For many years, low-income African American and Latino youth from South LA were systematically shut out from college before they even realized it. Schools failed to provide the basic courses they needed to enter a university or a decent career. Schools were offering more classes in cosmetology than algebra and geometry and that did little to prepare students for college or a living-wage career. They were being set up to fail.
Starting in 1999, Community Coalition youth and parents led a citywide campaign to make college preparatory classes mandatory for all youth in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Thousands of South and East LA youth like Jozik Benitez led a six-year effort to ensure that they got fair access to the courses needed to go to college and succeed. In 2005 they successfully pushed the LAUSD School Board to approve district-wide resolution making A-G classes (the basic courses needed to get into college) the mandatory curriculum for all schools.
Today, the fight for education justice continues and Community Coalition’s youth component, South Central Youth Empowered through Action, continues to lead the struggle to ensure that black and brown youth in South LA have fair access to the education they deserve. Over the years, Community Coalition youth and parents have won over $500 million for South LA to improve school infrastructure, reduce classroom sizes and improve the quality of education.
Read more about SCYEA’s current campaign by students and parents to ensure that their voices are heard during the reform process of one of the district’s lowest-performing schools, Fremont High School. Click here.
Check out this CoCo video recapping the A-G struggle and victory.