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Ending School-to-Prison Pipeline: CA Task Force Meets Today

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Studies show that the presence of African-American male teachers in schools improves graduation rates for their black male students. (Shaitra Ken)
Studies show that the presence of African-American male teachers in schools improves graduation rates for their black male students. (Shaitra Ken)
 By Suzanne Potter - Producer, Contact
June 26, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A hearing today in Sacramento highlights ways educators can inspire more black male students to stay in school and achieve their dreams.

The Assembly Select Committee on ending what's often called the "school-to-prison pipeline" is to meet today and hear from the team behind a report on "Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity for Black Males in California." Los Rios Community College sociology professor Dr. Angelo Williams, a member of the California Federation of Teachers' task force on the subject, said he'd like to see a state program to promote diversity among teachers and administrators.

"Let's focus on not only attracting more African-American men to the profession," he said. "Let's develop and implement programs that intentionally help identify, recruit, develop and retain black male educators and classified staff."

A UCLA study found that the ratio between white male students and teachers in California is 15-to-1. For black males, it is 54-to-1, 77-to-1 for Asian males and 114-to-1 for Latino males.

The hearing is to convene at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol. The committee is expected to continue studying the issue and could propose legislation for next year to implement the report's recommendations.

Williams said a study from Johns Hopkins University found black students are more likely to graduate if they have even one black teacher.

"In fact, having an African-American teacher - for African American students and for other students - is a benefit," he said.

The report also recommends training teachers and staff on racial equity and unconscious bias, and forming partnerships with trade unions to funnel kids into apprenticeships. It also supports restorative-justice programs that rely on community service and counseling in place of suspensions and expulsions.

The CFT report is online at cft.org, the UCLA study is at civilrightsproject.ucla.edu, and the Johns Hopkins study is at iza.org.

Disclosure: California Federation of Teachers contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Early Childhood Education, Education, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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