Data show that learning gaps are most pronounced for children from underserved communities and historically marginalized communities. The same ones that also see consistent inequities and opportunity gaps from generation to generation. If we know where it’s happening and to whom, how do we break the cycle?
By starting students on a strong foundational path and inviting the parents to be part of that journey, districts can solidify the long-term academic success of those students. This means investing in early childhood education as much as possible, and in the most critical communities.
Superintendent Carvalho has brought strategic ideas on how to tackle this challenge to LAUSD, starting with universal early childhood programs. “Districts with good strategic orientation, through a lens of equity, should begin making these investments in early education in these historically underserved communities. If you start early enough, you can obliterate the inequities in our education system.”
Another example is LAUSD’s “Golden Box” program sent to every child born in the area. It includes a book, a diploma with their name, clothing, and information on early education programs and centers. By “capturing the parent’s attention as early as possible in their child’s life,” believes Carvalho, “you will keep them through high school.” LAUSD also offers universal TK programs, starting with areas that have the greatest need.
And it’s no surprise that Sesame Workshop supports the idea of prioritizing investment in early education and parent involvement to address inequities in education . Akimi loves the “simplicity” of LAUSD’s Golden Box program because it sends a message to parents that “someone believes in you, is paying attention to your child’s needs, and is here for you.” Families need to safe, heard, and valued if they are going to successfully partner with a school community.