Crimson Chronicle Reporter
Historically Black and Latino students have greatly underperformed at near parallel rates to that of white students and to address this issue, LAUSD implemented the Black Student Achievement Program. Yet, this program, especially at Hollywood, unfairly distributes resources from one disenfranchised group to another.
The decision to develop and implement the program came after the summer of 2020s Black Lives Matter movement. Simultaneously, a worldwide pandemic caused by COVID-19 impacted student achievement.
According to EdSource, a website that covers education issues in California, as a result of the pandemic, “the gap between white and Latino students is 12% and the gap between white and Black students is 17%.” This is a margin that leads to the disposition that both groups require academic and economic support, but the program limits it to that of black students.
“BSAP is intended for Black students,” said Dr. Gina Williams, BSAP coordinator, when asked whether Latinos had access to the program.
As a Title I school, which are those primarily composed of low-income students, HHS’s budget is $1,059,736, based on the 2021-2022 HHS spending report. On the other hand, BSAP’s budget is $833,617, meaning a program designated to serve approximately 12 percent of the school’s population has an almost equal budget to the school’s general funding.
Herein lies the issue: Black students should receive this funding because they are indeed underperforming and have historically faced discrimination, but so have Latinos. While Black students are made aware of resources available to them through BSAP, as well as given additional support, Latinos who often come from undocumented families are unaware about the in and outs of the education system.
This is not a matter of prioritizing one group over another, and LAUSD should have very well taken steps towards helping the Latino community alongside the Black community as to ensure equal growth in achievement. Yet, many Latino students that I have talked to disagree with my claims that we too need the support, as they find that black students require it more than us.
This is not about defunding BSAP, their cause is definitely something worth fighting for, but Latinos too should be given this opportunity. Even if we feel that our time to shine is not yet with our post-BLM climate, we too deserve to be acknowledged and treated as people. You can’t look a child in the eye and tell them to wait, that someday they too will have the opportunity of an equal footing. They aren’t products, they are our future.