Los Angeles has a growing supply of high-quality school options, but there are substantial barriers that currently prevent many families from high need communities from having access to these options. There are almost a dozen different types of school choice applications covering hundreds of schools, most of which have their own separate and often confusing deadlines and applications. There is no centralized resource where a family can easily access information about all their school options and how to apply. Many correlated barriers - unstable housing and employment, lack of transportation, lack of internet access, and language barriers - effectively prevent many families from accessing the best schools for their children.
Choice4LA works in partnership with local community organizations to help low-income families successfully navigate the school choice process by evaluating school quality, understanding their options, and applying for schools. A team of Choice Navigators provides tangible, 1:1 support in every step of the process to all families who opt into the program. Families who enroll receive unbiased information about school quality, customized information based on the specific needs of their children, assistance in finding and submitting applications to schools, and reminders to send in application and enrollment forms.
In its initial pilot year, Choice4LA has already helped hundreds of low-income families in South Los Angeles to submit over 1,000 applications for high quality public schools that they otherwise would not have applied to. Choice4LA is currently working with its partners to expand its presence in the community while simultaneously building online tools that will enable greater numbers of families to find the best schools for their children.
Choice4LA is creating long term, sustainable change through three different strategies:
1) Inform policy conversations in Los Angeles and nationally by conducting and publishing research showing what families are looking for in schools, how families choose schools, and what barriers prevent some families from accessing school choice
2) Continue working with families to develop their leadership and support them in advocating for systemic educational improvements at the district and statewide level
3) Build capacity amongst community partners to support their own constituents in navigating the school choice system to ensure sustainable and scalable change
For more detailed information about the Choice4LA program, click here.