Report: In Long Beach, public school students ‘get paid good’ to promote Californians for Justice

by WorldTribune Staff, March 7, 2024

The Long Beach Unified School District is using taxpayer funds to pay an activist group in California which in turn has paid nearly 100 public high school students $1,400 each to learn how to fight for racial and social justice, The Free Press reported.

In a March 7 report, Francesca Block notes that The Free Press obtained contracts between Long Beach schools and Californians for Justice (CFJ) from 2019 to 2023 which show the school district used taxpayer funds “to pay the group nearly $2 million to facilitate equity and leadership development training for students and teachers. In addition to the student stipends, the contracts also allocated a total of $20,200 to 13 parents for participating in the group’s programs.”

The taxpayer money, Block wrote, “incentivizes students to participate in CFJ’s programs — which are led by CFJ staff, not the district.”

In a recent video posted to the CFJ’s Instagram account, one student, who was asked “Why Should Students Join CFJ?” responded: “You get paid good.”

CFJ’s website states its “leadership development” programs operate “with a focus on low income youth, youth of color, LGBTQ youth, foster youth, and immigrant youth.”

A spokesperson for Long Beach Unified School District said the district refers to these stipends as “internships,” which ensure “equitable participation in CFJ programs, embracing diverse perspectives in education.”

The report quoted on teacher, who asked not to be named out of fear being fired, as saying the CFJ forums have transformed into a space for students to simply air their grievances about school. The teacher recalled one student saying that “they would come to class on time if we built relationships with them.”

The teacher said: “They’re obviously reading scripts that have words that they don’t know how to say. The way that they are handing scripts to students, even the words coming out of the students’ mouths, it just feels like indoctrination and not information.”

The school district south of Los Angeles has paid at least 78 students a total of nearly $100,000 for participating in a club run by CFJ. The most recent contract runs until June 2024.

CFJ claims on its website to have “trained hundreds of youth of color in Long Beach to be community leaders and organizers.”

In Long Beach, the CFJ successfully advocated for implementing “restorative justice practices” across the district’s 84 schools, according to its website.

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