Parents will be part of the process to make decisions affecting the education of their children. Schools will partner with the community to provide an excellent and equitable education for every child, offering the support that our children need to be successful. Our community will support the growth of Social Emotional Learning and Restorative Justice in our schools and end the school to prison pipeline.
The Current Reality
After a few years of preparing the groundwork, we have arrived at an important moment in shaping education for our children in Sacramento. The implementation of Proposition 30 in 2012 led to the development of the Local Control Funding Formula which allocates extra funding for children who are low-income, in the foster care system or English Language Learners. It is now time to make sure that this funding is actually allocated to meet the true needs of our children and that parents and youth have a voice in these decisions.
While Sacramento City Unified School District has policies supporting Social Emotional Learning and Restorative Justice, boys of color still face suspension at three times the rate of white boys. We must take action and build power at the school board and school site level in order to build a movement of parents who are engaged in advocating for their children’s education. The leadership of this movement belongs in the hands of parents and students.
A crisis of mental health is affecting children from all backgrounds in Sacramento. The system is complicated and hard to navigate, and services are scarce. Schools should be a place to connect students in need of mental health support with needed services and care.
Creating Change in 2016
Building on our work in 2015, ACT is working in the Sacramento City Unified School District to identify dedicated funding for social emotional learning and mental health social workers in schools. We are pushing to get new administrative regulations regarding discipline implemented at each site. In addition, we will be active in raising issues of concern to the community in the 2016 school board elections.
In partnership with Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP), ACT is working with the parents of English Language Learners to identify and address their needs. Initially, we are working to increase the number of bilingual counselors in schools.
In partnership with Way Up, ACT is working in seven schools in the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento to create a strong team of parent and youth leaders that can ground and mobilize a network of parents and youth to engage with their schools, promote community pride in their schools, and advocate for the resources schools need to be successful. Schools are critical institutions in neighborhoods. By mounting a concerted effort at seven schools in the Oak Park neighborhood, the foundation is laid for change in the whole community.
We will collaborate with the faith community to deepen the understanding of and commitment to Restorative Justice, bringing it to the heart of the congregation. Through this work, parish, church and synagogue leaders will continue to think about the needs of the whole child and become supporters of the social safety net.