What’s Next in California’s Fight for Education Justice: Statement in Response to 2018 General Election


The Education Trust-West released the following statement on the results of the 2018 general election in California:

We congratulate Governor-elect Newsom, Lieutenant Governor-elect Kounalakis, and Superintendent-Elect Thurmond on winning their elections. After many months of campaigning, we look forward to working with the state’s newly elected leadership on the urgent issues in education. In California we have always carved out our own path. We have championed progress on many fronts, from immigration and climate change to technological innovation and gender equity. With this new leadership, it is more important than ever that our path forward champions educational justice as well. Parents of color identified education as the top priority for the state’s next Governor in a recent poll that The Education Trust-West commissioned. And we heard impassioned rhetoric about education throughout the races for Governor, Lt Gov, and SPI.

With the election now behind us, it is time to move quickly from rhetoric to action. And it is time to move from fighting on the campaign trail to fighting together for the millions of students in California. We can and must work together to address the deep systemic inequities plaguing our schools and college campuses. Sacramento should move urgently and aggressively to tackle the obstacles that limit student opportunity and achievement.

“We cannot continue to be complacent with a system that provides more counselors, more computer science courses, and more A-G courses for affluent schools than schools in lower-income communities – to name just a few of the injustices impacting California students.” said Dr. Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Ed Trust-West Interim Co-Executive Director.

We are eager to work alongside our new leaders to strengthen supports for struggling schools, bolster our college financial aid system, expand access to college preparatory courses and other rigorous learning opportunities for all students, and build strong data systems that allow us to measure how students progress from preschool through college.

“California schools can truly serve every student, but only if our elected officials work together strategically and collaboratively, in partnership with stakeholders on college campuses and in our school communities, to once and for all close our state’s unacceptable opportunity gaps.” said Carrie Hahnel, Ed Trust-West Interim Co-Executive Director.

We hope to see the same spirit of urgency and excitement we saw during the campaign season applied to building an outstanding school and college system. The Education Trust—West is excited to work with state leadership to usher in evidence-based, robust changes that will bring much-needed, long-awaited educational justice to California students and communities.

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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.