3rd grade reading rates, high school graduation rates, and college preparation rates in our student populations. As our city becomes more unaffordable, it is important that we work to provide more resources to our schools, students, and families. We can improve how we meet the basic needs of students and families to help them focus on the academic work to prepare them for their career pathway.

  2. How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?

    I believe when providing resources to schools, we must continue the practice of providing resources based off need and equity. As an educator and former teacher, I believe it is important that we make budget decisions that will ensure that we keep classroom sizes as small as possible. Additionally, I will work with community groups to seek more resources to help our district better use and align our own resources. We need to make sure that we are providing the needed resources that will support all our students and families.

  3. What steps will you take to address the high cost and lack of availability of quality child care and preschool programs in our communities, especially for low-income children and English language learners?

    Research shows results for students improve when they attend high quality preschool programs or have access to quality childcare. According to various studies, students have greater educational outcomes and life outcomes when provided with high quality early support. As a Library and Early Education Commissioner for the city of San Jose, I have worked to create quality standards for childcare and preschool programs in the city. As a trustee, I want to partner with community groups to connect our families to these opportunities and push to ensure that ALL children in the district can attend these high quality programs.

  4. What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?

    As an educator who has worked with my own students, other teachers, and educators with special needs students throughout the country, we moved forward with practices grounded in research and parent input. The research is clear that to improve the educational outcomes for children with special needs, we must do the following:
    High expectations of all students/adults and believe that ALL students/adults can learn.
    Provide supports as early as possible. This includes small group instruction for all students regardless of learning needs.
    Provide teachers with the training needed to meet the needs of ALL their students.

  5. Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the "opportunity gap" that low-income children and children of color experience, including lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors and enrichment activities. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue?

    As a child and as a teacher, I saw first hand how the opportunity gap impacts our community. Research shows we reach greater success when we provide students and families with the resources that are needed in order to thrive. SJUSD needs to continue to provide funding and resources based off equity to ensure that we can meet the needs of all students. This includes partnering with businesses, community groups, and local government to access more resources for our schools and educators. These partnerships can bring much needed resources to our schools and for the home.