Assessed by Black Communities
Despite numerous efforts over the last thirty years, the Berkeley school system continues to have one of the largest opportunity gaps between African American students and their white peers in the country.
The last half century has shown, that the life chances of marginalized youth are improved when change efforts center the voices and leadership of the youth themselves, and their parents, guardians and community leaders. The Berkeley Unified School District and the City of Berkeley have failed to implement the one strategy that has been shown to work: to center and empower the marginalized to lead the change.
Therefore, we are starting a new project from the ground up: ABC: Assessed by Black Communities.
Students Grading Schools
In this ABC project, Black students, parents and community leaders will come together to assess and grade individual schools in the Berkeley Unified School district. The schools will receive grades based on the ways in which they serve or don’t serve African American students. The grades will be the basis for report cards on the quality of the educational system from the point of view of the African American students, parents, and communities. We will make these report cards public so that the wider community can support these efforts.
The lead agency involved in this effort are The Family Spirit Center, working together with the Center for Food, Faith, and Justice, the Black Ecumenical Minister’s Alliance, and African American Studies Department at Berkeley High. We are supported by the University of California’s Institute of Othering and Belonging.
From The Ground Up
ABC is designed to turn the tables so that Black students, parents, and community leaders can be at the center of discussions and strategies to create change in Berkeley schools. We will organize and lead the effort Black parents and youth will assess and grade BUSD schools. School Report Cards will be used to direct and measure change in the BUSD.
The ABC project will organize Black youth and parents to identify their educational priorities for Black BUSD students. With these priorities in place, these students, parents, will collect assessments from fellow African American students and parents and later compile these data and calculate grades for each school.
Become Part Of This Project
Right now, we are raising funds to hire two youth and parent organizers. These organizers will gather and support the students and parents as they establish their priorities. Next these organizers will support the efforts to gather the assessment by as many African American students and parents as possible. Finally, these organizers will support the students and parents as they compile the report cards. We are also raising funds to pay stipends to the students and parents who are part of this project from the beginning to support and sustain their leadership.