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1. OVERVIEW

Thank you for your commitment to learning more about the Education Equity Gap. Our hope is that, when armed with this knowledge, you will become an even more powerful advocate for change.

 

WHAT IS THE EDUCATIONAL EQUITY GAP?

Let’s define some key terms first.

 

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WHO DOES IT IMPACT?

Latinx and Black students are consistently impacted, with Black males amongst the student population who are most affected. 

The Education Department’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) comes out every other year and provides an overwhelming amount of statistics on this gap.

Let’s look at a sample regarding the reading levels of 8th graders in 2019:

  • The percentage of students who read at their grade level were 81% for white non-Hispanics, 62% for Hispanics, and only 53% for blacks.

  • Introducing gender into the equation shows even larger gaps.  Roughly 5 times as many white females could read at grade level as black males.

Evidence shows that non-Black teachers can have lower expectations for Black students, which causes teachers to not recommend them for AP courses or college, and may increase their likelihood of discipline or interaction with school-police.

WHY IS THE EDUCATIONAL GAP IMPORTANT?

Education Equity matters because its absence has a lasting impact on not just students, but our community as a whole.

Underserved students are less likely to graduate from high school, enroll in college, and graduate from college. Once they are adults, they’re more likely to be unemployed and likely to earn less. But another student’s lack of resources affects you too.  One study found that the gap has cost the U.S. economy more than all recessions since the 1970s. This study also estimated that if there had been no achievement gap from 1998 to 2008, the U.S. gross domestic product would have increased $525 billion.  

Addressing the education equity gap also saves billions of dollars in public assistance programs, reduces crime rates, and increases property values.

HOW COVID WIDENED THE GAP

Due to inequitable access to health care, income inequality, and disproportionate employment in high-risk essential jobs, underserved communities have been most impacted by COVID.

It is difficult for children to learn if they are sick or hungry, or if they have family members who are sick or even dying. Furthermore, some students who relied on schools for basic necessities such as meals or social services were cut off from them. When classrooms became virtual, many low-income families didn’t have the necessary internet capacity, routers, or computer equipment. One study showed that as a result, students of color were an additional three to five months behind in math, while white, non-Hispanic students were one to three months behind.

2. SYSTEMIC RACISM IN EDUCATION
 

The Mendez Family Fought school segregation eight years before Brown v. Board of Education

In 1946, after more than 25 years of campaigns against segregation in Southern California’s schools, a group of Mexican American families won the very first federal court case ruling that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional.

By 1940, more than 80% of Mexican American students in California went to so-called “Mexican” schools, even though no California law mandated such a separation. The so-called “Mexican” schools were designed to Americanize the students — speaking Spanish was prohibited — and also to train boys for industrial work and agricultural labor and girls for housekeeping. Most of the school board members were wealthy citrus farmers whose livelihoods depended on Mexican American labor.

Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez and their children moved to the small town of Westminster outside of Los Angeles in 1944. The Mendez family tried to enroll their kids at the local 17th Street School but were turned away. 

Gonzalo Mendez insisted that not only his children, but all students be given a quality education equal to their neighbors. When the school board refused to change its policies, Gonzalo joined four other plaintiffs—William Guzman, Frank Palomino, Thomas Estrada and Lorenzo Ramirez—from nearby Santa Ana County school districts and filed a lawsuit in federal district court known as Mendez v. Westminster.

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The case was heard in 1946 by Federal District Judge Paul McCormick, who delivered a landmark ruling that segregation of Mexican Americans was not only unenforceable under California law, but it violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “A paramount requisite in the American system of public education is social equality,” wrote Judge McCormick. “It must be open to all children by unified school association regardless of lineage."'

When the NAACP heard about Judge McCormick’s decision, which directly challenged the constitutionality of race-based school segregation, it saw a strong test case for challenging segregation nationwide.

Taking his cue from Judge McCormick’s earlier opinion, California Governor Earl Warren decided to outlaw school segregation of any kind in the state. Seven years later, Warren was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court when it heard Brown v. Board of Education. To learn more:

The East Los Angeles Walkouts & Chicano Blowouts

The East Los Angeles Walkouts, or Chicano Blowouts, were a series of protests in 1968 led by students in East Los Angeles who spoke up against unequal conditions in Los Angeles Unified School District high schools.

Discrepancies in the education of white and Mexican-American students surfaced in Los Angeles during the 1950s and 1960s. Mexican-American students experienced a 60% dropout rate from high school. In some schools, teachers prohibited students from speaking Spanish or from learning about their history. These schools funneled many Mexican American students into vocational programs and discouraged students from post-secondary studies. In response, students, teachers, parents, and activists began to organize.

From March 1-8, around 15,000 students walked out of their classroom in protest, led by Social Studies teacher, Sal Castro. Organizers presented a list of demands to the Los Angeles Board of Education, including recommendations for curriculum changes, bilingual education, and hiring of Mexican-American administrators.

The East Los Angeles Walkouts represented a call to action for civil rights and access to education for Latino youth in the city. Even with the official rejection from the Board of Education, the event remains one of the largest student protests in United States history.
To learn more:

The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ruled it was unconstitutional to segregate public schools

This decision that was in favor of equality in education, regardless of race, was a precursor to the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. King. Unfortunately, we are still fighting for justice and the civil rights of Black people today.  

Click here to read an article that takes you from the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case that established the Jim Crow segregationist era to the pioneering study of civil rights by Howard University’s Charles Hamilton Houston in the 1930’s, to Dr. King, and beyond. Note that the final paragraph declares Brown v. Board of Education “unfinished” and speaks to the challenges our country still faces today.

The Little Rock 9

There are a few more compelling examples of the fight for education equality in the United States than the story of The Little Rock 9

In September, 1957, three years and four months after the Brown v. Board of Education, the Governor of Arkansas defied this constitutional decision by the courts and used his state’s National Guard to block these young students from desegregating their school. This is after attempts at all levels to stop desegregation from even happening. 

As the National story of the Little Rock 9 would play out by the end of the month with Federal Troops being called in to protect those nine students, we saw in real time how divided this country could be in the fight of equality in education. It took 10-15 years after the Little Rock 9, for people to comply with desegregation orders. Click here to learn more about The Little Rock Nine

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Are the milestones just moments in history books or is there something to learn from them today?

Sadly, there’s a great deal of scholarly and legal research that points to segregationist ideals and practicing still being implemented today.

From resegregation to the classic example of underfunding districts and now the digital divide that was further exacerbated by the pandemic, there is tangible evidence that 67 years after Brown v. Board of Education there is still more work to do, because our educational system remains unequal

 
3. SUPPORTING TEACHERS

Impact of COVID

Teacher shortages remain a critical problem. Teacher pipeline problems are exacerbated by state testing barriers for teacher licensure and inadequate financial aid for completing preparation. Teacher workload, burnout, and compensation are among the top major concerns that lead to resignation. Growing retirements and resignations further reduce the number of available teachers.

What is the current landscape for teachers?

Covid has made it so LAUSD teachers get almost more time with their students than before the pandemic. Kids come directly to their classrooms when they arrive at school and stay in their own classrooms all day. Teachers spend breaks sanitizing. They take their own students out for recess to limit contact with other classes. They contact trace after exposure. They arrange their room and change their instructional practices to keep kids as far apart as possible.

The pandemic has certainly presented teachers and students “uncharted territory to explore.”

Sometimes these challenges have been joyful, but for many educators, the pandemic has been stressful. Teachers have taught kids virtually and in-person simultaneously. They learned new technology and used it as they learned it. They have fostered incredible community within their own classrooms. They are surviving a pandemic with their students and together they are building memories that will last a lifetime.

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Myth: Teachers are compensated well for what they do

Compared to other professionals with the same education and years of experience, the Economic Policy Institute estimates that the educator pay gap in California is 85¢ on the dollar. The national classroom teacher salary was estimated at $65,090 for the 2020-21 school year with the average starting teacher salary averaging around $41,163 for 2019-2020. Considering California’s high cost of living, the current average starting salary here is $49,303 with the average salary at $84,531.

To put things in perspective, according to The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Guidelines for 2021, a household of 1, earning $66,250 a year is considered to be in the low income level 1, while a household income of $41,400 for that same person living in Los Angeles County is considered very low income level 2. Now, imagine that a single mother of two just finished school and is a new teacher with a starting salary of $49,303. As a household of 3, this family living in LA County would be in the Extremely Low Income Level 3.

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Where are resources going?  

California schools receive the large majority of their funding from the State, primarily from income and sales tax revenues, but also from local property taxes that are collected at the local level and distributed by the State. The 1978 Proposition 13 limited local property taxes to 2% annual increases based on value of property and capped taxes on property purchased after 1979 to 1% of the purchased value. An important feature in this initiative was that it required all parcel tax measures to pass with a 2/3rds vote.

One of the greatest impacts to K-12 public school spending is the percentage of personal income that a state spends on education. From a peak of about 4.5% for the nation overall, and 4.0% for California, both peaking in the early 1970s, the nation overall as well as California spent declining percentages on public education in the decade from 1975-1985.  For the longer period of 1970-2008, California has always spent a lower percentage than the rest of the nation on education. Furthermore, income and sales taxes are more volatile revenue sources than property taxes. California school districts therefore face dramatic cyclical funding variations as the economy rises and falls, as it recently has during the pandemic. Further, California's Governor and State Legislature, whose vote on the State Budget Act determines how State funds may be spent, have enormous control over the ability of local school districts to utilize funding to meet the specific needs of their students.

How does institutional racism play a part into what resources are available to teachers?'

The 1978 Proposition 13 cap on property taxes has drastically impacted historically poor communities because even if gentrification occurs in their neighborhood with families of higher incomes coming in, the school does not get any more money than they were before because property taxes are capped. 

Historically, the more affluent neighborhoods continue to get, the more funded they get, and those children receive a better education. While historically, the lower socioeconomic  neighborhoods continue to receive low funding, which greatly affects the resources teachers have access to and children’s overall education.

  1.  Charter schools: The idea of charter schools arose in the late 1980s and early ’90s. They were originally conceived as teacher-run schools that would serve students struggling inside the traditional system and would operate outside the reach of the administrative bureaucracy and politicized big city school boards. Charters were seen as alternatives to large, struggling, comprehensive high schools. But, within a few years, some early supporters grew concerned that the charters and small specialty schools were creating tiers of schools serving decidedly different populations with unequal access. Teachers’ union leaders also feared that charters were undercutting the power of their unions to bargain collectively over district wide concerns and policies.

  2. “Pay per head": Schools get funding based on attendance rates, which is a disservice to low-come communities where families are more transient, parents are less likely to have reliable childcare or transportation to get the kids to school,  and lack access to proper healthcare. The average student in the United States (K-12) misses 4.5 days per school year, this results in 164 million lost school days for students per year in the United States. The average spending per student is reported as $11,762 per year. Assuming a 180 day school year, the average student generates $65.34 a day in funding for the school district. Therefore the total loss of funding associated with student absenteeism each year is $10.7 billion dollars in the US. While illness is not the only reason students are absent, it is believed to be the main reason students are absent from school each day.

What are the community needs?

Currently, there is a huge need for educators. LAUSD alone reports 502 teaching vacancies at the start of 2021 compared to 113 in 2019.

The lack of educators combined with distanced learning has greatly affected the learning gap and students need support to get back on track. Although the pandemic’s effects will be studied for many years to come, we know from early studies that for many students, the educational gaps that existed before the pandemic—in access, opportunities, achievement, and outcomes—are widening. And we can see already that many of these impacts are falling disproportionately on students who went into the pandemic with the greatest educational needs and fewest opportunities—many of them from historically marginalized and underserved groups. Volunteers are needed to help serve as additional resources for educators who are struggling to get students back on track.

How to take action

Volunteer

Advocate 

  1. GET SOCIAL Love the gram? Do you live for a retweet? Connect with the California Teachers Association and help spread the word about our union and the fight for public education!

  2. FIND YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS 

  3. SCHOOL FUNDING CTA believes that students need and deserve smaller class sizes, up-to-date textbooks, computers, and a safe learning environment.

  4. SUPPORT THE BUILD BACK BETTER ACT 

 
4. TUTORING & MENTORING

LAUSD Approves $2.6B - COVID Relief

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act the LAUSD Board approved an additional $2.57 billion in additional COVID-19 pandemic, an addition to the $2.27 billion in June bringing the total to: $4.8 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds. These funds can be used for services and programs that address students’ academic, social, emotional and mental health needs, opportunity gaps that existed before the pandemic (that have been exacerbated by it), and any pandemic-related health-and-safety measures.

However, the district has struggled to fill 6,000 positions (under the Path to Recovery plan for this school year) with more than 2,500 positions still unfilled. This plan will support 1,400 additional full-time positions as prescribed under this week’s supplemental Path to Recovery plan. The plan will now be submitted to the Los Angeles County Office of Education for its review and approval and can be amended as needed. 
 

What is "learning loss"?

“Learning loss” refers to the difference between what students would have learned in a normal year and what they learned during the pandemic.

Pre-pandemic, 56% of students didn’t meet grade level standards in English, while 67% didn’t meet standards in Math.

Throughout the pandemic, there has been significant learning loss in both English and Math, with students in earlier grades most affected. Furthermore, the equity impact is severe—certain student groups, especially low-income students and English language learners (ELLs), are falling behind more compared to others.

Intersection of Race and Learning Loss

Due to inequitable access to healthcare, income inequality, and disproportionate employment in high-risk, “essential” jobs, low-income, Black, and Latinx communities are suffering most from the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

These inequities extend into the education sector. 2020 data suggested that educational disparities disproportionately affect Black, Latinx and Indigenous students, students from lower socioeconomic  communities, and English-language learners. This will continue to have long-lasting impacts well into the future, and without support services. 

Average learning loss estimates mask the reality that some students are suffering much more during this time than others. Without compassionate and bold actions from our government and community, these students might not catch up.

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Tutoring and Mentoring

Fortunately, LAUSD’s efforts to connect students to the internet has created the infrastructure for tutoring programs to address these inequities by bringing personalized instruction directly to any student who needs it.

Tutoring sessions in Los Angeles can cost upwards of $100 an hour. However, through outstanding non-profit programs like Step Up Tutoring, LAUSD students can access this vital one-on-one support. By training volunteer tutors that work in partnership with teachers and parents/guardians, tutoring programs add an important layer to the network of support for students. Thanks to programs like Step Up Tutoring, LAUSD students can access vital one-on-one support for no cost to the family or school.

However, this path to learning recovery will continue long after students are back in the classroom, as both academic and social and emotional learning has suffered. Thankfully Step Up Tutoring has a Memorandum of Understanding with LAUSD for the next four years, and can continue to support students’ recovery and growth. This is made significantly easier through the support of volunteer tutors, and students can continue to rely on this network for years to come.

  • 96% Tutor, Family and Teacher Satisfaction

  • 88% of teachers believe Step Up has positively impacted academic efforts and progress of students 

The social and emotional impact of this one-on-one connection is just as important as academic support, with the last two years contributing to rising rates of depression and anxiety. Having tutors work with students twice a week encourages confidence and strengthens students’ safety nets.

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5. INCREASE ACCESS TO POST-GRAD OPPORTUNITIES 

COVID impact on access to post-graduate opportunities

COVID-19 has amplified challenges for many students looking to pursue postsecondary education, with students of color and students who are caregivers confronting significant and disproportionate new challenges to entry, staying in school, and finishing on time. 

The National Student Clearinghouse reported a nearly 7% drop in enrollment compared with 2019 graduates. Meanwhile, another national study of about 60,000 households conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that by October 2020, 62.7% of 2020 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities, which is down from 66.2% in 2019.

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Why access to diverse opportunities after graduation is important

Higher education is not for everyone, so it is important to examine all the possibilities students have in front of them. Overall, opportunities such as higher education and vocational school do correlate to increased income, overall better health, lower rates of smoking and lower incarceration rates. 

  • College graduates earn 73% more than their high school equivalents. Regardless of gender, there is higher pay and better health with increased education. 

  • Unemployment rates decrease across race and gender with higher education. 

  • Community engagement activities such as voting, blood donations, and volunteer work, is higher for adults with higher education than those without. 

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What is preventing access?

Two of the biggest and most obvious factors that prevent access to higher education and opportunities after graduation is economic status and race. Study after study have shown economic status and race are contributing factors in access to opportunities. An article by Isabel Sawhill suggests:

Almost half of all college students and much higher proportions of poor and minority students drop out before they complete a degree.

  • Factors that lead to high dropout rates or lack of application in the first place include: high tuition costs, lack of educational information, lack of aid, demands of work and family overshadow attending a school full time, and a lack of preparation or inadequate education during K-12 grades. 

  • 26% of high school seniors are proficient in math and 38% are proficient in reading and writing. Yet, two thirds of high school seniors enroll in college. This lack of proficiency, leads to higher drop out rates. 

  • Nationally, 1 in 8 students who enroll in college, earn a degree.  

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Community need

The best way to increase opportunities for students after graduation is through increased communication between educators in the K-12 community, particularly those in high school. Efforts should be aimed at easing student’s transitions from high school to college or providing information sessions on alternatives to college for those who do not feel college is the right fit for them.  

Increasing career preparedness initiatives for high school students would ensure students are ready for success after they graduate. Customized learningthat is tailored to the individual  needs of the student, will allow for more focus and support for that student. This may includes high school guidance counseling, and “after college workshops” to make students aware of their after high school options. 

Promoting higher education is important, but also equally important is promoting alternative routes and careers. Trade schools are often overlooked, but can be excellent sources of education and future income.

 
6. SCHOOL BEAUTIFICATION

In just a few hours you can make a visible difference in your community by participating in beautification projects in and around schools in Los Angeles.

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Overview: School Funding

School beautification support is needed most in districts where funding is lacking already to retrofit, upgrade, improve, or maintain the grounds of K-12 campuses. While each school and district have different needs, they (for the most part) have the same cause—funding, or rather a lack there of

Prior to the 1970’s, California’s schools were financed largely with property tax revenues within local school districts which led to drastic differences in funding across districts. A school district with very high property values could, and did, raise more revenue per student than one with a low property tax rate. California state legislatures attempted to reduce these differences by providing more state aid to districts with lower property values, but this did little to solve the problem. 

State Legislation that has had huge impact

Proposition 13, passed in 1978, limited property tax rates to 1% of a property’s assessed value at the time the property is sold.

This meant that, despite increasing property values over a length of time, the amount school districts and local communities are eligible to take in remains at a relatively constant level which only further entrenched the disparities between wealthy districts and poor ones. In an attempt to alleviate the impact to school districts, the state Legislature then shifted more state funding to schools to help establish a minimum funding level from State and local property taxes by passing:

Today, still as a consequence of Prop 13, the majority of funding for schools comes from income and sales tax revenue from the state. While this did help stem the financial woes from getting significantly worse, there are some arguments that the “fix” has led to more volatility. 

Income and sales taxes can be more volatile sources of revenue than property taxes because both are tied to economic productivity, which is more susceptible to boom and bust cycles. This ultimately means less funds for schools as income tax revenue and sales tax revenue drop off. As a consequence of the volatility and limited funding from property taxes, State funding has an oversized part to play over local school district funding.

As of now, approximately 60 percent of all school district funds in California are for “general purpose funding,” while the remaining 40 percent is restricted to specific purposes. While bond issues have become more popular in recent years, they require a fifty-five percent vote in favor to pass, and even then they are primarily reserved for buildings. 

In short, California schools educate more students than any other state in the nation, and Los Angeles Unified School district is the second largest school district in the nation serving over 600,000 students.

Despite serving more students than any other state, drastically increasing funding for school districts in recent years and redirecting funds during the pandemic to aid over burdened schools, the state still spends less per student than the national average. 

This lack of funding can be felt in many ways, but one way is the quality of the environment on campuses. Funding is primarily directed toward areas that include staff, books, buildings, amenities, and facilities, leaving some districts strapped for cash and unable to address the space the students occupy for the majority of their day.

The space students occupy has been linked to student performance in the classroom, and student involvement in extracurricular activities. Both of which are indicators of graduation rates, college acceptance, and overall well being in and out of the classroom. One way that we can all help is to dedicate a few hours a year to help improve the spaces in and around schools in Los Angeles. 

Volunteers are Key to School Beautification

School beautification projects involve hundreds of volunteers to roll up their sleeves and paint, plant, landscape, and build as they work together to revitalize the grounds of  local k-12 facilities.

 

While each project can vary, some ideas include:

  • Painting, or refreshing, a mural or artwork around the school

  • Planting trees in and around campus to improve the greenscape for students

  • Building a playground

  • Landscaping fields, grounds, and entrances

This may sound daunting to those who have never participated in a school beautification before, but that is precisely where L.A. Works comes in.

Partnering with schools in need, staff and volunteers work to scout the location for a beautification project and gather the necessary supplies and equipment depending on the project.

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7. LIMITING/ELIMINATING SCHOOL POLICING

In some school districts in California and across the nation, administrators are in charge of student discipline when issues arise in the classroom. Challenges in the classroom can arise from tardies, cell phone use, disruption during instruction, and a slurry of mundane issues that school counselors and administrators have to deal with including; on a bad day, fights among students. The consequences usually vary but often include some form of in school or after school detention, calls to parents, in or out of school suspension for severe cases, and even expulsion. However, this general example is no longer the norm across the country, and even less so in and around Los Angeles and Los Angeles Unified School District. 

In school districts, teachers and policymakers are determining how to get more students back to in-person learning as safely as possible. Over several decades, police (also referred to as School Resource Officers (SRO), School Police Officers (SPO), or Campus Police) have become increasingly responsible in K-12 schools for replacing school administrators as disciplinarians. The purpose of these police officers is to form a partnership between school administrators  and create a safer environment.

According to the DOJ, SROs are sworn law enforcement officers responsible for safety and crime prevention in schools and they have the ability to make arrests, respond to calls for service, and document incidents that occur within their jurisdiction. That same guidance also states that “while an SRO's primary responsibility is law enforcement, SROs should strive to employ non-punitive techniques when interacting with students.” In other words, arrests should be used only as a last resort under very specific circumstances.

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Increased reliance on SRP and SPO

Schools districts became more reliant on police presence on their campus beginning in 1999 in response to the school shooting at Columbine High School and also spawning the federal Community Oriented Policing Services in Schools Program (COPS). According to the National Association of School Resource Officers, estimates range between 14,000 and 20,000 SPOs in America’s schools at any given time right before the pandemic and estimates suggest nearly $1 Billion dollars has been spent on School Police since 1999.

Despite this increase in funding for police on K-12 campuses, one in four students attend an SPO but no counselor, nurse, school psychologist, or social worker. The increase in police officers on campus occurred during an era of nationwide declines in juvenile crime and arrests indicates that it was either not necessary or counter productive.

This same time period saw the drastic increase of zero-tolerance policies—requiring schools to suspend or expel students for violating rules, no matter what extenuating circumstances there might have been; including behavior that school administrators historically addressed—which drove an increase in youth arrests and ushered in the “school-to-prison” pipeline.

Zero-tolerance policies disproporionately impact youth of color

These zero-tolerance policies disproportionately impacted youth of color by placing them in the justice system.

  • Black students’ arrest rates are 7.4 times higher in schools with assigned law enforcement than in schools without.

  • Latine students’ arrest rates are 6.9 times higher in schools with assigned law enforcement than in schools without.

  • Students with disabilities’ arrest rates are 4.6 times higher in schools with assigned law enforcement than in schools without.

  • Police handcuffed 15.7 percent of all students stopped in response to calls for service and 27.1 percent of all Black students stopped in response to calls for service.

  • Police arrested only 12 percent of white students but 20 percent of Black students during stops.

Even in situations where arrests are not made, school police disproportionately arrest and cite Black students, Latino boys, and students with disabilities

  • Black students are three times more likely to be referred to law enforcement compared to white students.

  • Black girls are six percent of California’s female student population but 18 percent of female student arrests.

  • Latino boys are 28 percent of California’s students but 44 percent of student arrests.

  • Students with disabilities are 11 percent of California’s students but 26 percent of student arrests.

  • Black and Latine boys with disabilities are five percent of California’s students but 13 percent of referrals to law enforcement and 15 percent of school arrests.

These individuals are trained police officers that function like an arm of local law enforcement rather than counselors or other support services that provide essential resources to staff and students. 

Time spent investigating minor offenses—offenses counselors and administrators used to handle—creates an environment where students are subjected to the criminal justice system for behavior that would not reach this threshold had it occurred outside of campus. In other words, School Police Officers are linked with increased arrests for noncriminal, youthful behavior.

Unlawful targeting 

Locally, the Los Angeles Unified School District requires police officers to have a warrant or court order present before they can question a student. However, once police are called, their actions are often unlawful and target minority students, the ACLU said.

This same report states that 98 percent of California's school districts analyzed have failed to get parental consent before the police interviewed students and ninety-nine percent did not require officers to inform students of their constitutional rights.

Other options for school safety

There are ways to make students safe on campus and improve academic and social outcomes in K-12 schools without contributing to a school-to-prison pipeline. Some reforms include: 

  • Connect before you correct

  • Utilizing the “Resource” in School Resource Officer

  • Limiting Roles and Responsibilities of police on campus

  • Eliminating funding for police in schools

  • Removing police from schools 

  • Investing supports and services proven to contribute to safety

  • Train staff on Healing Centered practices that have to do with Trauma informed practices

Because of activists, student leaders, and parental and community involvement, school districts in Oakland, Los Angeles, Pomona, and Claremont, to name a few, have either eliminated or made progress towards eliminating school police on their campuses. The question at hand is: how do we make schools a safe and equitable place for students and staff alike?

8. KEEP DOING 
 

Being a volunteer means you already understand the importance of action.

Now that you have a greater understanding of the Education Equity Gap, we have provided several ways for you to continue to advocate and take action. Keep on doing what you do, because if we each do something - raise our voices, lend our time, share what we know, vote, advocate, continue to learn...we will be a part of the solution.

#STONGERASONE

Advocate

Hold your representative accountable on social media by finding their handles here and...

  1. Encourage them to address the education equity gap

  2. Ask what they’re doing to ensure that every Californian has equal access to a quality education