learn / 2015

Leveraging The Children’s Movement to Make LA the Best Place to Learn

Leveraging The Children’s Movement to Make LA the Best Place to Learn

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Children Now

Children Now will help make LA County the best place to learn by recruiting, connecting and building the advocacy capacity of a diverse range of LA groups, including parent, faith, business and community organizations. With tools and training from Children Now, these groups will collectively push for local and state policies designed to ensure that all of the estimated 793,811 kids ages 0-5 living in LA County have access to quality early childhood programs.

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Mobilize for systems change
  • Advocate with policymakers and leaders
  • Implement and track policy

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

The gap in services and supports for children birth-5 years is stunning. Some families have access to many high-quality services, while others have absolutely nothing. For example, a parent making minimum wage in California would need to spend 71% of her income on full-day infant care. By the time kids start kindergarten, there are already wide learning gaps that are extraordinarily difficult to close. With only 55% of Los Angeles third-grade students reading at grade level, bolder steps are needed to support our youngest learners. The problem is urgent, and the Movement is a game changer. Public policy change is actually the most efficient and fastest way to scale innovative high-impact programs and secure the resources needed to improve early childhood outcomes for kids. Children Now created The Children’s Movement to connect a diverse range of organizations and provide the collective advocacy power needed to make kids and early learning the top investment and policy priority. Over the next year, LA County will become the best place to learn with the help of significant increases in proven early childhood programs, especially for low-income children, foster care kids and English language learners. This will be accomplished through these activities:

  • Identify and recruit 100 additional LA County groups to join the Children’s Movement;
  • Spread awareness and create urgency about the need for more investments that increase quality early learning supports;
  • Provide tailored tools, such as fact sheets, talking points and sign-on letters that allow groups to successfully engage in local and state advocacy;
  • Provide intensive, hands on advocacy training to all Movement members within targeted districts. As a result, at least 4 school districts in LA County addition to LAUSD will initiate or increase investments in proven early childhood programs, and the 2016-17 state budget will include increased investments in quality early childhood programs like quality child care, comprehensive home visitation and increased preschool support (with over a quarter of the state’s population, these state investments have a substantial impact on our County). Longer-term, Movement members will create a sustained, powerful force for local and state policy change that will help bridge the equity gap in the fragmented birth-5 system. This includes efforts aimed at creating equal access to programs working to close the opportunity gap for all kids, starting at birth.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Children Now will track metrics around 3 key areas as follows:

Equity: At least 4 LA County school districts, in addition to LAUSD, will initiate policies or increase investments in proven early childhood models, with a focus on English language learners and kids in poverty and foster care. District budgets will be reviewed to verify these early investments and policies.

Community engagement: The number of Movement members in LA County will be increased by at least 100. Membership growth and diversity will be tracked through online databases.

Scale and Leverage: Participation of LA County Movement members in local and state level advocacy campaigns that lead to increased support for quality birth-5 programs will increase by at least 35% (policies Movement members will influence include quality child care and preschool, home visiting and others). Groups that sign onto campaigns and attend trainings to influence school district and state Pro-Kid policies will be tracked.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support