Exploring San DiegoCommunityStories for Change


California education leaders aim to improve Black student achievement

Posted at 3:48 PM, Nov 17, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The National Center for Urban School Transformation at San Diego State University is where Dr. Joseph Johnson has been studying what sets certain schools apart.

"Schools where they experience a multitude of challenges but they still get great results for black students," said Johnson.

His expertise earned him a spot on a brand new task force, launched by the California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, with the goal of improving black student achievement.

"There is a widespread acknowledgement that there are huge differences in educational attainment based on race and ethnicity," said Johnson.

Johnson and others had their first meeting last week. The task force identified five main issues:

  • The school-to-prison pipeline
  • Teacher diversity
  • Academic achievement
  • Mental health
  • And housing insecurity

Johnson says his research has given him insight into what should be happening in schools.

"The curriculum has to be just as rigorous as what you would expect in any other school," he said.

The other main things successful schools have in common are the fact that they make every student feel valued and respected and they figure out how to tailor lessons to the kids they're teaching.