On Wednesday August 6, Youth filled the steps of the Capitol to advocate to their assembly members on issues of education. The main issue that everyone discussed was the issue of willful defiance and how more positive actions could be taken, instead of just sending a student out of class, so that they miss out on education, you see why there are acting they way they are because it might be deeper than what on the surface.
I was apart of the Sacramento team, the first person we met was a representative for Darell Steinberg’s office Anthony Williams. Then, we spoke to assembly member Roger Dickinson. Finally, we spoke to a representative of Mark Stone’s office. We spoke to them about three issues we identified: Education Equity, Willful Defiance/Restorative Justice, and The Increase of Failing Students.
The first issue we identified was Education Equity. We saw in our communities that schools were funded by enrollment and property tax, so schools in higher income neighborhoods get more funding than schools inside of lower-income neighborhoods. We found that unfair, so we proposed that schools be funded on the population of the students in the schools. Also, each student gets a certain of amount of money, so they get the adequate resources they need to be successful in the education system.
The second issue we identified was Willful Defiance/Restorative Justice. In the schools, many of the students are suspended or expelled over unnecessary reasons. Those who spoke said that they believe that suspensions and expulsions aren’t effective remedies to students who aren’t disrupting the learning in the classroom. They felt that their removal away from their education and there are better solutions to handle a defiant child, like Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice is instead of suspending a student who is defiant, they shouldn’t be given a punishment that limits their education. We asked for their support on bill AB 420, which is a bill authored by: Roger Dickinson. Which says you can’t expel a student for willful defiance, No more suspension for K-3rd graders for willful defiance.
The last issue we identified was The Increase of Failing Students. We found in our schools that a lot of students aren’t passing sufficiently. We also see that classes are over-packed. The teacher couldn’t adequately teach all those students, so we proposed that there should be state-wide ratio mandated, which will be 24 students, 1 teacher, 1 teacher’s assistant. Also, bringing back counselors who helped students when they were getting below-average grades, helped will they were ready to get on that college road, and spoke to students to see if anything was wrong that is making a student act up in class or a drop in grades.