On Saturday, January 5th, the Black Parallel School Board has its first meeting of the New Year.
Every meeting begins with the swearing in of new members. Anyone of African-American descent can become a member just by taking the oath given at the start of the meeting.
The first item on the agenda was the discussion of the events that took place at the last Sacramento City Unified School District board meeting. Members talked about the need to bring the newest school board member, Jay Hansen, up to speed on the BPSB and their work and agenda. Also, there was a discussion of how effective Hansen would be as a school board member. The BPSB plans to monitor the SCUSD budget throughout the fiscal year.
“Often times, budget cuts disproportionately impact children of color,” says BPSB Secretary Carl Pinkston. “We need to make sure funding is used properly and strategically to close the achievement gap.”
Another topic of discussion was the STAR test results of African American students in SCUSD elementary schools.
“It’s an interesting dynamic,” said Pinkston. “Different schools in the same area have significantly different scores.
There was also a discussion on how to change this problem.
“Obviously something’s working at one school,” said Darryl White, Chairperson of the BPSB. “We have to get the right principles and the right teachers in there.”
The BPSB’s biggest issue at hand is zero tolerance. Zero tolerance is an automatic punishment, often suspensions and expulsions. The BPSB focuses on the number of African-American students suspended or expelled. This year, the BSPB plans to go out and inform the community about the issue of zero tolerance. The BPSB also plans to sit down with seven principals from select schools to sit down and analyze the data of suspensions for willful defiance within those schools and collectively come up with alternative solutions.
There was also a big issue with many students of color being sent to in-school suspension but there is no data for it. Students a removed from class but are still on campus, therefore the school still gets the money. Parents are also not notified when this happens.
The SPSB will strive to get this changed so that students have to be in class, not just on school grounds
“We need to get the principals to see and own their data.” said Jann Murray-Garcia, member of the BPSB. “We need to get schools to document in-school suspensions as they do with out-of-school suspensions.”
The BPSB is also working to get a Black History program at Theodore Judah Elementary School during Black History Month.
“Our focus is to get inside and start looking at some critical issues within the school district and within each individual school.” said White.
The BPSB meets on the first Saturday of every month. at 10:00 am.