- Los Angeles Unified School District
Los Angeles Unified Board of Education Unanimously Approves Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin’s Resolution to Recruit and Support Black Educators (02-08-22)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Stephanie Salazar
Los Angeles Unified Board of Education Unanimously Approves Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin’s Resolution to Recruit and Support Black Educators
LOS ANGELES (February 8, 2022) — The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education unanimously passed Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin’s newest resolution, "Black Student Excellence through Educator Diversity, Preparation and Retention.”
The resolution calls on the District to diversify, prepare and retain its educator workforce, with a specific emphasis on Black leaders, administrators and teachers. It also directs the District’s Independent Analysis Unit to analyze gaps of important indicators, including hiring rates, tenure, teaching experience, promotion and perceptions of job satisfaction and support. The resolution then directs the incoming Superintendent to respond to this data by integrating efforts in his upcoming cohesive District-wide strategic plan.
“Our commitment to Black student achievement requires us to be intentional and specific about how we will recruit, promote and support Black educators, administrators and leaders in LA Unified,” Board Member Franklin said. “As a policymaker, I can’t just say Black Lives Matter, I have the responsibility to put words into action. Our Black colleagues—current and future—must be intentionally welcomed and supported, just as we aim to do with students through our Black Student Achievement Plan.”
“Students benefit when teachers look like them, are invested in the communities they serve and possess the cultural competencies found in our students and their families,” Board President and co-sponsor Kelly Gonez said. “As the District strategizes how to best meet the staffing needs of our schools, it is imperative that we lead those efforts with teacher diversity as one of our guiding principles.”
“Representation matters in our lessons and in our classrooms,” Board Vice President and co-sponsor Nick Melvoin said. “As we work to close opportunity gaps and support Black student achievement with systemic changes, these efforts must include a commitment to fostering talent, leadership and growth in our Black educators and administrators.”
“Through my half-century career as a teacher, principal and superintendent, I have witnessed the important difference that Black educators have made for Black students, and all students, at every level of Los Angeles Unified,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said.
"We believe equity and justice start with race and education," Board Member and co-sponsor Mónica García said. "We must prioritize academic achievement among our African American students, and the factors that lead to their success like diversity among classroom and school leaders that share their race, culture and life stories. I look forward to expanding this policy at Los Angeles Unified schools and beyond."
“As a career educator continuing to serve Los Angeles Unified students, I understand how important it is for our children, especially our often underserved Black children, to experience the rich diversity of our communities reflected in the hiring and retention of our school leaders, teachers and support staff,” Board Member and co-sponsor Scott M. Schmerelson said. “Representation from across all ethnic, racial and cultural lines instills pride, empathy and a sense of belonging in our students that will drive their academic success and prepare them for the global economy of the future.”
“When Black students have Black teachers, children do better in school—the research is clear,” Board Member and co-sponsor Jackie Goldberg said. “The path then is also clear: commit to the Black Student Achievement plan and implement state funding for adequate representation on campus to guarantee a great return on investment—increased graduation and college preparedness rates for students of color.”
“Uplifting our Black educators will help us cultivate an inclusive campus community where all students feel empowered to learn,” Student Board Member and co-sponsor Parishi Kanuga said.
“Students benefit from a diverse workforce,” Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly said. “Thanks to Ms. Ortiz Franklin’s resolution, Los Angeles Unified will continue to develop support for Black educator recruitment, retention and the overall awareness, as well as implement increased staffing support to address the academic and social-emotional needs of our Black students.”
Board Member Franklin praised the partnership and collaborative advocacy of the Diversity in Leadership Institute, which was instrumental in elevating best practices and approaches to creating a supportive pipeline to leadership for Black LA Unified educators.
“The board’s passage of the Black Student Excellence through Educator Diversity, Preparation, and Retention is another important step toward improving the outcomes for Black students in Los Angeles Unified,” Diversity in Leadership Institute CEO Dr. McGowan-Robinson said. “Representation matters. Research has proven that Black educators play a vital role in improving student achievement, college-going rates and school climate outcomes for not only Black students but all students regardless of race. This resolution gets us closer towards ensuring we have a pipeline of Black educators in Los Angeles Unified to support all students.”
In order to build awareness and gain clear expectations for the resolution, Board Member Franklin hosted a community conversation to hear directly from the community about the importance of growing, supporting and retaining Black educators in Los Angeles Unified, which was well-attended by families, educators, staff and community partners.
"Working with a community team to co-create a plan for Black students in partnership with Board Member Ortiz Franklin was a proud moment,” Board District 7 parent leader Everil Nelson said. “Not just for me and my grandson, but for our entire community. We were able to offer feedback based on our lived experiences which is an essential piece that had been missing.”
To read the full resolution, visit bit.ly/BlackEducatorReso2822.
Board Member Franklin is the newest member of the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education representing Board District 7, where she was previously a student, teacher, teacher-educator and advocate. She is committed to ensuring all students graduate fully prepared to thrive in the college, career and life of their choice. Los Angeles Unified Board District 7 includes the diverse communities of South Los Angeles, Watts, Gardena, Carson, Lomita, Harbor City, Wilmington and San Pedro.