Re-Investing in Children and Youth
California has been systematically de-investing from our children’s educations for decades, and it’s time we turned that trend around. Despite being the fifth largest economy in the world and the richest state in the nation, our state is currently ranked 41st in per-pupil spending nationally. New York spends $29,000 per pupil per year, while California only spends $16,500 per pupil per year. That is simply unacceptable.
Jackie is dedicated to using her position on the Board, her experience as a state legislator, and her contacts in Sacramento to increase funding for public education state-wide. There is no quicker way to ensure smaller class sizes, a dedicated nurse and counselor at every school, and robust music and arts programs to enrich the experiences of our students.
This effort will take all of us, however. It will require us to make our voices heard in the offices of our state legislators. The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act, which will appear on the November 2020 ballot, also could restore $4.5 billion to support K-12 education and community colleges. You can join Jackie in urging our state elected officials to take action to make sure every student in California gets the education they deserve by heading over to our Resources page, which provides links that will help you find your state representative’s contact information.
Community schools are schools that call on all members of the school community—from students, families, administrators, teachers, and staff to community partners and organizations—to work collaboratively to improve conditions for learning and student achievement. Taking advantage of the assets that already exist in communities, these schools bring in holistic programs and services to help students and families meet their basic needs, allowing students to focus more on learning. Community schools also prioritize communication between school and home, engaging parents to facilitate learning at home and bringing families into school decision-making to create a shared vision for the school.
The community schooling model has proven effective in multiple districts across the country. By creating community schools, Cincinnati shrunk its racial and socioeconomic achievement gap from 14.5 percent to 4.5 percent from 2016-2015. And a Baltimore school that transitioned to a community school model went from being ranked 77th in the city to 2nd in just five years.
The first cohort of community schools at LAUSD—18, spread across the District—are currently in the initial phases of their planning year. They have hired their community school coordinators and are forming teams at their school sites to map their school and communities. A second cohort of 12 District schools will begin the process to become community schools in the 2020-2021 school year.
Jackie is a firm believer in the success and promise of community schools, and she will advocate to increase funding to expand the number of community schools in the District. She will also work to ensure that the District schools that have already transitioned to the community school model get the ongoing support they need to thrive.
Student-centered education focuses on the whole child, treating each student as a life-long learner who comes into the classroom with a wealth of experiences, knowledge, and interests. Students are provided A-G subject requirements, career preparatory courses, and standards-based instruction as a foundation, but student-centered schools make a conscientious effort to differentiate instruction by incorporating project-based learning and offering students elective courses, art, music, vocational and career exploration, expanded world languages, and additional extra-curricular opportunities.
Jackie is a firm believer in education that does not focus primarily on test scores, and she will work to make schools places where students want to be. This will entail making sure that schools celebrate and embrace students’ identities and deliver culturally relevant lessons that honor student differences and individual aspirations.
Education is a tool for empowerment. Through schools that are student-centered, Jackie is committed to giving students the academic and social training they need to become agents of change so that they can go on to empower others in their communities.