2UrbanGirls is back after a much needed vacation. We continue to receive community feedback about the Compton Unified School District (CUSD). Tomorrow we will publish a submission, from a CUSD teacher close to negotiation proceedings, which was sent to us back in April. Today’s letter comes from a former Compton City Council candidate.
The negativity that has been festering lately in the city of Compton has not provided any progression for our community. We are in the beginning of September and not much has changed. It is not only frustrating but disappointing to see our local community “activists” and elected officials participate in political mud-slinging, inaccurate reporting of events and blatant posting of negative propaganda that shows a bias on one side of the spectrum instead of addressing issues from the center of it. However, as oppose to working on diplomacy and organizing around how to tackle the persistent issues in our city together, we work in silos that have not produced results. As a matter of fact, this is one of the main reasons among many I ran for Compton City Council, because we need more diplomacy and continuity not only on the dais but in the culture throughout City Hall. If we care about our community and do not want history to repeat itself for the next 20 years in our city and its progress, we have to change our ways together.
I have observed that lately there has been a lot of attention placed on our Compton Unified School District, which is good because I have a deep passion for advancing the future generation of Compton too. However, it appears that people are viewing things from one small lens instead of stepping back and looking at the entire picture. I reflect on how inspired I am by the brilliant, gifted and resilient young scholars we have throughout our 36 schools within the school district. The children are what give me great hope and optimism not only for the city of Compton but for our society as a whole. The recent negative attention the school district has received appears to have been dropped off at the Compton Blue Line station with a highly politicized agenda and the timing is just rather too convenient.
By the way, CUSD has a student population of 91% that are socioeconomically disadvantaged, 33% are English Learners and 1.5% are foster youth. The intersectionality of our kids can go beyond our understanding. The administrators, teachers and staff employees have their hands full with not only the responsibility of educating our young scholars and operating a positive environment to learn in but they have to handle the plight of students who attend a CUSD school. Comparing these demographics with perspective to the environment our students come from and the California Department of Education (CDE) District Performance Overview, our district isn’t sinking contrary to what some may believe. I must emphasize this is based on the performance review a major funder of the CUSD is providing. I am sure that if we were in extremely poor condition as a district, we would be in deep trouble for not complying and meeting the basic standards of the CDE.
Don’t get me wrong, CUSD still has work to do. CUSD must continue to address closing the achievement gap in the district among other things to address as well. We have to organize and be diplomatic in practice— as the community at large, parents, teachers, administrators, employees and school board members. We all have a vested interest in our children’s education and it is only counter-productive to point fingers at one another instead of coming together on the principal of ensuring our Compton students graduate and are successful. That is all that matters.
It begins with understanding our demographics in CUSD though in my opinion. There is a significant foster youth and homeless population of students that CUSD has to continue to address and invest in that many other districts don’t have to at the level Compton does. Our children’s livelihood matters the most to me because if they don’t have a roof over their head, how can we expect them to be ready to learn every day in
the classroom? We cannot. This most importantly directs itself back to the bigger systematic issue not only plaguing the city of Compton but the entire Black and Brown community and that is the School-to-Prison pipeline. I consider it a personal duty to take our children out of this pipeline and this is something CUSD has to combat with as well. Nothing will be solved if we continue to politicized our children in the school district for personal agendas and not actually address the real issues at hand and critique the system not just the individuals. It begins with us as adults to not only be the role models for our kids in the district but the role models for the world on how a socio-economically disadvantaged community can be the rose that grew from concrete.
Let’s get to work Compton!
Justin Blakely, (Frm.) Compton City Council Candidate Community Activist