How can we make early learning more equitable?


While we know early childhood education sets the foundation for a child’s future success, many children still do not have access to quality care and education programs. Fortunately, our state leaders included significant early learning investments in the 2020-21 California State Budget. However, our latest research shows that only 17% of school districts that receive funding for state preschool programs outline using state funding for early learning programming in their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs).

To help advocates and education leaders prioritize equity in early learning as they implement new programs and leverage new investments, Ed Trust-West’s new early childhood resources provide actionable research and tangible examples.

In Six Ways School Districts Can Leverage the Local Control Funding Formula for Equity in the Early Years, we provide recommendations and examples of districts using Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds to increase early learning options for families of color, families facing poverty, and families of dual language learners. This actionable resource shines a light on the tangible details of how these districts are getting creative and innovative as they implement early learning programming.

Our Equity Alert: Maximizing Equity for Young Learners as California Implements Universal Transitional Kindergarten outlines ways state agencies, local school districts, and community advocates can ensure equity is prioritized as expanded transitional kindergarten programming is being designed and implemented.

Our ultimate goal is to ensure every child receives a high-quality early learning opportunity regardless of where they live or what zip code they come from. As we continue to monitor how districts and local communities engage in this process, please read and share these new resources with your network by visiting the links below.

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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.