1. Tell us about yourself.

Name: Jasjit Singh

Political Affiliation: Democratic Party (currently an elected delegate for the California Democratic Party, representing Assembly District 7.)


As a community advocate, former high school teacher, lawyer for good, and the Director of Programs at California ChangeLawyers, Jasjit knows how a good public education can change the trajectory of someone’s life. Jasjit is committed to making Sacramento Unified School District a place where students, parents, community members, teachers, and school staff can work together to ensure our children receive the education they deserve.

As a child, Jasjit’s journey through the public education system led him to become a public-school teacher in the Central Valley. Jasjit experienced how a lack of support can deprive teachers of resources and the ability to help their students to the best of their abilities. As a teacher, Jasjit observed several inequities that teachers and students face through the educational and justice systems. Witnessing those inequities led Jasjit to enroll in law school. During law school, Jasjit volunteered and worked for multiple renowned civil rights and human rights organizations focused on the community, including Jakara Movement, Sikh Coalition, and Ensaaf.

As the Director of Programs at ChangeLawyers California, Jasjit steers the organization’s grants, scholarships, and policy work to empower students, lawyers, and organizations to uplift underrepresented communities while building a better justice system for us all. As the Board President of Jakara Movement, the largest youth organization of its kind in the United States, Jasjit empowers Sikh youth to feel designated by their culture and heritage rather than shying away from what makes them different. He led the organization during a time in which they developed a team that advocates for labor rights in the Central Valley for Spanish, Punjabi, and Hmong communities and a team to address the COVID-19 pandemic by providing vaccines and masks throughout California.

As your next Sacramento Unified School Board Trustee, he will ensure that every community is represented and heard. Jasjit started this journey at the Sacramento City Teacher Association Strike, where he listened to teachers, community members, classified staff, union members, students, and parents about their concerns. He spoke to teachers at schools with a high turnover rate due to a lack of resources and support from the Sacramento Unified School District Board and superintendent.

Jasjit lives in Sacramento with his wife, Jasmeen, a physician at UC Davis, and their dog, Baloo.

2. What makes you a qualified candidate for school board?

I am a former high school teacher, and the board president of the largest youth organization of its kind in the United States. I attended law school after teaching, with the hopes of becoming a lawyer for good- someone dedicated to creating lasting and impactful change for our communities. I am currently the Director of Programs at California ChangeLawyers- where I lead our grants, scholarships, and policy work- providing almost $2 million in yearly funding to underrepresented law school students, high need nonprofits focused on criminal justice reform, immigration, and the dismantling of the school to prison pipeline, and more. Policy wise, I am proud to have helped advocate for the lowering of the California Bar Exam cut score from 1440 to 1390, and recently co-authored an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States asking them to uphold diversity in our schools. Between the classroom, boardroom, and courtroom, I have almost 20 years of experience working with our young folks. I have the experience and the courage needed to create change in our school district.

3. Why are you running for the school board?

I joined parents, teachers, students, staff, and community members during the 8-day Sacramento City Teachers Association strike that ended in early April. As a former teacher myself, I was extremely disappointed to hear that the board was asking teachers to take a $10,000 pay cut, while voting in favor of giving the superintendent a raise (all while he received an almost 90% vote of no confidence from school staff.) I spoke to teachers who had left the district, parents who pulled their children out of the district, and I quickly learned that the community had lost much of its trust and confidence in the board.

I’m running because I know I can do better. I know that I would advocate to fund our record surplus to recruit and retain teachers, provide them with fair salaries, support their mental health needs, and further their professional development. I’m running because I know I would advocate to fill our schools with nurses, social workers, and psychologists. I’m running because I am unafraid to speak up and unafraid to vote in opposition- when doing so is the absolutely right thing to do. I’m running to save our school district.

4. What race and equity issues might you consider during your tenure?

There is no “one glove fits all” approach to education. Students come from various socio-economic backgrounds, with lived experiences, from historically neglected or underrepresented backgrounds- and all this requires some level of individualized support. Instead, with the board’s failure to fully commit to teacher salaries, mental health, and professional development- students with high needs suffer the most.

A recent report showed that Sacramento City Unified School District has a suspension rate of 13.5 percent for Black students, in comparison to the overall 3.5% suspension rate average in California. This means Sacramento City Unified has the third highest suspension rate for black students across almost 1,000 districts in the State. It is well established that suspensions and expulsions lead to direct interaction with the criminal system and exacerbates the path into the school to prison pipeline.

The district’s recent reports indicated an 82% overall graduation rate, and 42% A-G completion (required courses to be eligible for UC or CSU admission.) When broken down by race or even high schools, the data tells a stark story.

Black students had a graduation rate of 71% and only 28% were qualified under A-G completion. Latinx students had an 82% graduation rate and only a 31% A-G completion rate.

I will visit every racial and equity issue brought to my attention, to build a clear and concise plan to address gaps such as the ones listed here.

5. How are you planning to address the achievement gap in your district?

To address the achievement gap in the district, I will work to ensure all schools have adequate staff in classrooms and in the administrative offices. This includes advocating to have an adequate number of counselors and mental health professionals on campuses- proportionate to the population and its need.

Addressing the achievement gap issue in the district requires one to address the racial segregation in the district as well. While most of the district is composed of Latinx students, many of those students attend some of the lowest performing schools with some of the highest socio-economic issues.

I think it’s also imperative to revisit the Local Control and Accountability Plan, which address the local control funding formula. Understanding how the district is funded, and bring reform to how that funding is distributed could be a major way to close the achievement gap.

Tagging on to the Race + Equity question and the Achievement Gap, I’ll add that the district needs to listen to and believe Black voices. Anyone who has experienced harassment on campus should be taken seriously, and the district should have a true zero-tolerance party for harassment.

All district employees should be required to complete racial sensitivity training, with annual refresher courses. Other ways to improve conditions would be to update handbooks so they identify language and vocabulary that may offend others or be considered unacceptable. H.R. guidelines should specifically provide recourse for racial harassment, and explicitly state a zero-tolerance policy.

The district should also hire a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Officer full-time. Currently, the district has only hired a liaison.

6. Any additional information/platform

I am running to increase transparency, build a system of accountability, and commit to equitable spending. My goal is to build a school system that supports our teachers, listens to the concerns of our parents, and puts our kids first.

Updated endorsements list (non-exhaustive list.):

· Sacramento City Teachers Association
· SEIU 1021
· Sacramento Labor Council
· Women Democrats of Sacramento County
· Wellstone Progressive Democrats of Sacramento
· California Young Democrats (the official youth arm of the California Democratic Party)
· College Democrats at Sacramento State
· Town and County Democratic Club
· Queer Democrats of Sacramento
· Environmental Democrats of Sacramento
· Harry S. Truman Democratic Club
· JFK Democratic Club of Sacramento County

· Ash Kalra, CA Assemblymember
· Ro Khanna, US Congressman
· Amar Shergill, California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Chair

I’m the Director of Programs at California ChangeLawyers, and the Board President for Jakara Movement.

Here are also some prominent pieces of work I’ve worked on:

As a non-Black POC in America, I am indebted to the Black community

Press release for U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief I co-authored; Read the Amicus Brief

Lowering the CA Bar Exam Cut Score; Read the research paper (turned into a ChangeLawyers Medium article) that helped push for this reform.

Website: www.jasjit4sac.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jasjit4sac
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jasjit4sac
Instagram: www.instagram.com/jasjit4sac