By Neighborhood Data for Social Change, February 10, 2020
The California Department of Public Health reported in 2017 that completing a formal education is a crucial step on the pathway to securing fulfilling employment that can provide food, housing, transportation and other livelihood improvements essential to a healthy life. However, educational attainment differs across economic and racial lines. Since 2003, the achievement gap in California between low-income students and their more affluent peers has remained between 25 and 30 percentage points. Moreover, only 21% of Black students and 28% of Latinx students in California met eighth-grade benchmarks for math in 2019, compared to 54% of white students.
These differences are not a predetermined fate for certain groups of students. Instead, they are indicative of systemic problems in the public education system that can be addressed given the right approach. This data story, written in collaboration with Orenda Education and Think Together, highlights work that these organizations have undertaken in partnership with school districts in Los Angeles to address educational equity. Without taking steps to improve equity in our schools, students with low incomes and students of color will continue to be underserved by our educational system. This, in turn, undermines graduation rates and college readiness, consequently limiting career opportunities and long-term economic livelihood for these students and their communities.