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Upset parents declare state of emergency to improve schooling for Black kids

A young Black student working out a math problem (Photo credit: Shutterstock / Rido)

A group of parents in California’s East Bay declared a state of emergency and is seeking $7.2 million to upend an education gap that has become glaringly apparent in Northern California’s West Contra Costa Unified School District.

“For years now, this district has not seen or served African American, Black kids,” Golddie Williams said at a district school board meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, according to the East Bay Times. Williams, an active parent in the group, has a daughter who attends El Cerrito High School. “That all changes tonight. There is no more time for consideration. The time is now. It’s time they see us.”

The collective of parents is made up of members who serve the district’s African American Site Advisory Team.

Subsequent to receiving the demands from the parents, the board approved the proposed resolution. The immediate plan, according to the East Bay Times, is to shift monies allocated from student programs to services that will accommodate African American students in need.

The district agreed to incorporate the recommendations as soon as next year. It is unclear whether the plans will proceed in 2021 or when school resumes after the summer break.

“If we don’t change the expectations for the students from the teachers, the administrators, the parents — from everyone — nothing’s going to change,” Williams said. “The expectation has to be that this is unacceptable.”

The $7.2 million that the parents’ group requested for 5,000 African American students will include an office within the district that will serve as a support center for students and their families.

In addition, parents asked that tutoring and mentoring programs be implemented, along with a culturally relevant curriculum that has a greater emphasis on African American history and culture.