LA educators and parents ask LAUSD for more diversity in classrooms

"To have a role model in your schools from kindergarten to 12th grade is crucial," said a supporter.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2022
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Educators gathered at Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters on Tuesday saying teachers should reflect the racial makeup of the community.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Who teaches your children? Los Angeles educators say that matters as much as what they learn in school.

Educators and parents gathered at the Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters on Tuesday saying teachers should reflect the racial makeup of the community.

"I found I saw my potential by seeing examples of teachers and administrators who looked like me," said Laura McGowan-Robinson with the Diversity and Leadership Institute. "We know that educators of color play a role, a vital role, in improving student achievement and school climate outcomes."

The group points to research that says Black students who had one Black teacher between kindergarten and the 3rd grade are 7% more likely to graduate from high school and 13% more likely to enroll in college.

At LAUSD, Black students have the second lowest graduation rate of any group at 80%, and the lowest rates for meeting requirements to go to a UC or CSU school at 53%.

Black teachers make up about 10% of teachers in LAUSD, which is slightly more than the population of its students. About 8% of students in LAUSD are Black.

"To be a role model and to have a role model in your schools from kindergarten to 12th grade is crucial," said Michael Lawson with the Los Angeles Urban League.

A resolution in front of the school board would recruit more Black educators and figure out ways to keep them working in the district.

Board member Tanya Ortiz-Franklin said there are currently 500 classroom vacancies, and said she plans to make sure the new superintendent is aware of this issue.

"Our new superintendent who starts in a couple of weeks has had a lot of success with your strategic planning this has to be embedded in the overall district plan," she said.

LAUSD is scheduled to vote on this resolution at its next meeting on Feb. 8.