Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer Looks to Eliminate Fake Classes in California High Schools

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sacramento, Calif., -- Assembly Bill 1012, authored by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr., has just gotten off the Assembly floor with a unanimous 79-0 vote.  This bill would prohibit any school district from assigning a pupil to a course period without educational content.  

The schools where this occurs are nearly exclusively in low-income communities of color.  Although this is not the norm across California, it is all too common in areas where students can least afford to lose learning time. This issue was been exemplified recently at Jefferson High School.  Students walked out in protest because their schedules contained the aforementioned “fake classes” as well as previously completed courses.

Tatyana Sims, a senior at Jefferson High School was quoted in the Los Angeles Times stating, "They have us in the auditorium every day, all day. We get different schedules every day. They need to stop. They need to give us the right classes.” The article also noted that her schedule was comprised entirely of classes she had already taken; and passed.

“Continual reforms to California’s education system have not fixed an underlying cause of education inequity, equal time for learning. It is time to ensure that all of our schools have the support they need to provide real classes to every student until they graduate,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer.

It was 61 years ago that the NAACP and Thurgood Marshall prevailed in striking down the notion that separate schools can be equal schools.   Supreme Court Chief Justice – California’s Earl Warren delivered the decision in unambiguous terms. “In the field of education, the doctrine of separate but equal has no place.” We should all be proud that California’s constitution enshrines the right of an equal education to every student. But the journey to equality is not yet completed.  It is a long road.  AB 1012 is another step on that journey.

Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. is a Democrat representing areas of Los Angeles, including the communities of Huntington Park, Walnut Park and Florence- Firestone.