According to the study Measuring What Matters by the Pacific Institute, there are only enough recreational, artistic, or educational programs for 22 percent of youth aged 15 to 20 in West Contra Costa County.
According to California Standards Test Scores, 72 percent of 11th grade students attending West Contra Costa Unified School District are not proficient in U.S. History; 73 percent are not proficient in English; 76 percent are not proficient in Biology; 78 percent are not proficient in World History; and 99 percent are not proficient in Algebra I.
No wonder our youth are struggling. Whether they have parental support they are not receiving the public services they need to become productive citizens.
The third point of my Five Point Plan for a Better West County is to engage youth. The point addresses the above problems by:
Opening childcare centers for low-income children. Loving parents and guardians leave their young children home alone or sitting in cars everyday because they cannot afford childcare. I would like to help these parents and guardians provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children by exercising the power of the Board of Supervisors to open childcare centers at cost.
Creating the Contra Costa County Department of Recreation. The recreation department will offer local youth a variety of constructive activities, including organized sports, art classes, summer camp, and more. The San Francisco Recreation Department is an example of a county wide recreation department.
Partnering with low-income and underperforming public schools. The purpose of these partnerships is to provide students attending low-income and underperforming public schools with academic enrichment programs designed to make them more successful in the classroom and therefore life. Although the Board of Supervisors has the power to create educational programs, input from youth, parents, and local educators is needed for proper program design and implementation.
Creating a permanent summer job program. Last summer, the county used stimulus funds to put local youth to work. The program should continue. Summer job programs teach youth the value of honest work, which will serve them well in life. The City of Richmond has a permanent program the county can model.
Although I am confident these changes will give our children a brighter future by building their self-esteem, improving their social skills, helping them become better students, and ultimately good workers, I welcome your suggestions. Part of my job is to listen.