LAUSD Context A Comprehensive Approach to Improving Outcomes for High-Needs Students: An Equity Framework for LCFF in the Los Angeles Unified School District
Over the last 14 years, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has taken notable steps to close the achievement gaps that exist among its students. Despite these efforts, achievement gaps persist among socioeconomic, linguistic, and ethnoracial groups in LAUSD. Differences like these are alarming, because they reflect a gap in opportunities for future success, not simply a gap in academic achievement.
LAUSD has a momentous opportunity to bolster its efforts to close these gaps and prevent future gaps from emerging. Due to the recently enacted Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the district is estimated to receive approximately $838 million in supplemental and concentration grants for high-needs students, that is, foster youth, English Language Learners, and low-income students. Advancement Project and its partners urge LAUSD to invest these funds in preventive services for high-needs students to improve their educational outcomes, narrow existing achievement gaps and prevent the emergence of future gaps.
To achieve these results, however, the district must take a comprehensive approach to its investment. Many factors operate individually and collectively to hinder the academic potential and future success of high-needs students, and thus they can only be combated effectively by a comprehensive approach.
- Educational Supports: Increase educational supports for schools with target populations.
- Health Services: Enhance physical and mental health services for target populations.
- Youth Safety and Positive School Climate: Take positive steps to improve student safety in communities with high levels of violence and entrenched gangs.
- Community and Stakeholder Engagement: Improve parental and community engagement by enhancing the capacity of family and community members to partner with and feel connected to school sites.
Beyond narrowing its achievement gaps, LAUSD’s investment in preventive services would set a standard for embodying the spirit of LCFF legislation. Were it to invest in preventive services, LAUSD would exemplify what LCFF-based equity for disadvantaged children means in practice.
Investing in preventive services could enable the district, county, and state to save money by reducing the need for costly and inefficient remedial actions. In the end, investing LCFF funds in preventive services is not solely an investment in high-needs students; it is also an investment in our society’s future.