New Ed Trust–West Report Paints a Detailed Portrait of How African-American Youth Fare in Los Angeles County Schools

Calls for a coordinated countywide effort to improve African-American student outcomes

OAKLAND, CA (February 26, 2013) – Today, The Education Trust–West releases At a Crossroads: A Comprehensive Picture of How African-American Youth Fare in Los Angeles County Schools and accompanying Prezi. Using data from multiple sources, the report finds that academic and socioemotional outcomes for African-American students in L.A. County are poor overall. However, it also identifies school districts where African-American students are doing better on a range of outcomes including academic performance, graduation rates, A-G completion rates, suspension rates, special education identification rates, and health and wellness indicators.

“One in three African-American students in California attend an L.A. County public school. This report reveals that the vast majority of these students are not receiving the opportunities they need to succeed and to ultimately achieve their college and career dreams,” said Lindsey Stuart, author of the report and a research analyst at The Education Trust–West, a statewide education advocacy organization that works to close gaps in opportunity and achievement for students of color and low-income students.

The report finds that the overall African-American student population has declined in the county and in many school districts over the past decade. Using student achievement data, the report finds persistent gaps in math and English language arts at both the elementary and secondary levels. The report also finds that high school graduation rates and A-G rates are far too low across the board, particularly for African-American males. In addition, the report analyzes suspension rates, special education identification rates, and health and wellness data collected in the California Healthy Kids Survey. On all of these indicators, the report identifies top and bottom performing school districts.

In spite of poor results overall, the report reveals areas of promise, including ABC Unified, where 91% of African-American ninth-graders complete high school in four years. Additionally, the report profiles Culver City Unified, where African-American students outperform their peers on a number of academic and socioemotional outcomes. In 2012, 71% of African-American students in Culver City Unified were proficient or advanced in English language arts and 65% were proficient in math. Less than 7% of African-American students were suspended, compared with rates of over 20% in other L.A. County school districts.

“Recently, policymakers have focused increasing attention on improving educational results for African-American students, particularly boys and men of color,” said Arun Ramanathan, Executive Director of The Education Trust–West. “The report should be a wake-up call for county and district leaders and spur a coordinated effort to improve results for African-American youth in Los Angeles County.”

Presentation: At a Crossroads: A Comprehensive Picture of How African-American Youth Fare in L.A. County Schools 


Instructions: 1. To begin, click on the “arrow” button for the presentation to download. 2. After it downloads, click on the right “arrow” button again to begin the presentation. 3. With each click of the right arrow button, the presentation will move forward. Additional Features: Click on the “More” button on the right to get a “full screen” version of the presentation or to have it “autoplay” for you. Click on the microphone button to turn off the voiceover feature of the presentation.

To view the Prezi presentation, click here.


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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.