Statement in Response to the Approval of California’s ESSA Plan
In response to the U.S. Department of Education approving California’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan, Ryan J. Smith, Executive Director of Ed Trust–West and Vice President of Ed Trust, and Eric Rodriguez, Vice President of UnidosUS issued the following statement:
“Now that California’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan has been approved, there should be nothing stopping officials from clearly articulating how they plan to provide support to the hundreds of struggling schools across California identified through the state’s Dashboard. Given that many of the state’s lowest performing schools are home to student populations that are largely Black and Brown and low-income, following through on the plan is a matter of equity and justice for millions of students in our state. For example, even though Latino students make up more than half our student population, there was not a single county where the majority of Latino students are at grade level in math or English language arts on our most recent state assessments. We are eager to hear more from the California Department of Education, the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, and County Offices of Education on their tangible next steps for providing the assistance and support our schools and our students need, and how parents, educators, and community members will be meaningful participants in that process. Those most impacted by our education systems know better than anyone the root causes of inequities and underperformance, and we must ensure their voices are central to the process of crafting the solutions that make sense for their schools.”
The Education Trust–West works for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all students at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college. We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps. We work alongside parents, students, educators, policymakers, and community leaders across the state in transforming P-12 and higher education institutions to serve all students well.
UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels.