Assembly Speaker Karen Bass' feet are so firmly planted on the wrong side of school reform that it makes me wonder what on earth could make the first black woman leader of the California Assembly turn a blind eye to the plight of minority children in public schools. The sad answer: Her Democratic caucus' loyalty to unions.
The state of public education could not be any more desperate for black children. I, too, am a black woman, and I sit on the California State University board of trustees with Karen Bass. We know that 81 percent of California's black seniors graduate high school ineligible to apply to a state college, and yet Karen Bass finds herself stuck leading a chorus of cynics deriding President Barack Obama's $4.3 billion Race to the Top education reform challenge.
MARGARET FORTUNE is a member of the California State University board of trustees and president of Fortune School of Education, a nonprofit charter school operator. She wrote this article for the Mercury News.