Calling out the impacts that systemic and institutional racism have had on Black students, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond formally launched a statewide task force on Improving Black Student Achievement. Last week, the task force held its first meeting led by Thurmond and several co-chairs named to guide the work of the task force.
“I’m incredibly proud of the work we’re undertaking with this group,” said Superintendent Thurmond. “Many of us have been working on closing opportunity gaps for years, yet many of our Black students in California are still facing environmental factors that affect their learning before they even get into the classroom. Now is the time to focus and make real change.”
The task force identified five issue areas which will be the basis for working groups: The school-to-prison pipeline (including suspension, chronic absenteeism, and graduation), teacher diversity, academic achievement (including reading and math assessments), mental health, and housing insecurity (including homelessness and foster youth). The task force includes 30 members—including notable leaders from the fields of education, higher education, research, criminal justice reform, and the foundation and nonprofit sectors—as well as the following five co-chairs, who bring leadership and expertise in the area of improving Black student achievement: