The Problem

Though public-school funding has increased considerably since the passage of Proposition 30 and the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), California still struggles with achieving equitable results for Black, Brown, and poor students. Educational outcomes are low, and disparities by race/ethnicity, gender, language, and ability level persist. 

In recent years, suspension rates have dropped across the state; however, disparities between student subgroups persist, particularly for Black and foster youth students. Students who are caught in our current education-based discipline systems are often funneled to juvenile halls and camps or adult jails and prisons which greatly impedes their ability to attend college and can severely limit the career opportunities available to them. 

Our children, particularly our Black, Brown, and poor children, are being failed in the place they spend most of their day. The students who need the most support academically and social-emotionally are not receiving the resources they need to flourish and thrive. 

Our Vision

Every child is entitled to a high-quality public-school education and graduate with the life skills necessary to find success in college and their career. Students who are most negatively impacted by existing systems and policies should receive extra support and resources necessary for their success. 

California policymakers and administrators should enact funding, school climate, and accountability policies to ensure and protect the equitable treatment of all students.  

The Solution

Supporting our youth requires: 

  • Implementing policies and practices that ensure students who are not surpassing expectations receive academic tutoring, English language instruction, social-emotional support, and other necessary supports 
  • Enacting school discipline and safety policies that respond to the problem without criminalizing children or preventing them from receiving instructional time 
  • Increasing access to college and careers for current and former justice-involved youth 
  • Educating students necessary life skills that prepare them for college and their career options after graduation 
  • Adopting public accountability policies and practices that create stronger connections between families and their school sites and districts 
  • Funding local budgets that prioritize students’ holistic development 

What We Do

CDF-CA’s Education Equity team amplifies community voices through advocacy which builds intentional and sustainable movement toward equitable policies, budgets, and programming. Within our advocacy, we continue to acknowledge polarization within communities and strive to foster connection among stakeholders and relevant decision makers. 

The Education Equity team works at the local, county, and state levels to advocate for marginalized communities and the dismantlement of systems of harm that create disproportionate outcomes. Through our work, we advocate alongside community campaigns and leaders’. and call on decision-makers to prioritize the well-being of the communities they serve.  

Our goal is to create a network of advocacy tools and methods for grassroots campaigns to use and modify as needed. We want people to use these models to inspire radical change, exercise power in their communities, and visualize the effects of democracy as their common vision is implemented.  

Story Mapping

How to dismantle the school to jail track

Learn About the Story Mapping Process

Learn More

Watch the video

The Story Mapping project is the result of years of coalition work and community engagement. The project was created to confront the probation and mass criminalization/carceral system through amplifying young people’s direct experience. It challenges us to imagine what is possible if every person and their families are valued in school and how that challenges how we handle conflict as a community. 

Publications and Letters of Support