This letter was originally submitted by the Alvarado Middle School Site Council to New Haven Unified School District Board of Education president Linda Canlas. A discussion on the renaming of the middle school will be held Tuesday night.
March 18, 2013
Dear Ms. Canlas:
We, the members of the Alvarado Middle School / School Site Council (AMS SSC), are writing to convey our views on a matter which is being vigorously debated in the NHUSD community: the renaming of Alvarado Middle School.
The NHUSD Board of Education (the Board) is considering a proposal to rename AMS, with Filipino American labor leaders Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz being the strongest candidates for whom the school would be renamed.
Both those in favor and those against this renaming proposal can agree on the following:
- Philip Vera Cruz and Larry Itliong were extraordinary leaders, and are worthy candidates for consideration in the renaming of a school.
- The Filipino community plays a central role in shaping and elevating the quality of life here, and is wholly deserving of recognition.
Nevertheless, the AMS SSC unanimously recommends that the Board suspend or postpone the renaming of AMS, for the following reasons:
- Priorities - Although the Race to the Top grant will help in specific areas, it won’t address the furlough days, the class sizes, or the many other ways in which money shortages diminish what the school can provide. Less than a year ago members of the NHUSD community, mostly school children, marched through the rain in Union City in the unsuccessful attempt to drum up support for Proposition H, a parcel tax plea for money to maintain school district functioning. Now, so soon after, the Board deems it reasonable to spend many thousands of dollars on a school name change? Wouldn’t money, be it public or private, be better directed toward something that substantively enhances our children’s educational experience?
- What Alvarado Middle School represents - The AMS “brand” represents something special: teachers that go the extra mile, day in and day out, to do the best they can for the kids; a student body in tune with a positive school philosophy; and a reputation for achievement and accomplishment. Rightfully, this community has a lot of affection, attachment and pride regarding the current name and sense of place. Why brush this all aside?
- Timing: Why now – what’s the hurry? Such a discretionary expense can surely wait until the school district is on firmer footing.
We trust that you will carefully consider the points we bring to your attention, and we reiterate our recommendation: We recommend that the NHUSD Board of Education moves to suspend and/or postpone the renaming of Alvarado Middle School.
cc: Sarabjit Cheema; Jonas Dino; Michael Ritchie; Michelle Matthews; Kari McVeigh; Jesus Varela