Congressman Augustus F. Hawkins
8563 South Broadway, Suite 206
Los Angeles, California 90003


JULY 30, 1971

The time has come when our schools have got to show tangible results if they want the continued support of black and brown parents.

The recent reading test scores for the Los Angeles City School District were as bad if not worse than the reading scores of previous years. Despite new test measuring devices, new techniques for teaching reading, and more staff and money, this failure continues. The Los Angeles School District's failure to teach black and brown children to read is dismaying.

Simultaneously the District is appealing for new and greater tax dollars. However, taxpayers irrespective of ethnic origin also want tangible results rather than more reasons why minority students can't read.

Three years ago the Congressional Sub-Committee on Education held hearings on education in Los Angeles and at that time assurance was received that new techniques for teaching reading were being implemented and that the reading scores in minority schools would later show a significant growth. We were told

that the youth enrolled in the reading program would, after three years of exposure to the new techniques, be able to read much better than his predecessor. This was accompanied with the historical appeal for more tax dollars.

The latest reading test scores point up the fact that the Los Angeles City School District has again failed in its effort to educate our children. Having been a long-standing supporter of more tax dollars for public education, especially for the schools within my district, I am embarrassed by the latest reading scores. It is exceedingly difficult to keep fighting for more money when our schools are not meeting the basic educational needs of our children.

Two years ago as a result of my disappointment, due to the Los Angeles City School District's failure to educate black youth, I encouraged the formation of the Black Education Commission. Many community organizations, including the Education Committee of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, supported the formation of the Black Education Commission. We were hopeful that it would increase the effectiveness of School District's educational programs by providing for increased avenues of communication between the schools and the communities whose children present an unmet challenge to the District.

Although the Los Angeles City School District reluctantly accepted the Black Education Commission, it consistently ignored it in making decisions of utmost importance to the black community. The full value of this Commission can be realized

only if there exists respect for each other and a sincere belief in the need for better communication between School District and black community.

The California State Legislature is currently considering legislation which mandates community participation and community involvement on a grassroots level. (This subject to be continued next week).