This past weekend, two GSA Network youth leaders and two of our staff attended the annual Statewide Gathering for the Campaign for Quality Education to strategize about our goals for education justice in California in the coming year. GSA Network has been a proud member of the Campaign for Quality Education (CQE) for the past two years. The weekend gathering re-energized us in our work for education justice for LGBTQ youth and communities of color and low-income communities across California.
CQE is a statewide alliance of grassroots, civil rights, policy and research organizations committed to educational equity for all communities served by California’s public schools. The CQE leads strategic campaigns that integrate our strengths in community organizing, research, legal and policy advocacy to achieve equitable and just education policies. The CQE engages communities of color and low-income communities to actively develop state and local education policy agendas, inspire a public consciousness that genuinely values education, and advance the movement for racial, social and economic justice.
The issues that we will be addressing during the coming year include:
• Adequate & Equitable School Funding
• College and Career Readiness Curriculum including A-G options for classes for all students
• Comprehensive Reform on Teacher Evaluation
• Teacher Effectiveness, and Community College pathways that lead students to CSU and UC opportunities.
Benji Delgadillo, a GSA youth leader from San Juan Hills High School, said that, “attending the CQE Gathering was an inspirational and educational experience. I was able to connect the work of other organizations focusing on education reform to the work that GSA Network does, as well as network with other social justice activists.”
One of the highlights of the weekend came from watching this video about the lawsuit filed by the Campaign for Quality Education against the state of California to enforce the fundamental right to education owed to every child under our state constitution, and to require California to adequately and equitably fund its public schools. Learn more at http://www.fairschoolsnow.org/
Violet Guardado, a GSA youth leader from Maywood High School, said, “education in California is not adequate and does not meet the needs of low income students of color. It was empowering to mobilize alongside other organizations that are truly passionate about the improvement of education in California. I enjoyed sharing a space with fellow organizers, creating organizing strategies, and building connections along the way. Above all, it was great to see other youth from across the state engaged within this process. The movement is alive and community organizers like the ones at CQE are actively fighting to bring forth effective change. We're all in this together and I'm eager to continue the efforts. It's time we take back education and serve our youth.”
We also learned about the National Campaign for Quality Education and their goals to change federal policy to make education more fair and equitable for all students. Their policy goals include:
• The DREAM Act and Comprehensive Immigration Reform
• College and Career Prep for All Students,
• End Tracking of Students
• End the School-to-Prison Pipeline
GSA Network presented our work on LGBTQ youth anti-bullying efforts and we talked about our shared goals for finding alternatives to punitive discipline and support for restorative justice when dealing with issues of bullying and violence at school, especially given the epidemic of bullying against LGBTQ youth in schools.
GSA Network is looking forward to continuing our work with CQE this coming year and working for our shared goals of safe and inclusive schools for LGBT students and ensuring that all students have access to adequate and fair education.
For more information on GSA Network and our work with the Campaign for Quality Education please contact t. aaron hans, Advocacy Program Manager for GSA Network.