We strongly support the efforts of The California Endowment to reverse the disparity of educational opportunities for boys and young men of color in California.
Our state’s prosperity and health depend on all Californians having a fair chance to thrive and succeed. To this end, one of the best investments that we can make is to be certain that we are doing everything possible to help young people get the quality education they deserve and become healthy, productive adults. As California continues to be increasingly diverse, it will be especially critical to nurture and harness the talent, skills and hope of young people of color – boys and young men of color in particular. Young people are one of our greatest assets and the best indicator of our state’s future. Yet too many of our assets are growing up without a fair shot to be healthy and to succeed. This is especially true of boys and young men of color who are more likely to confront significant barriers on the road to adulthood.
“It is unacceptable that our state spends more feeding our men in prison than to improve their success in public school.”
- Assemblymember Sandre Swanson
Disparity data related to the academic underachievement, poverty, female head of household, health outcomes, economic conditions and involvement in the criminal justice system for African American and Latino males has been well documented. CTA members witness the devastating effects of what African American and Latino male students come to school with every day:
- Young men of color are more likely to grow up in neighborhoods where they confront challenges to their safety and well-being. In their neighborhoods, they are 5 times more likely to be murdered than girls and young women and 7 times more likely to die from gun violence.
- Young men of color are also more likely to go to schools where they don’t have the tools and help they need to learn, including experienced and qualified teachers. For instance, during the 2008-2009 school year, the California middle schools that served more than 90% Latino, African American and American Indian students were almost 10 times more likely than majority white and Asian schools to experience severe shortages of qualified teachers.
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