Civil Rights and the Future of California
from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM
In the last half century California has changed from a state that was overwhelmingly white to one in which a majority of students in the public schools is Latino. It simultaneously changed from a “golden” state of opportunity to one that has struggled to deliver on its promise to provide a high quality education for its youth. After the civil rights era ended with the l960s, California’s two Presidents, Nixon and Reagan, took the country in a much more conservative direction with respect to racial issues and social policy, and this tenor of the times was reflected in the passage of several anti-civil rights initiatives that fundamentally changed the opportunity structure—and perception-- of the state. Propositions limiting school desegregation, attempting to prohibit fair housing laws, forbidding affirmative action, nearly eliminating bilingual education and limiting government services for undocumented immigrants all passed. And, strikingly punitive increases in incarceration and conservative judicial appointments created a negative climate for civil rights and minority opportunity in the state.
In a new political era and with a surge in political participation by Latinos and Asians it is a good time to consider an agenda for restoration and expansion of civil rights. This talk will focus on the nature and impacts of a generation of civil rights reversals and suggest what the speakers consider priorities to recover lost terrain and create a more equitable and promising future for all Californians.
Patricia Gándara received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. For 9 years she was Associate Director of the Linguistic Minority Research Institute, she was Co-Director of PACE (Policy Analysis for California Education – a UC, Stanford, and now USC consortium) and she is currently Co-Director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA. Gándara has written or edited six books and more than 100 articles and reports on educational equity for racial and linguistic minority students, access to higher education, the education of Latino students, and language policy. Her two most recent books are The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policies and Forbidden Language: English Learners and Restrictive Language Policies.
Gary Orfield is Distinguished Professor of Education, Law, Political Science and Urban Planning at UCLA and co-founder and co-director of the Civil Rights Project, which has published more than 450 studies relating to issues of racial and ethnic equity and civil rights, which he co- founded at Harvard Univ. in 1996 and moved to UCLA in 2007. He is a member of the National Academy of Education. He has been author or editor of many books, articles and studies. Diversity Challenged was cited as one of the bases for the Supreme Court’s decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, upholding affirmative action. His most recent books include Resegregation of Suburban Schools: A Hidden Crisis in American Education (Harvard Education Press, 2012, with Erica Frankenberg) and a forthcoming 2013 book from the University of California Press on civil rights and educational choice programs.