Schwarzenegger Gets ‘F’ on Legislative Report Card, Fails to Invest in Racial Justice

On November 6, 2013 Applied Research Center (ARC) was rebranded as Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation. The content on this page was published on the ARC website prior to the rebrand.
For Immediate Release                          
January 16, 2007

Contact: Jarad Sanchez  Telephone: 213-623-4627

Schwarzenegger Gets ‘F' on Legislative Report Card, Fails to Invest in Racial Justice
New Report Shows California Governor and Legislature Neglect Communities of Color

Download the pdf of Facing Race: California Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity 2007 here.
Streaming audio of the press conference is available here.

Oakland, CA—A new research report from the Applied Research Center (ARC) documents the failure of California lawmakers to invest in policies that benefit all Californians. Facing Race: California Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity 2007 evaluates the Governor and Legislature on their support for proactive legislation to close long-standing disparities in health, education, income and other key indicators. With the legislature scoring a "D" and Governor Schwarzenegger an "F," the report reveals an increasingly urgent state of racial inequity that prevents progress in the nation's most diverse state.

"The unwillingness to pursue racial equity has real and lasting effects on Californians," says Jarad Sanchez, policy analyst at the Applied Research Center and the report's author. "The Governor claims that government has to be daring when the need is great.  But the boldest legislation that could have decreased growing racial inequalities were gutted, held in committee or vetoed by the Governor himself."

Facing Race: California Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity 2007 poses the critical questions of the nation's racial divide, assessing California's leadership in a changing California. The annual report, now in its 4th year, offers a county by county mapping of demographic shifts and an analysis of the racial divide in California healthcare, schools and jobs.

"The Governor's obfuscating maneuvers have hurt all students, but especially students of color, immigrants, and low-income students-those currently being harmed most by our sorely deficient schools," says Olivia E. Araiza of Justice Matters Institute. "It is time for these communities, courageous policy makers, and concerned Californians to step forward and push through the bold changes that our students need."

Report Highlights

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger received an F (59 percent) for racial equity legislation. Although the governor improved his score by 4 percentage points from 2006, he was one point short of a D based on the new grading system. The governor received high marks for signing all health equity bills and four of five civil rights bills passed by the state legislature. The Governor received a failing grade because he signed only 59 percent of the racial equity legislation that reached his desk.

Both the Assembly and the Senate received a D for support of racial equity legislation-receiving scores of 66 percent and 64 percent respectively. Both houses received lower scores than in 2006. Thirteen of the 22 racial equity bills graded in this report originated in the Assembly. More senators received an F than an A.

Missed Opportunities

Increasing College Access: Governor Schwarzenegger has highlighted education reform as one of his highest priorities, but this is contrary to the veto of the California Dream Act (SB 1), which would have allowed college access and affordability to California's undocumented immigrant students this past session.

Fair Housing for All: With the nation struggling to find answers to economic woes due to subprime lending, the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act (AB 512) was stalled preventing California's homebuyers from having contracts in their native languages of growing Latino and Asian communities..

"While racial disparities are pervasive in California, they need not be permanent.  For this state and others around the country, the time has come to begin dealing straightforwardly with its racial realities," says Tammy Johnson, policy director at the Applied Research Center, which also released reports on racial equity in Minnesota and Illinois.

FACING RACE: California Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity 2007 is the follow-up to the Applied Research Center's California Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity 2005 and California's New Majority 2004 Legislative Report Card on Race.

El comunicado de presa en español aquí .

Speaker's Bureau contacts:

Gabriel Medel - Parents for Unity -323-734-9353
Maria Brenes - Inner City Struggle -  323-780-7605
Elizabeth Sholes - California Council of Churches - 916-502-1106
Liz Guillen - Public Advocates - 916-442-3385

The Applied Research Center (ARC) is a public policy institute advancing racial justice through research, advocacy and journalism.