CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Racial Justice Network (RJN) held their Education in Crisis Community Forum in Charleston Wednesday as they expressed their opinions on the current state of the Charleston County School District (CCSD).

Charleston community leaders are advocating for students in Charleston County’s education system.

“Ninety percent of Title I school parents live below the poverty line,” RJN CEO Elder James Johnson said, “so we have to do something about the education in Charleston County, and we will not stop until we do it.”

Johnson says CCSD retaining their Education Language Arts Curriculum, known as EL, will benefit all students.

“We support the EL plan,” he said. “That’s a proven plan that’s going to educate all kids, and that’s what we want.”

CCSD was recently sued by the South Carolina Freedom Caucus because they claim EL teaches critical race theory. However, several leaders at Wednesday’s meeting say EL is the best way to educate underserved communities.

“We want them to focus on Black education now because we are so far behind,” Johnson said. “So, that’s what we want to do; the school district to focus on the Black and Brown kids to bring their education level up.”

Organizers say Wednesday’s forum is meant to galvanize the community to help all children excel in the classroom, but they say they’re faced with many obstacles.

“Systemic racism is one of the roadblocks that we have. The assignment of teachers to certain schools, funding levels at certain schools; some schools get more funding than others. They have better facilities.”

CCSD Superintendent Don Kennedy says he attended the forum to connect with the community and make sure they know the important role the community plays in students’ futures.

“We have three major goals for the education of our kids: one on reading or literacy, one on advanced math or algebra I and one on college and career readiness. So, I want to make sure that the community understands what those goals are.”

RJN says they plan to hold similar community forums to the one Wednesday night, once a month.