An ABC Vision for Los Angeles Public Education
The Alliance for a Better Community (ABC) is firm in its belief that education is the cornerstone and the foundation for a better future for all Angelenos. We aim to ensure all students have access to quality schools from PreK-12th grade to prepare them for college and careers, and thus for full participation in the civic, economic and cultural life of our community. This has been a central component of our mission since our inception over 15 years ago, and underscores every aspect of our daily work. Click here for the full report.
IN EACH OF THESE FOCUS AREAS, ABC WORKS TO IDENTIFY EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES THAT ENSURE:
Fiscal Equity & Accountability
Access to High Quality Schools
College & Career Readiness
ABC Policy Objectives
- Implement a student-centered deficit reduction plan to address the District’s $11+ billion structural deficit, thereby, ensuring current and future generations of Angelenos the promise of a strong and sustainable public education system.
- Distribute Local Control Funding Formula dollars equitably to provide LAUSD’s most disadvantaged students the supports they need for success.
- ABC is part of a community action group to ensure LA schools receive the funding they deserve through support of the Title I Resolution. Click the image below for more information.
- Create and implement policies and system reforms, such as universal enrollment, that ensure equitable access to school choice programs and alternative public school options.
- Replicate and expand successful school models in areas with chronically underperforming schools.
In September 2016, ABC published findings from its summer leadership roundtable series. The series convened over 120 Los Angeles civic leaders including policy experts and practitioners in the areas of early care and education (ECE), higher education, and health and wellness, as well as parent and student leaders to examine barriers to school choice and explore strategies to increase access to high quality public schools throughout the region. Click the images below to read the full report and the executive summary.
- PEAPS-LA: In Spring 2017, ABC founded the Partnership for Equitable Access to Public Schools in Los Angeles, a regional coalition of parent advocacy groups that works to ensure every child in Los Angeles has access to high quality public schools through an equitable enrollment process. Click here for more information.
- Restore alignment between the LAUSD high school graduation requirements and CSU eligibility requirements.
- Expand and monitor college/career programs and require all high schools to pursue 100% student FAFSA completion.
- Track key college-ready indicators such as college English and math remediation levels and college graduation rates for students in the LACCD, CSU and UC systems.
- Expand efforts to re-connect young adults who are out of school without a high school diploma to college and career pathways.
- CLASS: Through Communities for Los Angeles Student Success, ABC is raising public awareness about the importance of expanding college access to all students, expanding the A-G campaign’s support base, and engaging and training parent leaders to become active participants in the A-G movement.
- Ensure all schools provide learning opportunities for parents to strengthen their capacity to support their children’s academic achievement from Pre-K through 12th grade.
- Implement and monitor Parents’ Rights and Responsibilities to ensure quality home-school partnerships.
- Parent Advocate Training Program: Through the Parent Advocate Training Program, parents of current students in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and local charter schools will have the opportunity to use their leadership skills in support of improving local education policies and practices that benefit all students. The program will enhance the skills, knowledge, and confidence of parents necessary to create meaningful change in their schools and community. Click here for more information.
ABC Key Education Accomplishments
ABC’s initial project was to ensure that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) complete the halted construction of the Belmont Learning Center. The school was critical to alleviating the extreme overcrowding in Pico Union schools and ending the busing of more than 3,800 high school students to distant schools.
However, due to many political and environmental controversies, LAUSD continued to stall the much-needed construction. As a result, ABC, with its partner organizations, spent the first three years of its existence educating and engaging area parents and students to advocate for the school’s completion. Working with School Board President José Huizar, we developed an alternate school design that met state earthquake codes, built a campus for 2,600 students, offered 12 acres for Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy natural park, and constructed a school and community joint-use soccer field. Key milestones in this effort included:
- 2002: ABC creates the Belmont Community Development Group (BCDG) and submits plan to build the Belmont Learning Center.
- 2003: ABC leads a march comprised of more than 500 students and parents from the existing Belmont High School to the School Board to advocate in favor of the newly planned school.
- 2003: LAUSD School Board voting in favor of the new design to build the Edward Roybal Learning Center
- 2008: doors open to local students
For more than 20 years, Belmont High School suffered from massive overcrowding, serving 5,000 students on a multi-track schedule and yet thousands more were bussed out of the area to attend high school. The Belmont Education Collaborative (BEC) was founded to ensure that students in the Pico Union area would have new schools built to relieve the overcrowding and provide greater educational opportunities to all students in the region. Key milestones in this effort included:
- ABC successfully advocating for the development of the Belmont Zone of Choice
ABC was a founding member of the RFK-12 Campaign that sought to provide seats quickly and cost effectively at the former Ambassador Hotel property. The development of this site and other schools in the area was jeopardized when external historical preservation forces sought to conserve as much of the existing hotel at a cost of $100 million more than the building of new school facilities. In a time of extreme overcrowding and budget crisis, ABC maintained that providing local seats, not historical preservation of buildings, was the District’s priority and obligation to voters.
- Successfully advocating to convert the Ambassador Hotel into a new social justice themed school and keep Central Los Angeles High School #9 a community based school
ABC seeks to increase access to and awareness of early care and education programs for Latino children by ensuring that quality programs operate in the most underserved areas, qualified and culturally relevant teachers are prepared to transform existing programs into outstanding centers, and children’s learning environments address the individual’s emotional and cognitive development as well as the cultural and linguistic needs of English language learners.
Some of the most important learning, particularly literacy and language skills, happen before children even enter kindergarten. Research shows that while 85% of brain development occurs from birth to five years of age, only 42% of Latino three and four year olds are enrolled in preschool, compared to 74% of White and 63% of African American toddlers (U.S. Census, 2000). Key milestones in this effort included:
- Successfully advocating for the integration of linguistic and cultural elements to be included in the California Department of Education (CDE) Preschool Foundations and Curriculum Framework.
- Participating in the LA County Early Care and Education Economic Impact and Career Pathway Technical Advisory Board which developed “The Economic Impact of the Early Care and Education Industry in Los Angeles County, (ECE EIR).”
- Establishing and currently facilitating the Southeast Cities Early Care and Education Taskforce, which strives to engage multiple stakeholders in advocating for additional high quality ECE resources in the Southeast region of Los Angeles.
ABC’s goal is to ensure that all graduating high school students are prepared for a full range of options, including attending a two to four-year college, seeking apprenticeship, and/or formal employment training. ABC supports a “Multiple Pathways” approach to learning which aligns with many of L.A.’s current educational reforms.
ABC is the Co-Chair of the Los Angeles Partnership for Multiple Pathways (LAPMP), a broad-based partnership committed to advocating for the implementation of Multiple Pathway programs. Key milestones in this effort include:
- Development of LAUSD’s Multiple Pathways Board Resolution
- Establishment of a Multiple Pathways “Network of Industry Advisors”
- Partnerships with leaders at the District, school and community levels
Although many after-school programs provided educational enrichment activities to their students, they lacked adjustment of curriculum and instruction for their English learners. As a result, ABC worked to ensure that the after-school programs are of high quality and addressed the learning needs for all students, including English learners. Working with the California After-school Network, ABC was able to achieve their goal in advocating for English learners throughout their after-school program experience. Key milestones in this effort include:
- ABC completes a one year assessment on Maximizing After-School Opportunities for English Learners and determines that the needs for English learners must be met
Although community based organizations provide critical resources to families and students, it is a parent’s level of involvement and engagement in their child’ education, that has been found to be invaluable to supporting that child’s success. Therefore, ABC aims to partner with districts and schools to develop and implement parent engagement policies and practices that enable parents to guide and monitor their children’s education to ensure they achieve academically, understand their role in accessing rigorous school curriculum, a pathway to college and a successful future for their children and become advocates for positive education systems. Key milestones in this effort include:
- ABC launches a Parent Engagement Initiative in partnership with the Montebello Unified School District (MUSD) to decrease the District’s high school dropout rate and increase overall student achievement and awareness of the A-G curriculum.