Editor's Note: The following is an opinion letter, submitted to Milpitas Patch, in response to the letter we ran last week, entitled: "
I am writing in response to the article on the rezoning of the (MUSD) school boundaries.
It is safe to assume that the catalyst of this letter is API of 913. My hunch is that this article would not have been written if API score was at or above Curtner’s API score.
Yes, Milpitas’ population has grown. However, the majority of that growth has been down by the It is no secret that more schools need to be built to service that area. Changing the boundaries of the schools will not alleviate the problem of overcrowding. There are simply too many students for the number of schools we currently have. If our City Council would stop approving developments and/or make the developers build schools to go along with all of these new neighborhoods, our district wouldn’t be busting at the seams.
The Reflections Community was built in 1996. MUSD’s school boundaries are the same today as they were in 1996. It is not “the big secret of the district” to hide the school boundaries. When my family was looking to buy a house, we knew that we wanted our kids to attend Curtner Elementary. Our decision was not based on an API number, but on the fact that as an alumnus of Curtner, I knew the school had a strong sense of community. When we found a house we liked, I called the district office and gave the address of the house I was looking at. The woman on the phone looked it up, and I was told it was within Curtner’s boundaries. It was a very easy process.
Two of the group’s talking points are travel distances and traffic. Travel distances have not changed, since the boundaries have not changed. In reality, the Googled distance between Images Circle and Curtner is 0.5 miles and to Spangler is it 0.6 miles. It is hard to argue that 528 feet adds a significant distance in a commute.
The authors made a correlation between travel distances and poor learning. I would like to see the scientific study that states “spending more time on the sidewalk amid dangerous traffic makes them (as young as 5 years old) tired before they reach school, resulting in poor learning and lower API scores for the schools.” From my experience, most kids are driven to school, which explains the “dangerous traffic.” As a physical education teacher, all the studies I have seen actually link exercise to improved brain activity and test scores, so maybe “more time on the sidewalk” is what kids need. If a child is tired before they get to school, that is a result of the home environment, not school boundaries. Higher API scores do have a correlation with parental involvement, and not with time spent on a sidewalk.
The loss of funding due to parents choosing private schools because their home school isn’t across the street seems like a bit of a reach. I am not aware of a private school closer to the Reflections Community than Spangler. Travel distance to school does not determine API.
Parents choose private schools over public schools for many reasons. The most popular one is, of course, because of an API score. An API score is not the only important factor a parent should look at when deciding if their neighborhood school is a good fit for their children. It is very frustrating when a school is judged on a scoring system that the federal government put into place without properly funding schools. People get so worked up over a number. The number is not the school. The students, families, teachers, and traditions are what make a school great.
If the Reflections Community took their energy to Spangler and created a Parent-Teacher Association and sense of community such as Curtner’s, perhaps they too would see the raising of test scores and school pride. Spangler is far from being an underperforming school. They have earned the honor of being a California Distinguished School as have , , Curtner Elementary, , and .
The authors of the previous letter wrote, "The changing of home schools would be highly disruptive to a lot of families. As a parent of children with anxiety, I know the difficulties some kids experience with change. Transitioning to a new teacher year to year is difficult enough, let alone changing schools, where nothing would be familiar."
I also believe that if the MUSD School Board changed the school boundaries every time a community wanted to be rezoned to the high API school’s zone, we would have a lot of instability in all of our schools’ enrollment. Last year, had the high score, and before them it was Sinnott Elementary. The fact is, we have a lot of high-performing schools, and there really isn’t a bad school in Milpitas.
We do not support a rezoning of the school boundaries and urge the School Board and District not to move forward with this request.
Jessica Hernandez, Curtner parent
Lisa Baker, Curtner parent