School Systems Organized for Equity

One way schools can promote racial, economic, linguistic and cultural equity is through directing resources based on student need and not obsolete formulas. Across the country, states are considering new funding systems to fit the needs of students and families. California’s 2013 education finance legislation, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), could become a national model on how best to fund schools and how school systems can provide resources to students with the most complex needs. The relatively new legislation also aims to promote participation in budgetary decisions by requiring districts to engage community members in the development of a Local Control and Accountability Plan.

LCFF acknowledges the additional demands created by concentrated poverty and other factors. That’s why it provides supplemental funds to school districts that enroll the highest proportion of students who are low-income, in the foster system, or designated as English Language Learners.

Here are some ways various California school districts are embarking on their own equity initiatives:

  • Developing community schools with a range of social services and after school programs on site
  • Implementing project-based learning, literacy across the curriculum, personalized learning and performance-based assessment
  • Providing support and resources for specific student groups, such as youth experiencing homelessness, foster youth, or youth of color

Current Work:

LCFF Bright Spots District Case Studies:

CTS has undertaken a series of district case studies to better understand how some districts have been successful in operationalizing equity through LCFF. This study is intended to capture positive change generated to impact low-income students, foster youth and English Learners. These case studies will be used to inform other districts, researchers, and practitioners to understand the nuance of challenges and opportunities presented by the legislation.

Read the Pomona Unified School District Case Study and Policy Guide >

Read the San Diego Unified School District Case Study >

Black Youth Study:

African American students in particular are disproportionately impacted by a number of educational, social, economic, and political inequities that impact the stability of communities across the country. Throughout the nation, Black children continue to perform at lower levels on most measures of educational attainment than their white counterparts.

In partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) and the UCLA Black Male Institute (BMI), CTS is conducting a study to capture a comprehensive view of the critical educational and social issues that confront Black children. In our Los Angeles County profile across 80 districts, we will study the various factors influencing educational performance, wellness, and life outcomes for Black youth in the area including, but not limited to, number and percentage of homeless children, concentration of children, number and percentage in foster care, poverty rates and academic achievement indicators. We also plan to elevate programs and promising practices that address inequities.

CTS also plans to work with community groups, faith-based partners and districts to develop a set of recommendations to present to the County Board of Supervisors and local policymakers. This is the first of a series of equity reports focused on the status of vulnerable children that CTS will conduct over the next several years.

Homeless Youth Study – California State Partnerships on Student Homelessness

The Governor’s Office, California Department of Education, and relevant statewide child and family welfare agencies have teamed up to improve student learning and health for youth and families impacted by homelessness by documenting the landscape of existing efforts to support students. The project will explore and document models for reducing rates of chronic absenteeism, suspension rates and improving graduation rates, and college/ career readiness for K-12 students experiencing homelessness, and highlight promising models and practices being pursued to prevent homelessness.

The landscape analysis of existing efforts across the state both local and regionally, will engage state agencies, non-profits, advocates, and key stakeholders to discuss and better understand the current landscape of support for California’s homeless youth.

Goals of the project include:

  • Explore and document current strategies for improving participation in quality early childhood program for young children experiencing homelessness
  • Explore and document models for reducing rates of chronic absenteeism, suspension rates and improving graduation rates, and college and career readiness for K-12 students experiencing homelessness
  • Highlight promising models and practices being pursued to prevent homelessness and support homeless student success