Education Trust–West Statement In Response to School Reopening Deal


In Response to Governor Newsom’s Announcement of a School Reopening Deal with the Legislature, Dr. Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Executive Director of The Education Trust–West, Issued the following Statement:

“It’s good news that the Governor and legislature have reached a deal to get schools the resources they need to start safely bringing students back into classrooms. Parents are increasingly worried about the academic, social, and emotional development their students are missing through distance learning—and with good reason. Starting with early grades and English learners, foster youth, and unhoused students in all grades is a good start,  but we also need to move quickly to get older students who have had the least access to quality distance learning back in school. 

But let’s be clear: reopening schools is just the beginning of our work. We can’t simply return to doing things the way they’ve always been done—it wasn’t good enough before the pandemic and it certainly won’t be good enough now. Students need expanded learning and instructional time at a moment when they are already exhausted and burnt out. That means schools will need to work with parents and community partners like never before to generate creative, engaging, fun learning experiences while tending to students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs.”

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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.