Student Associations Host Education Panel

SPPD Student Associations Host Panel Addressing Educational Achievement Gap

Association of Black Students in Policy, Planning & Development On Oct. 21, the Association of Black Students in Policy, Planning & Development partnered with the Latino Association for Policy, Planning and Development to host “The Achievement Gap: Challenges and Opportunities,” a panel discussion to create awareness about the educational achievement gap, as well as call students to take action to make change.

The event took place at the USC Ronald Campus Tutor Center, where Associate Dean of Student Affairs Carol Rush gave opening remarks and welcomed all in attendance. The venue was filled to capacity with SPPD students, faculty and staff, as well as students from other programs and members of the community.

The panel was moderated by SPPD Associate Professor Gary D. Painter, and featured a diverse group of speakers who represented various stakeholders in education, including: Latino Association for Policy, Planning and Development

  • Mr. F. Douglas Brown, English Teacher at Loyola High School of Los Angeles
  • Mr. Miguel Campa, Principal 75th Street Elementary School
  • Dr. John Deasy, Deputy Superintendent, LAUSD
  • Ms. Shirley Ford, Community Organizer Parent Revolution
  • Ms. Monica Garcia, President LAUSD Board
  • Mr. Jose Navarro, 2009 CA Teacher of the Year
  • Ms. Rebecca Solomon, UTLA Chapter Chair
  • Ms. Corri Tate Ravare, President ICEF Public Schools

Painter led the panel in an intriguing discussion about the ways in which the education system is failing minority and low-income students, and what their organizations are doing to close the gap. He asked tough questions to get at the heart of why, despite the fact that overall student performance has increased, a gap persists between the academic achievement of black and Latino students (with 2009 Academic Performance Index scores of 641 and 670, respectively), compared to white students, whose 2009 API subgroup score was 831.

Painter also engaged the panelists in discussion about the role of socioeconomic status in education. Although their perspectives on these topics varied, each of the panelists agreed that the status quo is not adequately meeting the needs of all students – especially the most vulnerable students – and that change needs to take place now in order to improve outcomes.

Some recent education related policies discussed by the panelists are the “Parent Trigger,” “Public School Choice,” and in district reform efforts launched in the form of “Pilot Programs.” These policies reflect the efforts being made to improve education for all youth.

Education Pioneers Los Angeles Managing Director Brandon Malmberg’s closing remarks offered words of hope that change is possible, and pushed students to get involved in education reform by connecting with organizations that are working to make a difference.