In 2004, California sent a smaller percentage of its high-school students to four-year colleges than any state other than Mississippi. At the ACLU/SC's urging, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced a $100-million plan to expand college-prep classes and toughen career-technical education for the state's students.

The request came in the May budget revision and follows months of discussions among the governor's staff, legislators and ACLU representatives that led to the announced proposal.

Close to 1 million students each year do not qualify for admission to college or other career paths because they lack access to required courses taught by qualified teachers. Nearly two-thirds of these students are Latino and African American.

The governor's proposal will increase the number of college preparatory and career-technical courses, hire qualified teachers, and improve reporting and accountability measures.

State law mandates equal opportunity for the state's students regardless of race or income, and the ACLU/SC supports that fundamental right through our litigation and public education. The 2004 settlement of the Williams v. California lawsuit provided $1 billion to address school conditions that hamper learning, raise the level of teaching, and provide textbooks at low-performing high schools. Click here to learn more about the Williams v. California settlement.

"We agreed with the Governor that Williams was only a first step for California's students," said Catherine Lhamon, ACLU/SC Racial Justice Director. "Bridging the college and career gap by funding rigorous courses for kids who want them is critical for California's future."