What if California actually decided to put the needs of its poor kids first? What would that look like?
Here’s one answer: it might look like Gonzales, a small city of 9,000 people—many of them farmworkers—along Highway 101 in the Salinas Valley.
The people of Gonzales don’t have educational credentials (less than 10 percent of adults over 25 have a college degree) or wealth (the median income is less than $17,000 annually). But they do have one incredible resource: youth. Thirty-six percent of the population is under the age of 18, and about 1,000 of the 9,000 residents are under age five. More than 85 percent of the Gonzales Unified School District qualifies for free and reduced lunch.
Very much against the odds, Gonzales ...