Cal State math proposal would create an unfair barrier for black and Latino students, critics say

Source: Los Angeles Times

A controversial Cal State University proposal to require a fourth year of math-related coursework for admission came under robust questioning and at times harsh criticism Wednesday from top state educators and others who said it would unfairly block black and Latino students from the system with no guarantee that it would improve graduation rates.

More than 90 social justice groups, education organizations, and school district and legislative leaders from across the state have voiced their opposition to the plan, first proposed in 2016 and enthusiastically embraced by CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White as a way to raise standards and graduation rates, close achievement equity gaps and better prepare California’s future workforce.

Elisha Smith Arrillaga, executive director of Education Trust-West, a nonprofit research group focused on educational equity, said she wants the CSU to identify schools and districts that would be disparately affected, create a plan in collaboration with the California Department of Education to minimize those impacts, and consider alternatives before taking up this policy.

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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.