Los Angeles families have an important perspective on our public education system.
Last year, we published our first annual representative poll of Los Angeles public school families. We started with the simple aim of uplifting the voices of families and honoring the role they play as co-educators in Los Angeles schools. This year’s poll was an opportunity to revisit the goal of strengthening their influence on the decisions our educational leaders make about the future of students and Los Angeles schools. We dove back into questions we asked the previous year to see how families’ perspectives changed after returning for a full year of in-person learning during the ongoing pandemic. We also posed new questions to gather important insights from families about Superintendent Carvhalo’s new strategic plan and priorities for Los Angeles Unified.
Families were clear that now is the time to increase educational opportunities by prioritizing academic and social emotional enrichment activities. This was mirrored in what families wanted to see from their schools; families wanted to see more access to academic and social emotional enrichment programs, like tutoring and mental health supports. This was a clear call to action to tackle the deep learning loss facing students, particularly students from low-income households, students of color, and English Learner students across Los Angeles.
We hope this year’s annual representative poll will inform the decisions that school and district leaders make as they work towards implementing the superintendent’s new strategic plan and addressing historic inequities exacerbated by the pandemic. Families generally support the plan, feel more represented in school-based decision-making than they did last year, and are calling on schools to prioritize providing students with the support, knowledge, and skills to lead thriving adult lives.
We extend our deep gratitude to all the families who participated in the poll. Your commitment to the students of Los Angeles Unified is invaluable and your message is clear: the only way we will create a truly just and equitable school system is to continue incorporating the voices and perspectives of families.
Major Trends and Findings
Families share their perspectives on the state of Los Angeles public education.
- What matters most to families
When asked where Los Angeles Unified should focus its resources, families prioritized academics, enrichment opportunities, and social emotional learning during and outside of school hours. Families identified high quality tutoring as one clear way that schools can support children across the district.
- What families want to see
Families are clear they wanted to see better information about their child’s academic progress toward grade-level learning. Compared to last year, there was an overall increase in families who wanted to see information on access and progress on grade-level, high quality curriculum and what academic standards their child should be learning and what they are actually learning.
- How families feel about where the district is headed
Families expressed support for the aims of the new Los Angeles Unified 2022-26 strategic plan, especially providing students with the support, knowledge, and skills to reach their full academic potential and graduate college and be career ready, and felt it was important that the superintendent be evaluated on the plan. Similar to last year, there was strong support for a public evaluation of the superintendent.
- How are families represented in decision-making
After the first full academic year of in-person learning, families report even higher feelings of being heard and represented in school-based decisions than they did last year.
- How committed are families to their current school system
Many families are struggling with the decision about where to send their children to school long term. The majority of families plan to stay in public school options within Los Angeles Unified. Those that are not committed to staying in their Los Angeles Unified neighborhood school are mostly considering attending nearby districts within Los Angeles County.
Potential respondents were invited via email or phone to participate in the survey, with around half of surveys and interviews conducted by phone (n=242)—with half reached on cell phones and half on landlines. Phone surveys were conducted with live English and Spanish-speaking interviewers—81% (n=404) were conducted in English and 19% (n=96) in Spanish. Respondents were screened to ensure they self-identify as currently responsible for school-aged children in public or charter schools within the geographic boundary of Los Angeles Unified. The margin of error is ±4.4 percentage points for the full survey sample of 500, and higher among subgroups and questions not asked of the full sample.
All questions and results are publicly available and disaggregated by school type, family income level, race, and English Learner status in this report. Results uplifted in the major findings were identified by GPSN in collaboration with LMU-CEEL. Responses from families who identified that their children are English Learners are generally similar to the overall findings of the poll, and there is little variation by school type.