Kern High School District students, parents, and community demand a quality education for black and brown youth

MEDIA ADVISORY JANUARY 30, 2020

PRESS CONTACT: Damairis Lao | dlao@doloreshuerta.org

WHAT:  March for Educational Justice

WHO:  The Dolores Huerta Foundation as part of the Kern Education Justice Collaborative (KEJC), KHSD students, parents, educators, and community members

WHEN:  Thursday, January 30th, 2020 at 5:30 pm

WHERE:  March starts at Ross Store at 3761 Ming Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93309 and ends at West High School at 1200 New Stine Rd, Bakersfield, CA 93309

PHOTO OP: Press Conference at 6:30 pm in front of West High School after march. Speakers include parents, youth, and teachers who will list out their demands. 

 *Note: There will be two press check-in points to pick up your press pass. One will be during the march if you’re walking with the demonstrators. The other will be at the press conference at 6:30 pm. You do not need to check in at both.

BACKGROUND: Six years ago, community members, civil rights lawyers, and community organizations filed a lawsuit against the Kern High School District (KHSD) to end discriminatory discipline practices that targeted black and brown students and deprived them of their right to an education.

This Thursday, the KEJC and community members will demand the KHSD to be transparent in its progress reports and to faithfully implement the agreements of the settlement that will create a positive school environment and improve social, emotional, and academic outcomes for black and brown students.

To this date:

  • KHSD has failed to hire diverse teachers. This year, KHSD only hired 2% black teachers, 29% latino, and 68% white. 
  • While suspensions and expulsions have gone significantly down, students are being pushed into continuation schools at alarming rates. Continuation schools don’t have the same resources as comprehensive schools, meaning that students will not be college ready when graduating. In 2017-18, continuation schools had a 48% graduation rate. Although African American students only make up 8% of the KHSD population, they attend continuation schools at higher rates. For example, Vista Continuation School has 14% African American students and only has a 36% graduation rate. In 2018-19, Vista West Continuation School had 21 Special education students and only one special education teacher. 
  • Black students continue to have disproportionate rates for voluntary transfers, involuntary transfers, and are still being suspended at 2-3 more times than their white peers.