Bonilla, Carrasco: East San Jose Wants Faculty Funding

from Special to San José Spotlight
October 30, 2020

An amazing 51% of Latinx college students are considering not returning to college or moving to part-time status, while 37% have already stopped teaching college altogether.

These are the heartbreaking decisions Latinx college students – in California alone – are making this fall due to the devastating and disproportionate impact of the pandemic on them and their families.

That alarming trend is now evident in East San Jose, the epicenter of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County. We may lose dozens of current and future college students and never make them come back.

We will not watch and let this happen. That is why today we are calling on our trusted relationship with the San Jose Evergreen College District to create a college presence in the heart of East San Jose, similar to what we did with the recent Milpitas investment.

Other cities and towns have benefited from community college partnerships that serve the needs of residents off the main campus. These investments provide equitable educational opportunities and outcomes for local communities.

More recently, countless community college-high school partnerships have increased high school degrees, full-time college enrollment, and college persistence for low-income Latinx and other underrepresented populations.

Students and families in the Central Valley, a rural community with very low tuition fees, are the benefactors of a college partnership with the Bakersfield Community College District. Building on the Early College model, an initiative originally funded by the Gates Foundation in 2002, students in 9th grade begin college-level courses and complete both their high school diplomas by the end of 12th grade an associate degree acquired at No Cost for Students.

Sixty percent of its youngest graduates, mostly Latinx graduates, completed two years of college credit in just one high school in this partnership, saving families thousands of dollars and students two years of time.

Not only did this trail work by increasing the college rate for underserved students, it also had the added benefit of a 70% retention rate after students enrolled in college.

As the largest city in the Bay Area and the 10th largest in the US, we will not realize our full potential until every part of San Jose has access to investment and growth.

The presence of the San Jose Evergreen Community College District in East San Jose is an investment that not only strengthens East San Jose, but gives the city as a whole access to new workers who can move our city forward.

Rolando Bonilla is Vice Chairman of the San Jose Planning Commission. San Jose Councilor Magdalena Carrasco represents District 5.

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