One year into implementation, Parent Revolution—the California based advocacy group—is reflecting on a program designed to give families in Los Angeles direct support selecting quality K-12 options. Choice4LA, launched in January 2016, has partnered with over 40 community-based partners to reach thousands of low-income families, helping them navigate the school choice system through information sessions, one-on-one conversations, and customized application support. In a new report, Parent Revolution shares seven lessons learned from the first year of program implementation as well as four recommendations for the Los Angeles Unified School District and Los Angeles’ charter school sector designed to increase accessibility to quality school choices for all families. Recommendations for the district and charter sector include:
- a greater focus on quality choices
- simplifying all steps of the school choice process
- improving families’ access to school quality data
- strengthening the role that interpersonal networks play in supporting families as they choose schools for their children
The report also identifies systemic barriers challenging school choice like transportation, lack of comparable school information, and competing school application deadlines.
According to the report, families supported by the Choice4LA program enrolled in schools with significantly better academic performance than their assigned schools. While there are almost 300,000 families utilizing various types of public school choice in Los Angeles, there are still roughly 160,0000 students attending persistently low-performing schools. The majority of which are low-income, students of color.
Leaders across the country working to inform families about school choice can learn from the first year of Choice4LA as well as the recommendations to break down barriers and improve access. Please reach out if you are interested in connecting with advocates directly with parents to promote school choice.