The Real Talk Coalition for Educational Equity (Real Talk) began in 2015 and works to advance education equity policy that support delivering high quality education outcomes in every school, while holding all decision-makers accountable, especially to children of color who have been systematically deprived of necessary resources.

At the core of the coalition is a steering committee of eight statewide organization representatives who have guided early community outreach efforts and advocacy strategy meetings. The Coalition, in its initial work, organized community conversations and town halls to better understand the education landscape and related equity issues around the state. As part of our work, we engaged across the state, both at the local and district level, to better understand issues and to raise their collective profile. In this capacity we made inroads in organizing stakeholders to engage policy-makers concerning inequities, began to build our equity platform for delivering public education.

This investment will contribute to the goal of having a broad a diverse bench of advocates that can champion our shared agenda in Florida. Florida’s population is steadily growing and diversifying. Florida is also getting closer to being a majority-minority population state, with a significant number of K12 students who are Black, Latino and low-income. And while Florida’s overall rate of educational attainment has increased since 2008, its high school completion rates, college enrollment rates, and degree Completion rates rank it among the lowest-performing states in the nation. Latino and Black degree attainment rates significantly lag those of others in Florida, beginning in K-12. Closing these gaps is necessary if state is to achieve its attainment goals and have the qualified workforce it needs to sustain growth in years to come.

The proposed work of the Coalition will help address our shared goal of addressing existing achievement gaps in the state. To ensure that future progress is more equitable, educators and policymakers will need to even better understand the gaps, especially for Black and Latino students