Our Top Priority
The priority of the All Hands Raised Partnership established in 2011 remains—racial equity. From early childhood work to our focus on college and careers, we are committed to improving outdated systems that have perpetuated inequities for decades. Young people of color make up nearly half of all youth in Multnomah County, but their outcomes consistently lag behind their white counterparts along the entire cradle to career continuum.
One of the ways the Partnership ensures this priority is sustained across all of the work is by convening (in partnership with the Coalition of Communities of Color) a System Leadership Group. Comprised of partner superintendents and leaders of culturally specific/responsive non-profits, this group is solely focused on ensuring racial equity is prioritized in every area of the Partnership to ensure outcomes improve for our children of color. This body has played a key role in ensuring our community is making progress, including:
- School boards in each of our seven partner school districts passed equity policies to ensure that racial equity remains a top priority, even through changes in leadership.
- Since this community-wide and inspired partnership kicked off in 2011, high school graduation rates have risen by 12.3 percentage points with an acceleration of progress for students of color: a 17.4 point increase for Latino, a 16.6 point increase for American Indian/Alaskan Native and an 11.5 point increase for Black/African American students.
- Over one year’s time, two community school site teams (where All Hands Raised provides facilitation and technical assistance) experienced significant reductions in their discipline referrals: a 21.6 percentage point decrease in total referrals given to students of color at one partner elementary school and a 7.8 percentage decrease at one partner middle school.
We still have much work to do.
The evidence is clear in the data we collect: 4 in 10 Pacific Islander students are chronically absent from kindergarten; three-quarters of American Indian/Alaska Native students do not meet third grade reading standards; 81 percent of Black/African American students do not meet eighth grade math standards; and among Latino students who graduate from local high schools, 82 percent do not go on to complete a college degree or certificate.
We must stay focused on the voices and experiences of those who are most impacted by historical and current inequities and injustice. The fact remains, if we continue to fail kids of color, the social and economic consequences for our community are dire. This is unacceptable.
Being a part of this work means not only sharing this value, but standing up for it and taking action in our community.