On Wednesday, June 26 three CFT members testified at the State Capitol at the first ever hearing of the California Assembly Select Committee on Ending the School to Prison Pipeline. The committee, chaired by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, held the hearing at the urging of the CFT Racial Equity Task Force, which released a ground-breaking report in 2017 to reclaim the promise of racial equity for black males in California.

“Addressing the current dearth of black male educators must be a critical aspect of any plan to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and its deadly, disparate impacts on black students and other students of color,” said CFT President Jeff Freitas during his testimony at the hearing. “We look forward to working closely with Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer during the coming year to identify, fund, and help create programs that significantly increase the number of black males who enter our schools either as educators or as classified personnel.”

“Research on leveraging teacher effectiveness, recruitment, and retention to help end the school-to-prison pipeline tells California that we need to hire more African American male teachers,” added Angelo Williams, a member of Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, who is pictured above testifying before the committee. “I’m proud to be part of a union that knows that, and, with our participation in this Select Committee hearing, is working to make equity and diversity a reality.”

The CFT Racial Justice Task Force is working with Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer to hold a similar hearing in Southern California this fall, and to develop specific legislation based on the four strategic priorities addressed in the CFT report.

The June 26 Select Committee hearing is available to view here.