By Ryan Smith
This is an open letter to Gov. Jerry Brown.
Last week I received a message from Rocio Gonzalez, a parent of two boys attending Jordan High School in Watts. Growing up in an L.A. neighborhood known more for gang violence than for college graduates, Rocio understood that a quality education provided the best shot for her two sons to succeed. So as a single mom who did not complete high school, she did everything she could to make sure her sons did – from researching the best neighborhood schools and learning the right questions to ask her son’s teachers to taking them to local universities across the state.
She got news that her hard work had paid off. With tears she shared that her oldest son Omar had received an acceptance letter to Cal Poly Pomona. He will graduate from Jordan High School this spring as the first from his family to attend college.
I believe the Gonzalez family story serves as a perfect example of why we fight to close achievement and opportunity gaps. Rocio knew she had to advocate for her children to ensure the educational opportunities that should be given to all students. However, families can’t do this alone.
Governor Brown, we still have a moral imperative to make sure all students, regardless of race, income, or zip code, receive every opportunity to succeed. Before last week I thought you agreed.