Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

San Jose Unified School District Governing Board, Trustee Area #2

José Magaña

I am a father, former teacher, and education leader who believes that ALL students can learn when having the needed resources to thrive. Experience and representation matters more than ever. Keep an experienced educator on the board. Let’s fight against the MAGA Movement that is targeting SJUSD.

  1. In a recent poll by Choose Children 2022 of likely general election voters, more than half of parents with children under age 18 say they are likely to move out of the Bay Area in the next few years. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how will you make our region a place where all families can thrive?

    Personally, I can relate to these challenges as a parent, elected official, and former teacher. The top issues impacting our children and families in San José are as follows: Student Safety, Student Academic Achievement, Affordability. I will continue to collaborate with our elected officials and agencies, to use my experience as a teacher, instructional coach, and policy maker to ensure we get our students and staff the resources they need to meet all individual student academic needs. These are resources our district could not provide. Students must feel safe, families must feel heard, and staff need to be supported to make our city and district a place to thrive for our families.

  2. As we have learned over the past three years, without quality, affordable, childcare, parents can’t go to work. What will you do to address challenges accessing childcare and preschool programs in our diverse communities?

    As a parent of two children under the age of 4, I know firsthand how difficult it is for families to access, and then afford high-quality childcare. It is frustrating and a daunting process. I am proud that our district acted before the state mandate and expanded our Transitional Kindergarten offerings to families that provided students with a full-day start to their educational journeys. I will continue to work with our elected officials at other levels of government to explore ways that we can provide subsidies for child care for our staff. Childcare is one of the greatest costs for families and offsetting this cost could make our city much more affordable for our families and community.

  3. Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the opportunity gap that children in low-income families and children of color confront (e.g., lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors, and enrichment activities). If elected, what will you do to increase equity of opportunity?

    I am proud to be someone who grew-up in a low-income household. My story is very different from others because I was blessed to have mentors and family who knew how to navigate systems to ensure I had what I needed to be successful. As a teacher, I also saw how those inequalities impacted their learning. If re-elected, I will continue to build partnerships with our community groups to streamline resources and ensure that families are aware of what is available. This includes utilizing our Family Liaisons to continue to connect families with resources and support. I will use my experience in education to ensure that our programs are also high quality and engaging for students.

  4. What steps will you take to support inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities and their families to be fully included in our community?

    As a former teacher, I know how important it is to ensure that ALL students are included, especially students with special needs. This includes including families more productively as well. I currently serve as the Board Liaison to the Community Advisory Committee on Special Education (CACSE) that educates families and provides recommendations to the district. We have updated our special education program to better align positions to better meet the needs of our students by freeing up time for teachers. We have updated our training to do everything we can to include students with disabilities as well. If re-elected, I will continue to work with our CACSE to reach more families each month.

  5. There is a mental health crisis among children, youth, and those who care for and educate them. If elected, how will you use the resources of your new role to improve access to mental and behavioral health services?

    San José Unified School District has launched a Wellness Center Program that has provided a model to launch at our middle and high schools. If re-elected, I will continue to expand our Wellness Centers which de-stigmatize mental health, provide students with mental health resources, and have access to a counselor. Our Family Liaisons also have done a number of workshops and training for families to better understand mental health and “red flags” that their students may be showing. I will also continue to work with elected officials and community groups to connect families with additional resources that the district may not be able to provide.