Proposition 54

    Proposition 54, the classification by race, ethnicity, color or national origin initiative, is a poorly worded amendment that will have profoundly negative impacts.

    The initiative aims to ban information gathering ³by race, ethnicity, color or national origin in the operation of public education, public contracting or public employment,² widens to include ³any other state operations,² and concludes that ³separating, sorting or organizing data by race, ethnicity, color or national origin² is data that should not be collected.

    But for operations other than public education, public contracting and public employment, allowing a two-thirds vote of each house to approve additional exemptions if ³compelling state interest² exists.

    This initiative is designed with the ability to null its actual importance, rendering it gutless and superficial. It will cost the state funds if House majorities pass additional exemptions because California will have to reprint forms to replace those without the capacity to collect information.

    While touted as a color-blind policy leading California to an equal world, Proposition 54 will instead ban vital statistics that the education, health and safety industries need. The initiative¹s exemptions are poorly worded; the law enforcement ³exemption² prohibits data to be collected on victims and suspects and the medical ³exemption² restricts the use of population data in medical research. California schools need such information to identify and close achievement gaps that exist between students of different ethnicities.

    Unfortunately, racial inequity does exist and Proposition 54 will not change that.

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