This is a great article with an interview with our new Superintendant Richard Carranza by Erica Hellerstein of Mission Local. Even though we are facing tough times in California when it comes to funding education, I am so proud that my girls attend a school in a district whose top administrator continues to champion the rights of all students to a quality education.
Some may say that our inability to close the “opportunity gap” is a reason to bail out of public schools–not so! Opting out of the system only makes it worse. Systemic inequities have always existed within our education system. Avoidance may seem easier in the short run, but you can’t fix anything that you are unwilling to take responsibility for. And we are all responsible for educating ALL our children.
Here’s what Superintendant Carranza had to say in the article: New Superintendent an ‘Unabashed Cheerleader’ for SF Schools“:
ML: You’ve talked about how the achievement gap is a social justice issue, and you’ve really emphasized closing the gap. Could you talk a little about how you view this as a social justice issue?
RC: At the most pessimistic outlet of the achievement gap, it’s systemic racism. Because there are segments of our population that don’t get exposed to grade-level standards, don’t get exposed to and tutored [in] reading at grade-level standards. So they are systemically being disenfranchised of the opportunity to go to college. Now that’s abhorrent to most people that I talk to. But when you have kids that are performing so far below their peers in the same exact city, in the same exact school district, that’s what it is. If we systemically allow kids to underperform, then we’re aiding and abetting an institutionalized racist system that is keeping kids disenfranchised.
So when I say it’s a social justice issue, we cannot say that we believe all kids deserve and have a right to an education if we know there are kids in our system that don’t avail themselves of the [same] opportunities [as] all these other kids. And that’s what makes it a social justice issue, because it’s hard work. It’s not about preaching to parents or preaching to kids. It’s about providing the systems and structures to meet kids where they are and get them to where they want to be. That’s what makes it a social justice issue for us. Because it’s hard work!
Read more of the article and interview here.