Monday, April 23, 2018
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Black Students Deserve a Better Education Than What We’re Giving Them
By Assemblymember Autumn Burke
Published April 12, 2018

The academic performance of Black children is lower than all other students in California and it’s been this way for awhile.

Now, I’ve been told there’s very little that I can do as a state legislator to alter the academic trajectory of children who look like me, or who resemble my daughter. That’s because, I’m constitutionally banned from considering race when directing funding toward and enacting laws that govern public education, despite the fact that Black students for example, perform lower than all other students irrespective of income.  Even middle class black students are performing below the state average in Math and English Language Arts.

Currently, The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), makes sure the most funding goes to the state’s highest needs students, which are defined as English Language Learners, low-income students, and foster and homeless youth. Black students however, remain the lowest performing subgroup of students in California outside of students with special needs. Despite this, they aren’t entitled to any extra funding under LCFF.  That’s almost 300 million in LCFF funding that schools don’t get to help this subgroup.

So Assemblymembers Shirley Weber, Mike Gipson and I are writing AB 2635, which directs greater funding and demands greater accountability for the education of black kids in California.

Our legislation establishes another high needs subgroup to the LCFF for students not of a certain ‘race” but kids with the lowest academic performance. Then it directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction to reassess funding annually for the next lowest performing subgroup of students should Black student performance be lifted from the bottom.

It’s my goal and it should be our goal as a state to always find ways to close the achievement and opportunity gap in California and give everyone a fighting chance to make it.   This is one way of doing this.  We’re in this together and when we all rise, everyone wins.  If you agree, text 52886 to call on your legislator to support AB 2635.

Assemblywoman Burke represents the 62nd Assembly District covering the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale, El Segundo, and Gardena, the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Venice, and Del Rey, and the communities of Del Aire, West Athens, Lennox, Westmont, and Marina del Rey. Ms. Burke currently serves as the chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Career Technical Education and Building a 21st Century Workforce, and as a member of the Assembly Committees on Accountability and Administrative Review, Banking and Finance, Health, Revenue and Taxation, Utilities and Energy, and the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies. In addition,  Asm. Burke is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, Legislative Environmental Caucus, and the Legislative Women’s Caucus.   

 

Categories: Op-Ed | Opinion | Political
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