Black Educator Coalition impacts CA policy

Black Teacher Coalition

By Dr. K.O. Wilson

5/21/24 Sacramento – A coalition of community-based organizations (CBOs), spearheaded by Kingmakers of Oakland, converged in Sacramento to champion greater support for Black and Brown teachers in California. The Black Educator Coalition’s mission is to dismantle barriers hindering high-quality educators of color from becoming credentialed classroom teachers. Through strategic dialogues with executive, legislative, and regulatory stakeholders, the coalition aims to create continuous communication pathways that ensure investments meant for these communities are effectively allocated, thus benefiting organizations and families alike.

The coalition has set forth clear objectives: to eliminate obstacles for non-credentialed educators in obtaining preliminary credentials, to expand the number of institutions authorized to grant teacher credentials, and to enhance transparency regarding state changes in licensure exam requirements and methodologies. Amidst a historic teacher shortage, post-pandemic educational transformations, and a significant state budget deficit, Black- and Brown-led CBOs are eager to assist in optimizing California’s investment in K-12 education. However, many of these organizations lack the capacity for substantial state budget advocacy.

During our advocacy in Sacramento, the coalition engaged with nearly all members of the Black Caucus, the President of the California Federation of Teachers, and a prominent Black leader from the Governor’s Office. These policymakers are now looking to the coalition to maintain momentum into the next legislative session. This presents a significant opportunity to further refine the coalition’s goals and infrastructure, aiming for legislative and budgetary victories in 2025.

Currently, Black men make up only 1% of California’s teachers, while Latino male educators represent less than 6% of the teaching workforce. Research indicates that having a Black male educator in elementary school significantly increases the likelihood of underserved Black boys graduating from high school and considering college. Additionally, Black and Latino students are less likely to face suspension when taught by educators from their own communities.

The Black Educator Coalition includes a diverse array of organizations such as A Black Educator Network, African American Community Service Agency, Akoben Organizing, Black Educators Advocacy Network, Black Teacher Project, California State University, Kingmakers of Oakland, Oakland Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District, Teacher Village / Watts of Power Foundation, Teaching Well, and TRIO Plus. Together, we strive to cultivate a more inclusive and representative educational landscape in California.

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