Welcome to Alliance for Quality Education


Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) was founded by civic-minded parents in 1996. We simply believe every child deserves a quality education.

The well-being of our communities is fundamentally dependent upon the degree to which all children receive a quality education. A quality education makes it possible for them, as citizens, to contribute responsibly to the social, economic and political strengths of their community.

We must make every school a good school because every child counts.

We hope we can count on you to help make this happen.

Belong... Contribute... Make a Difference!

MITZ LEE
President and Co-founder
Alliance for Quality Education


Why AQE? Public schooling has a "No Warranty, No Refund, No Return" policy. As a matter of urgency, we need to properly educate our children from the day they enter kindergarten until the day they receive their high school diplomas.
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  • Belong...
  • Contribute...
  • Make a Difference!


Contact Us

AQE
P. O. Box 261943
San Diego, CA 92196 - 1943
aqe@allforqualityed.org


About Us

Vision

Transform public education so that every child receives a quality education.

Mission

Strengthen the capacity of communities to act as catalysts to transform and revitalize public education so that every child receives a quality education

Statement of Principles

The well-being of our communities is fundamentally dependent upon the degree to which all children receive a quality education. A quality education makes it possible for them, as citizens, to contribute responsibly to the social, economic and political strengths of their communities.

Supporting quality education in a rapidly changing democratic society requires:

  • Neighborhoods that claim responsibility for the performance of their schools
  • A shared understanding that student achievement is the measure of a school's success
  • Community-wide access to research and information
  • A reform support infrastructure that facilitates community-based accountability for education
  • People working together, with integrity and firmness of purpose, to achieve the common goal

Who We Are

The Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) is an independent, community-based, nonpartisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation founded by civic-minded parents in 1996 and is run by volunteers.

AQE's vision is to transform public education so that every child received a quality education.

AQE's mission is to strengthen the capacity of communities to act as catalysts to transform and revitalize public education so that every child receives a quality education.

AQE accepts financial support from civic-minded individuals and philanthropic organizations. It is not affiliated with any school district, institution of higher education or government agency.

AQE's focus is to bring Community-Based Accountability to public education. Community-Based Accountability is a simple yet powerful concept based on the American traditions of family, community spirit, the importance of educating children and the belief that we can make the future better.

It begins with changes in attitude and person-to-person relationships that occur when individuals decide that schools are important. It is sustained through actions that foster mutual understanding and trust. Parents, community members and organizations act together to align the actions of the local public schools to the educational vision of their community.

Community-Based Accountability is accomplished by:

  • A shared understanding that student achievement is the measure of a school's success
  • A neighborhood that claims responsibility for the performance of its schools
  • Community-wide access to accurate, unbiased research and information on school effectiveness, education laws and academic programs
  • Parents who take leadership roles in their children's education
  • Mobilizing the public to improve public education by partnering with parents to build local, self-sustaining capacity for education revitalization
  • Building an alliance of civic-minded individuals and groups who work together, with integrity and firmness of purpose, to achieve lasting improvements in public education

Why AQE?

Every Child Counts

The quality of our public schools is as crucial to our future as clean air and clean water. Ultimately, having an educated populace determines the social, economic and political strength of our local communities and our nation.

Good schools help create neighborhoods where people want to live, determine the employability and earning power of our students and attract businesses with good paying jobs. Education also affects the public safety and property values of our neighborhoods.

The reality is that too many children are falling behind. About 50% of the students in public schools are not proficient in the gateway skills of reading or math. Too many students drop out and of the students who do graduate, many are not ready for the modern workplace, college or to contribute responsibly as a citizen.

Public schooling has a “No Warranty, No Refund, No Return” policy. As a matter of urgency, we need to properly educate our children from the day they enter kindergarten until the day they receive their high school diplomas.


The Titanic Was Designed, Built and Operated by Experts… Yet It Sank

The people elected or hired to operate our public school system - bureaucrats, politicians, employee unions and others - are not fixing the problems.

Good schools do exist, but good schools do not exist everywhere. Some of the roadblocks to effective reform are:

  • The absence of effective leadership and a means to hold decision makers accountable
  • The influence of highly organized and well funded special interest groups
  • The gap between what experts, parents and the public believe constitutes a successful school
  • How difficult it is for the average parent or citizen to know if their neighborhood school is as good as it should be and if the school district is doing everything it can
  • Rules that make no sense if the goal is to ensure that every child receives a quality education

Everyone in the public school system says that parent and public involvement is a crucial requirement for our schools to be successful. Yet, when well-meaning parents and citizens try to help, they are shepherded into ineffectual advisory groups while business continues as usual – to the detriment of the students and our nation.


Informed and Involved Parents Are the Key

Parents are responsible for the education of their children and are the critical factor for making good schools. Parents have the purest motive of all stakeholders in the public education system. They seek only one result: a quality education for their children.

Informed parents are able to recognize problems. Involved parents take leadership roles in their children’s education. They work effectively to ensure quality academic programs in their neighborhood schools and to change school district policies and state laws to support classroom excellence.

Informed and involved parents – working together to magnify their impact – are the key to successful education reform.

Making Every School A Good School

The focus of Alliance for Quality Education is to bring Community-Based Accountability to public education – the conditions and actions that must take place to make every school a good school.

Community-Based Accountability is a simple yet powerful concept based on the American traditions of family, community spirit, the importance of educating children and the belief that we can make the future better.

It begins with changes in attitude and person-to-person relationships that occur when individuals decide that schools are important. It is sustained through actions that foster mutual understanding and trust. Parents, community members and organizations who act together to align the actions of local public schools to the educational vision of their community.


California in the Crosshairs

Presently, Alliance for Quality Education is working to meet an urgent need and implement Community-Based Accountability through its California project "Californians for Quality Education" (CQE).

California’s public school system, once highly ranked in the nation, has fallen to its current ranking of 48 out of 50 states. Commonsense education reforms adopted in the late 1990’s to reverse the decline are at risk. Term limits have left legislative Sacramento with little institutional memory regarding the goals and rationale for reform. This, among other factors, has generated an opportunity for well funded and professionally organized special interest groups to unravel the education reforms without challenge.

Californians for Quality Education commits to:

  • Advance a shared understanding that student achievement is the measure of a school’s success
  • Foster the use of accurate, unbiased research and information on school effectiveness, education laws and academic programs
  • Encourage and train parents to take effective leadership roles in their children’s education
  • Mobilize the public to improve public education by partnering with parents to build local, self- sustaining capacity for education revitalization
  • Build a statewide, community-based coalition that focuses on transforming and revitalizing public education in our state
  • Establish a grassroots presence in legislative Sacramento to positively affect K-12 education policy

We must make every school a good school because every child counts. We hope that we can count on you to help make this happen.


Core Activities

  • Advance a shared understanding that student achievement is the measure of a school's success
  • Foster the use of accurate, unbiased research and information on school effectiveness, education laws, and academic programs
  • Encourage and train parents to take leadership roles in their children's education
  • Mobilize the public to improve public education by partnering with parents to build local, self-sustaining capacity for education revitalization
  • Build an alliance of civic-minded individuals and groups who work together, with integrity and firmness of purpose, to achieve lasting improvements in public education

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

MITZ LEE

Board President

Mitz Lee has been a grassroots education reform advocate for nearly three decades.

In 2004, Mitz was elected to San Diego Unified School District Board of Education, one of the nation’s largest school districts, and served two terms as its Vice-President. (Mitz was the first Asian Pacific American to be elected in a citywide campaign to the Board of Education receiving nearly 166,000 votes and winning 94% of all precincts.)

While serving on the Board of Education, Mitz ended extravagant use of ineffective and expensive consultants; strengthened the district’s fraud investigation capability (including a fraud-reporting hotline); and championed the effective use of charter schools as vehicles for parent choice, innovation and competition. Additionally, Mitz’s work to improve the school district’s science program was recognized on a front page article in the Wall Street Journal (4/13/06). Prior to her election, Mitz served on a charter school governing board.

Mitz has received numerous awards for her efforts including the Governor and First Lady’s Service Award, Special Recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives, the California State Legislature, and from local elected officials, and was named one of the Top 50 People to Watch in San Diego by San Diego Magazine.

Mitz received a BS degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Economics from the University of the City of Manila and an MA degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Financial Management from National University.

Mitz and her husband, a U.S. Navy veteran, reside in San Diego, CA. Their sons attended public schools in San Diego and are college graduates.

HELEN QUINTANILLA

Board Treasurer

Helen Quintanilla is a Cash Management Supervisor with a retail company in charge of reconciliation of bank accounts, cash analysis and forecasts, approval and release of cash transfers. Previous to this she worked as an accountant in the banking industry.

Since 2006, Helen has been an active member of Lions Clubs International, the largest and one of the most effective service club organizations in the world. She has served in leadership positions in her Lions Club and at the district level receiving numerous awards and honors including “Lion of the Year 2008-2009” from her club and was featured in the December 2014 issue of Lions Magazine, “Why It’s Great to be a Lion - in Our Own Words”. Helen currently serves as 4-L6 Cabinet Treasurer (2nd term) and is the Auditor of San Diego Lions Scholarship Foundation, a Frank P Rivera Fellowship.

Helen is also a neighborhood leader with Neighborhoods First Coalition in San Diego.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Helen earned a BA in Finance from the University of Baguio.

Helen and her husband, Medes, reside in San Diego, CA. Their two children attended public schools in San Diego; one child is a college graduate and the other is presently attending college.

DEBBIE O’TOOLE

Board Secretary

Debbie O’Toole has been involved with fundraising and serving in leadership positions in K-12 parent organizations for more than thirteen years.

She received her BA degree from San Diego State University.

Debbie and her husband have three children. They reside in San Diego, CA where their children attend public school.

FRANK LUCERO

Board Member

Frank Lucero is an accomplished career public school teacher with 37 years of teaching experience. He taught all elementary and middle school grades and high school mathematics and has been a teacher in three different school districts including two of the largest in California, Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified. Frank has also taught in Sweetwater and Grossmont Adult Schools.

After graduating from San Diego’s Montgomery High School, Frank received a congressional appointment to the United States Air Force Academy, later transferring to the University of Southern California where he earned a teaching degree with an emphasis in mathematics and science. He also has an MS degree in Multicultural Education with an emphasis in second language acquisition from California State University, Los Angeles.

In addition to his classroom work, Frank has been a school district Resource Teacher in mathematics and science, a Teacher-in-Residence at San Diego State University School of Education, and a mathematics consultant for a major textbook publishing company.

He and his wife, Annette, who is also a teacher, live in El Cajon, CA, with their daughter who attends public school. He is currently retired from teaching but continues to be involved in K-12 education.

JEFF LEE

Board Vice President
Executive Director

Jeff Lee was appointed by the California State Board of Education to the advisory panel for testing and reporting of students’ mathematics performance. He also served on the committee for selecting standards-based English language arts instructional materials for the California public schools. In the San Diego Unified School District, Jeff headed the Parent Involvement Task Force and served as Vice Chairman of the Community Advisory Committee on the Budget.

He served 22 years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, was recognized as an expert in logistics and strategic planning, and is a decorated combat veteran.

Jeff attended the University of Wisconsin on an academic scholarship, where he earned a BS in History. He also earned an MS in Systems Management from the University of Southern California, an MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College, and an MA in International Relations from Salve Regina University. Jeff is a graduate of Deming Management Training and Drucker Foundation Leader of the Future Training.

For more than twenty years, Jeff has served as a volunteer adult leader and youth mentor with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), in which his two sons participated and earned Eagle rank. Jeff is a graduate of the BSA’s Wood Badge advanced leadership training course.

Jeff and his wife, Mitz, reside in San Diego, CA. Their sons attended public schools in San Diego and are college graduates.


Library

Some of the roadblocks to effective reform are… the gap between what experts, parents and the public believe constitutes a successful school…. (and) how difficult it is for the average parent or citizen to know if their neighborhood school is as good as it should be and if the school district is doing everything it can.”

May we suggest the following for your consideration?


Title Author Publisher Remarks
The Schools We Need: And Why We Don't Have Them E. D. Hirsch, Jr. Doubleday Hardcover, 336 pages
Reaching for a Better Standard: English School Inspection and the Dilemma of Accountability for American Schools Thomas A. Wilson Teachers College Press Paperback, 288 pages
Testimony of Stan Metzenberg, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, California State University Northridge; before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Basic Research July 23, 1998 Stan Metzenberg U.S. Government Printing Office Testimony given July 23, 1998
A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform National Commission on Excellence in Education U.S. Government Printing Office Published April 1983
A Nation Still at Risk
(AQE note: 15 years after A Nation at Risk report was issued.)
William J. Bennett,
Willard Fair,
Chester E. Finn Jr.,
Rev. Floyd H. Flake,
E. Donald Hirsch Jr.,
Will Marshall and Diane Ravitch
Policy Review Journal Policy Review No. 90, July & August 1998
A Nation Still at Risk
(AQE note: 25 years after A Nation at Risk report was issued.)
Diane Ravitch Hoover Digest Hoover Digest, 2008 No. 4, Fall