By Community Alliance Staff
Born in Mexico, Eliseo Gamino is the son of a bracero farmworker. He graduated from Fresno State, where he also obtained his master’s in education, with an emphasis on administration supervision. Currently, he is employed by the Raisin City School District. Gamino was voted “Teacher of the Year 2021 of Fresno County.”
“I am running for superintendent of education because I want to make a positive impact. I see a lot of issues with kids: dropping out, deserting the public school system, high unemployment and homelessness.
“We are not educating the kids at an early age, for instance, they are not able to read in third or fourth grade. These are kids at risk, on the way to the pipeline to prison.
“I want to make residents of Fresno County aware that only 7%–8% of our residents have a BA. We have a poorly educated population, and this affects us.
“This will affect our economic development. Companies are looking to get established in areas with an educated population. That’s why education is so important. I want to put this issue at the forefront of the discussion.
“We have to address the low-performing schools. Why is that, and what do they need to improve their performances?
“Low-income kids can’t make it to the big leagues. How can we balance this situation?
“We have to invest resources in all segments of our society. If there is an imbalance, then you have a gap.
“As a Superintendent, I’ll ask for equity and balanced resources to make sure that all schools are spending their revenue in the correct locations and categories. We have subgroups of vulnerable populations, and they need adequate attention to help them to bridge the academic gap. If this gap widens, then we are not providing a good service.
“In the county, we have an estimated 2,000 new cases of juvenile arrests. In part, this can be prevented with a good education
“‘If we don’t educate children, we are going to punish adults,’ says a proverb. So I prefer to invest in children, to make sure they are reading at a great level. As a society, we can do better by exposing these issues.
“When kids need to be motivated, they need to be exposed to a different curriculum, such as robotics, arts. These are things that inspire kids to excel, and you give them a reason to go to school.
“In the [San Joaquin] Valley, all children should get their fair shot. So we have to make sure all schools have adequate resources. For instance, Fresno County had the funding to help English learners, but it was found out a couple of years back that close to $500,000 was used in a partnership with the police department.
“The County cannot take away money allocated to education and then expect children to perform well. This type of thing has to change; we have to be sure mistakes are not repeated.
“When we are educating children, we are combating crime. This is a basic solution to stop the pipeline to prison. We need to see the value of educating the kids.
“We have a crisis with drugs, whether meth or fentanyl. We have to educate our children and build their self-esteem, and we need to have high expectations for them.
“If we don’t do it, they will be condemned to low-skilled, low-paid jobs, [and] they will contribute to the homelessness problem.
“Education is linked to social mobility. That’s why the education of our children and our youth is so important so they can succeed as adults and be the backbone of the county and the Valley.
“We have a drug abuse problem in our area. But I like what once I read, ‘drugs don’t kill people, ignorance does.’ Education can help people to confront problems.”