Leadership and Priorities of LAUSD

Communities for Los Angeles Student Success (CLASS) is a new broad-based coalition of civil rights, parent, teacher, community-based and education organizations who believe that all students deserve a quality education and the opportunity for college and 21st century careers. Historically, these organizations have been an integral part of the movement to improve equity and access for all students in Los Angeles. Collectively, CLASS’s member organizations serve over 115,000 families, parents, students, teachers and community members in Los Angeles. The mission of CLASS is to cultivate high-quality public schools in Los Angeles so all students, teachers, administrators and communities thrive. We believe in equity and access for all students and the inclusion of community voices in decision making.
CLASS Member Organizations
Alliance for a Better Community Community Coalition Educators 4 Excellence Families In Schools Inner City Struggle Los Angeles Urban League Teach Plus United Way of Greater Los Angeles

Pathways Forward:

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Critical Voices at a Critical Time
We are at a critical juncture for the direction of education in Los Angeles. Amid great challenges and opportunities facing our schools, we are preparing to elect a new mayor and school board members. Now is the time for community stakeholders to offer their input on the current priorities of public education in Los Angeles. Community voices and action are essential to ensuring that quality schools exist in every neighborhood. CLASS launched its annual survey, “Pathways Forward: Leadership in LAUSD.” The survey marks the beginning of a tradition to garner broad community input on the priorities of public education. We had responses from over 100 local leaders who represent diverse constituencies in our community. Despite the different issues championed by participating organizations, the leaders who responded to this survey share a commonality: our work and constituents are profoundly affected by the state of public education. The findings from our survey are being shared with District leaders and the community to ensure that the public’s voice is heard on public education in Los Angeles. This survey brings a third seat to the table where policy decisions are negotiated. For this reason, the survey does not include input from LAUSD and its labor partners who directly negotiate changes to school policy. Our hope is that this stakeholder survey and report will inform the education priorities of our district and labor partners, as well as the broader community.

More than 100 leaders responded, representing constituents in the following sectors:
Advocacy Arts and Culture Business Child Welfare and Youth Work Civil Rights Community Organizing Education Environment Faith Housing Health and Social Services Labor Public Safety Research and Academia

Over 100 community leaders weigh in on the leadership and direction of our public schools.

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Community Priority: Lifting Up Low-Performing Schools
The vast majority (at least 70%) of respondents felt all the district priorities listed here for transforming low performing schools were critically important or important. Overall, respondents felt local teachers, families and communities should be responsible for local decision making, with more local control and accountability. »» Provide schools with more local control of decision making with accountability for results (95.4%) »» Require family engagement in the strategies for turning around their child’s chronically underperforming school (89.9%) Views on School Transformation

Community Priority: Access to Quality Teaching and Learning
The vast majority (more than 75%) of respondents felt all the district priorities listed here for teaching and learning were critically important or important. Respondents overwhelmingly believe that creating a multi-faceted evaluation system for principals and teachers was critically important or important: »» An evaluation system for teachers that includes diverse information: classroom observations, curriculum, parent and student input, and student growth on tests and other assessments (97.2%) »» An evaluation system for principals that includes diverse information: classroom observations, curriculum, parent and student input, and student growth on tests and other assessments (95.3%) There was strong demand for access to college and career preparation for all students. Over 75% of respondents felt it critically important or important that “all students who earn an LAUSD diploma must pass courses required for admission to California universities and colleges.” Views on Teaching and Learning

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Community Priority: Resources, Support and Safety for Students
Most of the respondents (more than 60%) felt all the district priorities listed here for safety and support services were critically important or important. The community leaders surveyed felt that the following strategies and investment priorities were critically important or important: »» Partnering with community organizations to provide additional support and enrichment services (93.6%) »» Forging partnerships with diverse stakeholders, including philanthropy and community organizations (93.5%) Views on Resources, Safety and Support

Community Priority: Investing Additional Revenue
More than 90% of survey respondents felt pursuing local, state and federal dollars for public education was critical or important. In our survey, community leaders made difficult decisions about the most important items for investing additional local, state and federal dollars. Arguably, all of these areas are critical, but the graph listed here ranks the most important investment areas. When faced with a list of ten investment priorities for additional local, state and federal dollars, respondents ranked the following investments at the top of the list. »» Restored funding for early childhood education (56%) »» Career pathways and incentives to leverage and keep effective teachers in hard-to-staff schools (50.5%) »» Reduction in class sizes (44%) »» Improved evaluation and support for teachers and administrators (43%) Ranking Important Investment Areas

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Other Community Priorities:
Also notable in the survey were two areas of student safety, which the majority of respondents deemed critically important or important: »» Improve the reporting and dismissal process to handle allegations of staff misconduct swiftly and fairly (90.8%) »» Evaluate schools in part by their ability to decrease rates of student suspensions and expulsions (74.3%)

Key Takeaways
Working With Urgency to Pursue Many Priorities
Most of the community leaders surveyed believe that the district’s current priorities listed in this report are critical or important. Interestingly, while the survey primarily focused on gathering input on the district’s leadership and direction, the data shows strong support for making education a community effort by marshalling federal, state and local dollars as well as the ingenuity of diverse stakeholders—including teachers, principals, families, education leaders, philanthropy and community organizations. Given these insights, our district, union and city leadership should work with renewed urgency, and in partnership with diverse community, to pursue the priorities called out in this survey. Thank you to leaders at the following organizations and groups who participated in our survey.
◊ Alliance for a Better Community (ABC) ◊ Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools ◊ Animo Maestros Unidos ◊ Board of Harbor Commissioner’s, Port of Los Angeles ◊ Boyle Heights Learning Collaborative ◊ Bright Star Schools ◊ Build Ing ◊ Building Skills Partnership ◊ C5LA ◊ California Community Foundation (CCF) ◊ California League of Middle Schools ◊ Californians Together ◊ Camino Nuevo Charter Academy ◊ Campaign for College Opportunity ◊ Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings ◊ Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) ◊ Children Now ◊ Teach Plus ◊ UCLA Office of Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs ◊ UCLA Teacher Education Program (TEP) ◊ UMMA Community Clinic ◊ United Way of Greater Los Angeles ◊ USC Center for Religion & Civic Culture ◊ USC Rossier School of Education ◊ Volunteers of America of Los Angeles (VOALA) ◊ Volunteers of East LA (VELA) ◊ Liberty Hill Foundation ◊ Labor Community Strategy Center ◊ Youth Policy Institute (YPI) ◊ City of Los Angeles ◊ Coalition for Black Student Excellence ◊ Community Asset Development Re-defining Education (CADRE) ◊ Community Coalition ◊ Community Development Commission of County of LA ◊ Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas en Norteamérica (COFEM) ◊ Dream for Racial Health Equity ◊ Ed Trust- West ◊ EduCare Foundation ◊ Educate Our State ◊ Educators 4 Excellence ◊ EdVoice ◊ EmpowerLA ◊ Families in Schools (FIS) ◊ Gabriella Axelrad Education Foundation ◊ Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) ◊ Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) ◊ Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) ◊ Inner City Struggle (ICS) ◊ KIPP LA ◊ LA Gay & Lesbian Center ◊ LA Metropolitan Churches ◊ LA Small Schools Center ◊ LA Voice - PICO National Network ◊ LA’s Best ◊ LA’s Promise ◊ Los Angeles County Music Center ◊ Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP) ◊ Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) ◊ Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust ◊ Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) ◊ Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency Program ◊ Loyola Marymount University School of Education ◊ Two Members of the Los Angeles City Council ◊ Messiah Lutheran Church ◊ National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) ◊ National Council of La Raza (NCLR) ◊ Para Los Niños ◊ Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) ◊ Parent Organizing Network (PON) ◊ Parent Revolution ◊ Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS) ◊ Posse Foundation ◊ Project GRAD Los Angeles ◊ Public Counsel Law Center ◊ Ruach Christian Community Fellowship ◊ San Gabriel Unified School District ◊ SEIU Local 721 ◊ South Central Scholars ◊ Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) ◊ Students for Education Reform (SFER) ◊ Wasserman Media ◊ Westside Children’s Center ◊ Youth Speak Collective ◊ Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

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