The California State University held its virtual launch Tuesday morning for the CSU Center to Close Opportunity Gaps that intends to eliminate equity gaps found in education. Currently in development, the program was chosen to be hosted at Long Beach State’s campus.
In a joint endeavor, CSULB will work in collaboration with San Diego State University, California State University, Fullerton and San Jose State University in an effort to eliminate the equity gaps found in K-12 education caused by race, ethnicity, income and English learner and disability statuses.
The largest and most diverse four-year public education system in the nation, the CSU chose CSULB as the host for the program after undergoing a competitive process in its establishment of the center as well as a committee review. One of the factors that played into the selection of Long Beach State as the center’s host was its high graduation rates against all other CSU campuses, according to an EdSource article.
Originally set to launch next spring, the center is now open and will run under the supervision and leadership of Dean Shireen Pavri in the College of Education.
Long Beach assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, the chair of the assembly in education, proposed and led the development for the center, which received a one-time state allotment of $3 million.
“I think I’ll talk a little bit about why this is important for me, but more importantly, why It’s important for the future of our kids, the future of our state and ultimately the economy,” O’Donnell said.
According to the CSU website, the goal of the center is to provide children in California an equitable K-12 education and will offer educators and educational agencies resources, professional educator education and a developing statewide network to communicate methods to work toward establishing an even playing field for all students.
“The center is an acknowledgement of our shared responsibility to ensure that the American dream remains alive and healthy for all children in California,” said Joseph Johnson, dean of the College of Education at SDSU. “I’m talking about the simple American dream that suggests that every child in this state will have access to a quality education that ensures them the capacity to keep learning and keep growing in this complex ever changing technological environment.”
Johnson said he felt that the American dream was in “peril” and that centers like the one being established on CSULB’s campus will help rectify the opportunities lost by children who face difficulty in education stemming from race, ethnicity, income or other equity gaps.
“There is so much work to be done, so much more to learn,” Johnson said.