Chapter News

Open Letter to Gov. Newsom in Support of School Choice

May 20, 2019

Open Letter to Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature
From the Los Angeles, San Diego County, and Greater Sacramento Urban Leagues of the National Action Network

In response to the package of legislation threatening the existence of charter schools in California, we respectfully request a meeting with California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California legislative leader-
ship to discuss our opposition to SB 756, AB 1505 and AB1506. We are very concerned.

We believe these bills will do significant and long-term harm to California’s African American students and families.

The National Action Network (NAN), with chapters throughout the United States, including California, is one of the leading civil rights organizations promoting an agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people.

The Urban League is one of the nation’s oldest movements organized to enable African Americans and other underserved urban residents to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights.

We are keenly aware that African American children are not doing well in California public schools. There is a severe and persistent African American achievement gap throughout the State of California in both English Language Arts (ELA) and Math.

It is a crisis in CA public education that 80 percent of African American students fail to meet state standards in Math, and 68 percent cannot read or write on grade level.

We want to remind you that seven out of eight African American public school students are enrolled in district-run schools. Many African American parents respond to this failure in district-run schools by choosing to send their children to public charter schools.

It is not fair to African American families to take away public charter schools and force them back into failing district-run schools in order to balance school budgets.

Upon review of this package of bills, we have determined, these measures represent a direct attack on the ability of African American parents to choose the best education possible for their children. These bills clearly seek to diminish and destroy the progress many charter schools have made toward eliminating the severe and persistent education achievement gap in California.

We hope California’s government leadership will agree, eliminating a system that shows progress, hope and improvement for youth who are the lowest performing subgroup is a step backward. African American students and families deserve better.