California at the Crossroads: Embracing the Cahsee and Moving Forward


It will come as no surprise to most of you that Ed Trust—West supports the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). We’ve been one of the only organizations — and perhaps the only civil rights organization — that does. Our decision didn’t come easy. The CAHSEE is by far the most wrenching issue any organization that cares about making public education work better for poor kids and kids of color has to contend with. Why? At its core, this test challenges every belief one holds about student and school potential and embodies a new kind of responsibility for student achievement — one borne by educators and students alike. And that makes people angry and afraid.


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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.