Between the lingering uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent spikes in inflation, American families are facing mounting economic pressure. These effects are hitting some communities harder than others. And for the Latino and Black students who make up the majority of Los Angeles Unified’s enrollment, the uncertainty of the pandemic years is shaping up to have lifelong consequences.

Research shows that Americans with college degrees have been more insulated from the financial uncertainty of the past two years. During the pandemic, unemployment rates for workers with a high school diploma peaked at a whopping 17.6%, compared with 8.4% for college graduates. Right now, fewer than half of LAUSD students successfully complete University of California A-G requirements. Far too many, especially Black and Latino students, are not prepared for postsecondary success or set up for economic stability in post-pandemic America.

It’s clear what we were doing pre-pandemic won’t be enough to address the historic disparities and unprecedented pandemic impacts on our students and their families. The good news is that in Los Angeles, we are seeing some promising glimmers of hope.

We applaud the action the Los Angeles Unified board and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho have taken through their strategic plan to change the trajectory of students’ lives. But they won’t be able to do it alone. It will truly take a village — schools, cultural institutions, businesses, nonprofit organizations and more — to help all LAUSD students and families thrive. Now, more than ever is the time to take continuous action together.

We know that collaborative efforts like this can happen in Los Angeles, and more importantly, that they can have a transformative impact. In the early 2000s, Los Angles Unified, under the leadership of Superintendent Roy Romer, embarked on the largest public school facilities construction campaign in the country to address severe overcrowding. It required bond funding that was made possible through the collective action of civic, business, political and community-based leaders joining the district to make the case to Los Angeles voters that our students were worth the investment and that the building of new schools was critical. And they delivered on their promise to voters by successfully completing their goals of ending the year-round school calendar and mandatory busing.

Read the full article about helping Los Angeles school district kids by Ana Ponce at EdSource.