The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Community Call 2 Action and Accountability (CCAA), and the Black Education Task Force held a town hall meeting entitled "Reversing the Education Crisis" this past Tuesday night at the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles. This issue at hand was the low-test scores and low graduation rate of Black students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
Recent test scores have shown that predominately African American schools' API score are well below the target goals for California schools.
The meeting provided an update to parents and concerned community members on how the budget cuts will affect Black students in the LAUSD. The meeting also allowed parents and members of the community to ask questions and pose their thoughts on the situation.
The task force has four areas of focus.
1. Implement educational policies and practices (including personnel assignments, training and evaluation) that advance and promote education excellence for all Black students.
2. Improve high school graduation rates for all Black students.
3. Improve the educational progress and status of Black male and female students by understanding and coping with gender-specific needs. A special focus must address the causes of, and solutions to, the underachievement of Black male students.
4. Provide support for parents and families of underachieving Black students.
The outcry for help was heard loud in clear at the town hall meeting.
"We must become activist," said Rev. Eric P. Lee, President of the SCLC of Greater Los Angeles. "We must use our organizational. We must organize effectively to demand change. We have to get back to old school activism. It is a travesty that in 2009 we are talking about the same issues that we did in the 1940s, and '50s, and the '60s.
Community members were able to voice their frustrations, but some in the audience were unhappy that LAUSD Board Member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte was not on hand to hear their complaints.
The most profound message of the night was a quote that Ron Edmonds made in 1981.
"We can, whenever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need to do that. Whether we do it finally depends on how we feel about the fact that we haven't done it so far."