Los Angeles

Parents Taking Action

Since launching in 2018, we’ve organized parents throughout Los Angeles to advance education equity efforts and help address systemic issues that exist within our public school system. We’ve cultivated deep relationships with over 500 Latino and Black parent leaders to build power and challenge decision-making processes that lack sufficient parent engagement.

Overview

We help parents stay informed on policies and practices that impact education access for Black, Latino, and low-income communities through our research, offer strategies to influence policy decisions through our organizing, and elevate the issues that impact our parent organizations through our digital communications work. Together, we are redefining how parents, schools, and community organizations can work together to transform public schools.

Black and Latino Students Stand to Lose Nearly Double the Learning

Parent Leadership Teams

Young black girl distance learning

Citywide Black Student Achievement (CWBSA)

There are over 50,000 Black students in Los Angeles Unified School District, most of whom attend schools in Local District South. For far too long school policies have bundled Black students with all students of color. The Citywide Black Student Achievement (CWBSA) Parent Leader Team is a group of parents, educators, and community members working to eliminate the achievement gap for Black students in Los Angeles Unified by pushing for representative policies in LAUSD that provide equitable funding, targeted intervention programs and center culturally responsive pedagogy. For the past three years, CWBSA has organized the education community to find and work toward solutions that will improve the academic experience and social-emotional well-being of Black students in Los Angeles Unified.

Black Educators Advocates Network (BEAN)

The Black Educators Advocates Network (BEAN) is an extension of CWBSA and exists to transform the environment, practices, and policies that affect the educational experience for Black educators, administrators, students, and parents. Born out of necessity and founded by Black educators, BEAN addresses the desperate need for an educational experience that considers and centers around Black students and is committed to transforming the learning environment for students of color. BEAN centers its efforts around community building, research and discovery, and bold advocacy. Click here to read our latest data brief Seen and Affirmed: What Black educators and students need to thrive.

2021 Seen and Affirmed: What Black Educators and Students Need to Thrive

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Black, Latino, and Low-Income Students Got Less

Southeast LA (SELA)

More than 60,000 students attend the 89 public schools in Southeast LA (SELA), the majority of whom are low-income and Latino. In 2019, SELA parent leaders led a community action event to call out the fact that only 12 of these 89 schools in SELA reached the statewide average in English language, arts and math.

Demands for more investments in SELA’s schools and students have only amplified since then, mainly due to the disproportionate access to education that low-income and Latino students received during distance learning. SELA parent leaders are dedicated to attaining the academic and socio-emotional support their students need to be successful in school and beyond.

Westlake/Pico Union (WPU)

Since 2019, Innovate has been building a parent organization in the Westlake and Pico Union neighborhoods focused on resolving the unique education needs in that community, including fighting for better outcomes and more services for English learners and students with special needs and for more equity and transparency in the LAUSD budget.

We recently produced a data sheet which provides a snapshot of how schools in Westlake/Pico Union (WPU) are serving low income Latino students. Some key findings are:

Black, Latino, and Low-Income Students Got Less
  • Nearly 4 in 10 students in Westlake/Pico Union schools are English learners.
  • Only 37% of Latino students are on grade level in English and 27% are on grade level in math.
  • Out of 44 schools in Westlake/Pico Union, only 6 reach the statewide average in English and math and 5 are close to reaching the statewide average (within 10%).
  • Many Latino students in Westlake/Pico Union don’t feel safe around their school. According to the 2018-19 LAUSD School Experience Survey, 29% of Latino students in Westlake/Pico Union don’t feel safe at school and 41% don’t feel safe in the neighborhoods around their school.
  • 8 out of 10 Latino students in Westlake/Pico Union graduate eligible to apply to a UC/CSU compared with only 5 out of 10 graduates statewide.

Currently, the parent organizing committee is focused on the allocation of pandemic recovery dollars, to ensure that every student in the community has access to high quality tutoring during this academic year.

Young black girl distance learning

Worth More LA (WMLA)

Early on in the pandemic it became clear to our parent leaders that LAUSD was not prioritizing the needs of students and families in their distance learning plans. Low income families and families of color did not have a powerful enough voice when pitted against other powerful interest groups operating within the district, and students were suffering because of that.

So Innovate parent leaders decided to join forces with other aligned parent organizations to help amplify our voice and power, and Worth More LA was born.

WMLA is a movement of parents and community members that believe LAUSD has denied opportunities to Black and Latino students for too long. During the pandemic, the inequities of our education system were no longer hidden behind school walls, but in our homes and every parent had to watch as LAUSD’s distance learning plan deepened these inequities. We won’t go back to a system that doesn’t educate all kids. And we won’t let LAUSD erase the harm that was done to our kids during their distance learning program.