SACRAMENTO – California Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas’ Assembly Bill 23, which authorizes and protects single gender institutions and educational programs, was recently signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
“Today we have given our students and families additional opportunities to prepare for the careers of tomorrow,” said Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas. “I am pleased to know that the Governor acknowledges the critical value of single gender education environments in public schools.”
Assemblymember Ridley-Thomas’ highest policy priority is promoting expanded opportunity for families and children. This bill gives parents access to a specifically tailored curriculum, like the Mid-City’s Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA), Southeast Los Angeles’ Boys Academic Leadership Academy (BALA), and Koreatown’s Young Oak Kim Academywhich all focus on eliminating disparity in STEM fields.
The bipartisan legislation (which sanctions single gender instructional settings for six years, with up to 1,000 pupils per site, and requires substantial reporting on student performance) enjoyed broad support by legislators during the policy development process and takes effect immediately to allow these schools to continue seamless operations. Assemblymember Ridley-Thomas, partnered with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and State Senator Holly Mitchell to ensure passage of Assembly Bill 23.
“We applaud the Governor for signaling his support of the District’s pursuit of innovation, creativity and specialization within traditional public schools,” said LAUSD Board Member George McKenna. “Our ability to develop unique programs that meet the needs of our students exemplifies the spirit of ingenuity that we aim to impart to the children we serve.”
“We are extremely grateful to the Governor for recognizing that education does not always fit neatly into a box,” said Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Michelle King. “As educators, our role is to do everything we can to support our students and ensure their success. Sometimes that means changing the box. For these students, and their families, single gender schools provide an opportunity where they can share their voice and build confidence so they can fulfill their dreams and goals.”
“GALA, which is in my 30th Senate District, is already proving to be an impactful leadership-development option for students districtwide,” said Senator Holly J. Mitchell, who has been an active supporter of GALA since its inception. “As the chair of the Select Committee on Women and Inequality, I’ve heard countless testimonies and read numerous reports as to the negative effects of implicit bias against women, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics related fields. Women and women of color aren’t targeted, steered, or directed to technical internships, jobs, or opportunities.
Research shows that single gender schools create an environment that encourages a culture of academic achievement — where it’s cool to be smart — and equips students with self-confidence and leadership skills.