Black in School Coalition Holds Roundtable Event with Black Education Leaders on Newsom Equity Multiplier

Education Leaders Discuss the Most Effective Ways to Implement Equity Multiplier Funding to Close the Academic Achievement Gap for Black Students

Sacramento, CA (November 1, 2023) –  The Black in School Coalition—a group of students, schools, educators, and civil rights leaders—today convened Black education leaders from throughout the state for a roundtable to discuss ways that California’s lowest-performing students can benefit from Governor Newsom’s Equity Multiplier. Approximately 80,000 Black students statewide are unfunded, and the Equity Multiplier of $300 million is poised to fund 4% of those students, still leaving thousands of Black students behind.

“Today’s event was a step forward by bringing together education leaders in the Black community with school districts, charter schools, and education leaders,” said Dr. Margaret Fortune, speaking on behalf of the Black in School Coalition. “Yet we still have a lot of work to do. In California, Black students have consistently exhibited the lowest academic performance compared to all other student groups—with 70% of Black students unable to read or write at the expected grade level. In comparison, 84% do not meet the math proficiency standards.”

The Black in School coalition spent much of 2022 garnering unanimous bipartisan support for AB 2774, a bill that would have added the state’s lowest-performing subgroup of students to the Local Control Funding Formula. If funded today, AB 2774 would have allocated over half a billion dollars to schools across the state to improve academic outcomes for Black students. In 2023, when the governor introduced his Equity Multiplier, the coalition focused on advocating to ensure Black students received their fair share, not because of their race, but their academic performance. Instead, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature adopted a revised Equity Multiplier, which now accounts for numerous factors when determining funding allocations, one being the “non-stability indicator” to address critical issues affecting performance like chronic absenteeism. This resulted in 4% of Black students receiving some funds from the allocated $300 million. 

The Black In School Coalition has completed a preliminary analysis of how the $300M in ongoing funding will be distributed to school systems across California. The top five school systems that will benefit from these new funds are:

Los Angeles Unified – $42,294,724

Fresno Unified – $16,566,492

San Bernardino City Unified – $9,179,980

Lancaster Elementary – $8,766,669

Twin Rivers Unified – $7,527,886

“California Black voters want our state leaders to do more to address the state’s academic achievement gap for Black students, which is why the Black in School coalition is serving as a voice for Black students throughout the state on this issue—ensuring that all students have the resources necessary to not only survive but thrive academically,” Fortune added.

Over the summer, the Black in School coalition released a comprehensive survey conducted across California titled “What Black Voters Think,” which showed that 71% of California’s registered Black voters think a proposal that allocates additional funding based on student performance would improve education for Black students. Also, 84% of those surveyed want education funding to target California’s lowest-performing students, currently Black students. The survey asked 1,199 California Black voters to weigh in on the biggest challenges facing Black students today, focusing on finding solutions to close the achievement gap for Black students. Key findings from the study include:

84% of Black voters agree that the California Legislature should target additional funding to the lowest-performing subgroup of students.

71% of Black voters think a proposal that allocates additional funding based on student performance would improve education for Black students.

93% of Black voters, after hearing that chronic school absenteeism in California has more than doubled from 10% to 22% between 2019 and 2023, think chronic absenteeism in California is an urgent problem for school districts to address. 

Only 27% of Black voters believe Governor Newsom is doing enough to improve educational outcomes for Black students. 

Demonstrating the breadth of challenges facing Black students, 32% of Black voters think “all of the above” when asked about the biggest challenges facing Black students today, which include:

Black students are receiving a lower quality education than non-Black students.

Schools with primarily Black students are not adequately funded.

Black students are not graduating ready for college or a career.

Student discipline is too severe.

There is a lack of focused attention on the educational needs of Black students.

Black students face racial discrimination.

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