Study Finds Affirmative Action Ban Hindered Equity Efforts in Community Colleges

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The California Community College system educates over 2 million students who carry a wide range of backgrounds, identities, and lived experiences.

A new publication from our Research in Brief series highlights the detrimental effects that California’s twenty-five year ban on affirmative action (Prop 209) has had within the community college system. The research found that Prop 209:

  1. Diluted the racial focus of the Student Equity Policy.
  2. Hindered efforts seeking to remedy inequities based on race in community college.
  3. Ended race-conscious and culturally relevant programs seeking to improve rates of transfer and completion in community colleges as they could be seen as “not appropriate under the law.”

This November, California has a historic opportunity to advance racial equity across our education systems and educator workforce by voting YES on Prop 16. At the community college level, Prop 16 will restore the ability for California Community Colleges to use race- and gender-conscious strategies such as targeted recruitment and retention efforts to build upon and improve campus diversity to ensure equal opportunity for all.

The publication identifies ways to take action between now and Election Day on November 3:

  • Institutional leaders can renew their commitment to race-conscious policies
  • Community members can expand their awareness of structural racism and how  Proposition 16 will create opportunities for California communities.
  • Equity advocates can join Yes on Proposition 16 Campaign.
  • Policymakers must recognize the need for race-conscious policies to address long-standing inequity.
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Prioritizing Racial Equity
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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.