A host of policy responses in-school (e.g. educator capacity, curriculum, course offerings) that bring a critical racial lens to education policy must be prioritized in ways that elevate Black student achievement across subject areas like English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science. Foundational to this shift to school-centered policies is a need to ensure Black youth feel safe, valued, and welcome—all essential to cognitive, social, and emotional growth.
Focus on Essential Skills & Competencies Across Subjects
California state standards are intended to cultivate a set of skills applicable to all subject areas including critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration. These skills can be applied across content areas and when attained can help Black students to be better prepared for college and the workforce. Yet many of these essential skills are not being cultivated in schools for young Black people as evident in so few Black youth meeting or exceeding state standards. Again, schools cannot be the only institutions to shoulder the responsibility of Black student success and well-being. Cities, counties, the state and federal government have an integral role to play in supporting young people, especially young Black scholars.
Encourage businesses and nonprofit leaders to offer internships and work-based learning opportunities that can strengthen student critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication and civic skills in applied settings.
Develop strategies with young people so they can help identify what type of academic, social and emotional support they need to succeed.
|Los Angeles County|
Establish common strategies and models for supporting school districts as they work to create engaging and personalized learning experiences, including universal screening strategies to frequently monitor and adjust instruction particularly in core subjects for Black students.
|State of California|
Strengthen the pipeline for more Black educators to enter the profession, a factor which has been shown to significantly improve achievement and college matriculation rates.
Increase Title I investments and encourage school systems to use Title I funds to address opportunity gaps for Black students.
Healthy, Positive Learning Environments
Compared to their peers, Black students are more likely to miss extended periods of school time, to be suspended, and less likely to graduate or be on track for college across school districts that serve 800 students or more in Los Angeles County. For Black students with disabilities or low-income Black students, these disparities are even more alarming. Establishing healthy, positive learning environments for Black youth is foundational to dismantling negative educational patterns.
Examine city policies and policing patterns to ensure Black students and families are not being unfairly targeted, thus negatively impacting young people on school campuses.
Incorporate regular student surveys like Turnaround for Children’s well-being index and stay abreast of California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) results to determine and respond to student social, emotional, physical and psychological health.
Engage relevant stakeholders and outside experts, if needed, in difficult discussions around underlying issues that may be contributing to patterns of disproportionality to implement the CA Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework to promote adult behavior changes.
|Los Angeles County|
Support LA County schools and districts to implement culturally responsive practices by using the California Multi-Tiered System of Support (CA MTSS) to support the needs of Black students’ academic, behavioral, and social emotional needs within a tiered framework of support.
Expand the County’s community schools pilot across 15 high schools and districts to include feeder elementary schools that serve a higher proportion of Black students.
Incentivize schools, districts and states to support students, teachers and school leaders in making improvements to classroom and behavior management, especially where rates of disciplinary exclusion are high.
Increase federal support for the McKinney-Vento Act in California, where two out of three housing insecure young people attend schools with no federal aid. This can help to ensure that Black students experiencing homelessness are getting necessary education services.