Conclusion

Although recent budget forecasts are promising, we suspect that in the years ahead the COVID-19 health crisis will bring cutbacks to education funding for some districts, as well as to other social and economic supports that children need both inside and outside of schools. We cannot allow the most vulnerable communities to bear the brunt of these cutbacks.

As the economy recovers, we hope that California and Los Angeles County will lead the way in developing a strong, just, and better post-COVID-19 education system and stronger communities in which every student can thrive (Noguera et al., 2019). We hope that progress in addressing these conditions can be monitored alongside well-designed interventions, as they are implemented over time. Further analysis is needed for measuring the scope and scale of the problems, monitoring progress, and for guiding the implementation of successful interventions.

We also believe that community-based organizations and schools must have access to this information so that they can fully participate in efforts for change. We will continue to assess the landscape of educational and other contextual factors that shape the ability of Black youth to make educational progress. Reopening schools after in many instances almost a year or more due to COVID-19 establishes a new urgency around our work. While safety remains the number one priority, a more comprehensive approach will be needed to respond to the growing gaps between Black youth and many of their peers. To be clear, schools cannot be expected to do this alone. The needs of Black youth in this moment require a comprehensive and urgent response that extends beyond the schoolhouse.