Who We Are

Advocates for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all California students, particularly those of color and living in poverty.

Equity-Driven Data-Centered Student-Focused

Mission

The Education Trust—West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-k through college.  We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps

Our Core Beliefs

  • Education has the transformative power to close the opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other young Americans.
  • All students will learn at high levels when they are taught at high levels.
  • Great school leaders and highly effective teachers play the most important roles in closing opportunity and achievement gaps.
  • All educational decisions must be made in the best interest of our highest need students to achieve equitable outcomes.
  • The cultural and linguistic diversity of California’s students and communities will fuel the next generation of state growth and prosperity.

History

The Education Trust—West is the California based office of the nationally recognized Education Trust based in Washington D.C. The Education Trust—West was founded in 2001 by Russlynn Ali who led the organization until 2009 when she left to join the Obama Administration as the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Civil Rights in the Education Department. In the fall of 2009, Dr. Arun Ramanathan was recruited to become the Executive Director of the organization. Under his leadership the organization expanded its role as a voice for students of color and low-income students across California. The organization grew in size, stature and sophistication. In November 2014, Ryan Smith became the new Executive Director of the organization. Previously, Ryan was the Director of Education Programs and Policy for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. He also worked for former Mayor Villaraigosa’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools and founded the Parent College which has educated over 5,000 parents on their rights, roles and responsibilities. We are funded by several well-known, nationally recognized foundations, some contract work and some individual donations.