A Life Cypher Project

Commentary: How California’s legislation targeting public charter schools shows that blue states can oppress black people too

*The following was an interesting post found on the LA School Report website.

Blue states oppress black people too. Nowhere is this more obvious than in policing and public education in California.

California’s Legislature is grappling with these issues this session. Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), a progressive voice and chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, is authoring AB 392, which seeks to change the use of deadly force by California law enforcement officers — thus hoping to stop the police shootings of unarmed black people.

Weber has also introduced AB 575, an education bill sponsored by the California Charter Schools Association that would acknowledge black students as a high-needs group in the state because of their chronically low academic achievement and drive more funding to the public schools that serve them.

Taken together, Weber’s bills offer a provocative challenge to a blue state where black youth struggle with the reality that they are targeted by the police, but not for school funding.

At the same time, another group of Democrats in Sacramento are showing how politicians can be liberal and tone-deaf at the same time on issues of race in public schools as they work on behalf of teachers unions to dismantle public charter schools in the name of balancing school budgets.

Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) have authored AB 1505, 1506 and 1507, measures that will kill public charter schools and limit public school options for black children, who are one of the lowest-performing subgroups of students in California.

Let’s put this in perspective. Charter schools have been a part of California’s public school system since 1992. Sen. Gary Hart (D-Van Nuys) authored the charter school law at a time when Californians were considering a school voucher initiative on the state ballot. California’s charter school law came to be in the context of providing parents with choice within the public school system.

According to the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, black parents are more likely than other ethnic groups to choose a charter school. If these bills pass, black parents will no longer be able to choose where their children will go to school within the public school system. This means that they will be forced to send their children to the district-run public schools, which have an alarmingly poor track record of educating black children.

Continue reading this commentary on the LA School Report website