Sophomore year, I was tutoring a sixth-grade boy in math at Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto, trying to teach him the basic concepts of multiplication. After two weeks of blank stares and no progress, I learned the boy couldn’t speak English, yet he was expected to learn sixth-grade math in English.
Cesar Chavez Academy teaches kids in grades K-8, but a majority of those kids are graduating still at second- to fifth-grade levels of writing and math. CCA deals with underfunding for resources and overcrowding of classrooms, which makes it impossible to focus on the specific needs of each student.
The organization, Citizen Schools, recognizes the economic and political situations these districts are under and the struggles they face to provide adequate education for the kids. Citizen Schools comes in and works one-on-one with students to bring them up to the level of education at which they should be.
The difference this organization has made in the lives of the students at Cesar Chavez Academy is unmeasurable. But it’s not just CCA that needs help. There are schools in every area battling for a just education system and funds that can use any help that is offered, whether it’s volunteering, donating or trying to make a change within your society.
If spending even an hour of your time with a child who wants nothing more than to learn can change the quality of his or her education, what excuse is there not to?
The letter writer is a senior at Sacred Heart Preparatory High School.