NPR, Kqed discussed on All Things Considered

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And looking out the city helped free this is NPR news it's KQED news I'm recovery of Dylan a group of black parents went to their school board to declare an educational state of emergency last week to call attention to the achievement gap between African American students and others and to demand action this happened at the west Contra Costa unified school district board meeting the time is now not tomorrow not two years not five years not some day no more promises no more hold no more dreams are children for Goldie Williams a parent there and that district serves thirty two thousand students from else read up through Hercules and the entire city of Richmond joining me is to reach the Herington a reporter with add source who covers the east phase large school districts hi there to resa hi so who are these parents and what are they asking for well they formed a group called the African American site advisory team and they're asking for about seven point two million dollars worth of improved services for their students because unfortunately in the last five years the achievement gap has actually increased in this district with only about twenty percent of African American students meeting standards in English language arts and only about ten percent meeting those standards in math last year what are they asking for how can the district serve them better well they're asking for a variety of things one of the things that they want is an office of American and African American student achievement which would have about seven people focused on really targeting interventions for the student another three to four point five million focused on one on one tutoring to try to get these kids back up to grade level a lot of them are several grade levels behind actually classroom libraries with more culturally relevant materials more recruitment and retention of African American teachers and also intense focus on summer school to try to bring the kids were behind back up to grade level get them credit recovery in high school and also get them eligible for CS you when you see in the school board agreed right they voted to shift spending to prioritize these black students yes some members of the school board Wesley armies the advisory team themselves working with the parents they very much supported this they very much agreed with what the parents were saying one of the board president actually looked close to tears with she was listening to some of these really passionate speeches that were being made she's a former classroom teacher herself that they have a deficit of about forty eight million dollars and they haven't identified where they're going to try to be able to shift the funding is this particular districts budget deficit big or small compared to other districts there in the red it's basically a lot bigger than most other districts because the district has gone through massive turnover in its chief business official it's on its fourth she didn't official in four years and basically it sort of lost track of it ending in and most other districts I think have a little bit more stability in their leadership and so they're able to track their expenses a little bit better must be really hard though for these parents to hear that when they're looking at their students in this district falling behind yes and the court that you had from Goldie Williams exemplify that you could hear the anger in the passion in her voice because in the budget presentation that happened earlier in the meeting the district superintendent was actually projecting that they were going to implement the seven million dollars two years out and that's why Goldie Williams got up there and said no the time is now we need this to happen next year thanks to resa thank you that's to reach the Herington a reporter with ed source telling us about west Contra Costa unified school district I'm a camera Dylan KQED news hi.

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