Black Students Deserve a Better Education Than What We’re Giving Them

The academic performance of Black children is lower than all other students in California and it’s been this way for awhile.

Now, I’ve been told there’s very little that I can do as a state legislator to alter the academic trajectory of children who look like me, or who resemble my daughter. That’s because, I’m constitutionally banned from considering race when directing funding toward and enacting laws that govern public education, despite the fact that Black students for example, perform lower than all other students irrespective of income.  Even middle class black students are performing below the state average in Math and English Language Arts.

Currently, The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), makes sure the most funding goes to the state’s highest needs students, which are defined as English Language Learners, low-income students, and foster and homeless youth. Black students however, remain the lowest performing subgroup of students in California outside of students with special needs. Despite this, they aren’t entitled to any extra funding under LCFF.  That’s almost 300 million in LCFF funding that schools don’t get to help this subgroup.

So Assemblymembers Shirley Weber, Mike Gipson and I are writing AB 2635, which directs greater funding and demands greater accountability for the education of black kids in California.

Our legislation establishes another high needs subgroup to the LCFF for students not of a certain ‘race” but kids with the lowest academic performance. Then it directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction to reassess funding annually for the next lowest performing subgroup of students should Black student performance be lifted from the bottom.

It’s my goal and it should be our goal as a state to always find ways to close the achievement and opportunity gap in California and give everyone a fighting chance to make it.  This is one way of doing this. We’re in this together and when we all rise, everyone wins.  If you agree, text 52886 to call on your legislator to support AB 2635.

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Autumn Burke

Autumn Burke

Assemblywoman Autumn R. Burke has made expanding health care access and economic opportunity to her constituents the centerpiece of her legislative career. During her first term in the Assembly, she became widely recognized as a champion for reproductive rights, environmental justice, and health care. She authored bills establishing Transformative Climate Communities to help disadvantaged neighborhoods heavily impacted by pollution, expand access to quality maternal health care, and create greater accountability and transparency across all levels of government. Her work in the Capitol goes beyond legislation; Assemblywoman Burke secured $900 million in funding for career technical education programs to help connect students to 21st Century careers, and advocated for new investments in affordable housing and transportation infrastructure.

Assemblywoman Burke’s background as a businesswoman and her personal life as a working mother informs and influences many of the public policy positions and legislative initiatives she supports and advances. In 2017, Burke introduced a landmark bill to End Child Poverty in California. Her measure has sparked a statewide movement of support to provide a comprehensive framework for state programs and services to lift 1,000,000 California children out of poverty.

In conjunction with her strong focus on children’s needs and health care access, Asm. Burke continues her leadership role on protection of our state’s environment while ensuring a just transition for affected workers and continued economic growth for California. She has authored AB 151 which would strengthen California’s ‘Cap and Trade’ program to continue reducing greenhouse gas emissions that significantly contribute to global warming and climate change. Furthermore, Asm. Burke has introduced legislation to significantly expand electric vehicle charging station network by supporting the installation of new car charging locations at public schools, state parks and beaches.

Assemblywoman Burke is the chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Career Technical Education and Building a 21st Century Workforce, and a member of the Assembly Committees on Accountability and Administrative Review, Banking and Finance, Health, Revenue and Taxation, Utilities and Energy, and the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies. In addition, Asm. Burke is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, Legislative Environmental Caucus, and the Legislative Women’s Caucus. She represents the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale, El Segundo, and Gardena, the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Venice, and Del Rey, and the communities of Del Aire, West Athens, Lennox, Westmont, and Marina del Rey.

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