The Black Community, Clergy and Labor Alliance (BCCLA) understands that selecting a new superintendent is the single-most important decision for any school board. This is precisely why we strongly urge this Board to select a candidate who is knowledgeable, concerned and responsive to the unique needs of Black students, the District’s lowest achieving group.
As you well know, Black students, by any metric, remain at the lowest levels of educational attainment, locally and nationwide. In Derrick Bell’s poignant words, they are “faces at the bottom of the well.” Our statement is from an unapologetically Black perspective.
For nearly three years, with Superintendent Micelle King’s approval and support, BCCLA’s Education Committee has worked with the District’s Access Equity and Acceleration Unit (AEA), to improve educational outcomes for African American students. There’s been some progress, but the failure to properly educate Black students is districtwide. The BCCLA-LAUSD collaboration is new, needs sufficient time and funds to accomplish its goals and objectives and is obviously a small, but important, initiative in a districtwide issue whose solution requires on-going sustainable support from the Board and the new superintendent. Despite piles of research documenting barriers that hinder the performance of Black students, there is little evidence of sustainable progress.
The new superintendent should also be aware of positive signs: the AEA unit, re-allocation of LCCF funds and pending legislation such as AB 2637 (Weber) that targets additional funds to the lowest-performing students, for example.
Failure to properly educate our students is unacceptable. Therefore, fixing that devastating long standing problem should be among the new superintendent’s top priorities. Black students’ lives are as valuable as all others and he/she should be committed to treating them as such.
BCCLA considers the new superintendent’s views related to improving the education of Black children not only important, but crucial. Accordingly, we urge that the Board of Education give our concerns full consideration in selecting the next superintendent.
Statement prepared by BCCLA’s Education Committee