January 18, 2021
At a time when Black children are suspended and expelled at higher rates than any other children on a national, state and local level, it is quite troubling to hear that San Diego Unified School District’s (SDUSD) Superintendent, Cindy Marten, has been named the US Department of Education’s Deputy Superintendent of Schools.
Dr. Marten in the past year has attempted to correct harm by having anti-Racist trainings that included changing policies on grading. While this is commendable, it does not erase the fact that SDUSD has a history of harming Black children.
A recent report released by researchers at San Diego States University (SDSU) Black Minds Project sheds light on historical disproportionate rates of suspensions and expulsions in SDUSD. For example, the report found that Black males in Kindergarten through Third grade (K-3) are suspended at a rate that is 280% higher than that of their peers. The report also found that, in comparison to the district’s average, black males were 3.1x more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension and 2.8x more likely to receive an in-school suspension. To help fix this issue, researchers offered to provide free on-going district-wide training on implicit bias and microaggressions in the district, an offer that was never responded to.
On a national level, according to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2018, Black children had the highest amount of disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates nationwide. Black boys, who otherwise are at the bottom of the achievement gap, lead the way in the percentage of suspensions and expulsions, more than any other subgroup. Black girls outpace every other sub-group except for Native American boys and tie with Bi-Racial boys.
Educators at all levels must have a track record of dismantling the harmful practices of Anti-Black Racism that occur in schools. Cindy Marten has a historical pattern of allowing the excessive suspension and expulsion of Black students in San Diego. President-Elect Biden, with all of the qualified educators we have in our nation, this is not a good choice for healing Black students, families and educators, nor is it a step in the right direction for repairing harm in our schools.
According to NAACP’s Education Chair, Katrina Hasan Hamilton, “Black children experience Racial Trauma and racial battle fatigue as early as preschool from districts like SDUSD who are suspended and expelled are part of a systemic problem.”
Katrina Hasan Hamilton, Education Chair
NAACP San Diego Branch
PO Box 152086
San Diego CA 92195
(619) 431-1633 Phone/Text
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