UMMARY

EXECUTIVE S
D S M A T T E R :
BLACK MINE EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS
TH
SUPPORTING E N IN C ALIFORNIA
IL D R
OF BLACK CH

HISTORICAL IMPACT PERSISTENT GAPS AND STEREOTYPES
OF DISCRIMINATORY •  Black children in California are still
POLICY DECISIONS The least likely to:
• be placed in gifted and talented education programs
AND INSTITUTIONAL • have access to and be given a full sequence of college preparatory classes
DECISIONS • graduate high school in four years
• complete a college degree
• O
 ver the past 165 years,
The most likely to:
court cases and policy
• be suspended or expelled
legislation have shaped the
• be taught by ineffective teachers
educational experiences of
• require remedial courses when they enter college
Black children.
• S
 tudies show that teachers hold lower expectations for Black students and that
• While there are Black youth these expectations and perceptions can predict and even influence students’
and families across California outcomes in schools.
dedicated and committed
to education, students • T
 he deaths of unarmed youth by law enforcement across the country tell young
unfortunately attend schools Black Americans that their lives matter less than other lives. The experiences
in an education system that California’s Black students have in school tell them that their minds and futures
squanders their talent. matter less as well.

• D
 espite some progress, the
unfortunate reality is that IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY – SO WHY IS IT?
opportunity gaps persist. At • T
 hese troubling findings are a result of the lack of access to opportunities and a
the current rate of progress, history of inequitable policy decisions and institutional weaknesses rather than
it will take decades to a lack of student ability or parent dedication.
close the achievement gap • T
 here are pockets around California where schools, districts, and/or community
between Black students and organizations are committing to closing opportunity and achievement gaps and
their peers. This will leave these efforts are promising.
California’s nearly 1 million
Black youth under age 25 • B
 ut to make the type of impact we need to stop the disenfranchisement of
continuing to face an uphill Black students, broader and more systemic changes are needed.
battle to get the education • W
 e know that Black student success is possible – schools and districts around
they deserve. the state where both low-income and higher-income Black students excel
demonstrate this.
• T
 hese successful promising practices suggest that the persistence of
opportunity and achievement gaps is due more to a statewide lack of urgency
and commitment than a lack of knowledge and solutions.
• W
 e can learn from what’s working to close these gaps and work to replicate
1814 Franklin Street, Suite 220 best practices through policy changes at the state and local level, through
Oakland, California 94612 implementing promising practices in schools and districts, and through collaborating
510.465.6444 with parent and community-based organizations already doing this work.
www.edtrustwest.org • S
 pecific policy and practice recommendations in the report are intended to
serve as a kicking off point for statewide discussion and engagement, and to
@edtrustwest lay out an action plan for policymakers committed to ensuring Black minds
matter in California.
www.facebook.com/edtrustwest
L IF O R N IA’S B L AC K STUDENTS
CA
DEL
NORTE California has the fifth largest Black population in the country and
1% SISKIYOU MODOC is home to about 900,000 African Americans under the age of 25.
2% 2% About 373,000 of these young people are students in our public
K-12 schools, representing 6 percent of the public school population.
Another 150,000 Black students attend college in California, either at
TRINITY a public or private institution.
0% SHASTA LASSEN
2% 1% Within our K-12 schools, African American students are concentrated
HUMBOLDT
1% in just a handful of California’s 58 counties. The counties serving the
TEHAMA largest concentrations of Black students are Solano, Sacramento,
1% PLUMAS Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco. In each of these
1% counties, Black children represent at least 10 percent of the K-12
MENDOCINO GLENN BUTTE population. Los Angeles County – the biggest in terms of overall
1% 1% 2% SIERRA 1%
population – is home to the largest number of Black students, nearly
%
DA 3 124,000. There, African American students comprise 8 percent of the
COLUSA YUBA NEVA
LAKE 1% PLACER 2%
SUTT

3% school age population.
2%
ER 2%

YOLO EL DORADO Some of these counties have seen dramatic declines in the
SONOMA 3% SACRA- 1% ALPINE
2% NAPA African American student population over the last two
2% MENTO OR 0%
13% AMAD 1% decades. For example, between 1995 and 2015, Alameda
16% 0% AS
MARIN SOLANO R County experienced a decline in the Black student
2% SAN ALAVE TUOLUMNE
CONTRA COSTA JOAQUIN C 1% population from 23 percent to 12 percent, and San
SAN 10%
MONO
9% 4% Francisco County experienced a decline from 18
FRANCISCO 10% ALAMEDA S
12% AN ISLAU MARIPOSA percent to 10 percent.
SAN 2% ST 3% 1%
MATEO SANTA MERCED 2%
CLARA 3% DERA
1% 2% MA
SANTA Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Population
CRUZ Division, 2014; California Department of
SAN FRESNO INYO Education, 2014-15 Enrollment; National
BENITO 5% 9% Center for Education Statistics,
1% Integrated Postsecondary
TULARE Education Data System
1%
MONTEREY KINGS
1% 4%

SAN LUIS
OBISPO KERN
California 1% 6%

has the fifth SAN BERNARDINO
SANTA BARBARA 9%
largest Black 1%
VENTURA LOS ANGELES
1%
population in 8%

the country and ORA RIVERSIDE
is home to about 1% NGE 6%

900,000 African 10% - 16%
SAN DIEGO IMPERIAL
Americans under 5% - 9% 5% 1%

the age of 25. 0% - 4%

The Education Trust West | 1814 Franklin Street, Suite 220 | Oakland, California 94612 | 510.465.6444 | www.edtrustwest.org