Louis wants to:
Increase school funding. Public education is the greatest public health intervention and socioeconomic mobility engine ever devised. We should invest in our futures. Public schools are a public good and it is the duty of all of us to ensure they function well.
End child homelessness, which will boost educational equity. According to the LA Times, at least 269,000 K-12 students in CA were experiencing homelessness in 2018-19, enough to fill Dodger Stadium five times—and likely an underestimate. This is not to mention the 20% of LA Community College students that are similarly situated.
Create integrated communities, which have access to transit, stable housing, and robust social services. The best way to break the correlation between the zip code someone was born in and their educational attainment is to ensure that there is no difference between the zip codes of marginalized people and non-marginalized people. Kids should arrive to school swiftly, without stress, well fed, and enriched in all other parts of their lives. Louis’s housing policies will help that happen.
Expand Community Schools. Community Schools are “a place and a set of partnerships between schools and other community resources with an integrated focus on academics, health, social services, leadership, and community engagement.” They are based on culturally relevant curricula, family and community partnerships, and wrap-around social support. They recognize that schools are forced to handle a lot of other systemic failures, and leverage their key positions to bring more social services to their communities, including physical and behavioral health services. They recognize that school may be the only palace where a child will get a meal that day.
The new state budget allocates $3 billion for expanding Community Schools, but this translates to a one-time boost of $500 per student—not enough. We should be ready to transform as much of the system as appropriate if good outcomes emerge.