The primary purpose of the African American Caucus is to take advantage of the multitude of programs offered by the California Democratic Party and utilize them within the African American communities. Through education we play a vital role in getting the community engaged in the local, state and federal public policy arena. Working with the California Democratic Party, we will identify unregistered African American Democrats. Plan a strategy to canvass, provide site registration and education on the importance and benefits of voting. Our hope is to improve the human and societal conditions for all we serve.
As chair of the California Democratic Party’s African American Caucus, I’m a firm believer in our 2012 platform, which declares in part: “California's students must have access to free, fully accessible, and equitable world-class public education.” The truth, though, is that we have a long way to go to make that goal a reality for many black and brown kids across the state.
Latino and African American students lag far behind their white peers when it comes to proficiency rates in reading and math. According to an Education Trust—West study released earlier this year, only 1 in 20 black kindergarteners will ultimately graduate from high school and complete a four-year college degree here in California. And what will happen to the other 19 students? The sad reality is that all too many of them who can’t read or add will end up in our state’s prison system.
That’s simply unacceptable.
If we want to change outcomes for our students, then our caucus must take a leadership role in bringing education to the forefront. It’s our responsibility to serve as a resource to our communities when it comes to informing them about the urgency of this issue. And we have to become joined at the hip with others who are stepping out of their traditional tracks to address the needs of non-traditional students.
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