Exclusive: Less Than 25% of L.A. Public School Seniors Last Year Took the Type of Elective Class California State University Wants to Make a Requirement

Source: The 74

As the country’s largest four-year public university considers adding a fourth-year math/quantitative reasoning requirement to its admissions standards, new data obtained by The 74 show that less than a quarter of L.A. Unified seniors last year took such a class.

About 23.5 percent of seniors — or 8,472 of 36,124 — were enrolled in a fourth-year math/quantitative reasoning course during the 2018-19 school year, according to the district’s Office of General Counsel. The California State University system, which spans 23 campuses and serves some 481,000 students, will decide in the coming weeks whether to tack on this type of elective class to its admissions requirements for prospective freshmen, starting in fall 2027 when current fifth-graders enter college.

That more than 75 percent of seniors in the state’s largest school district were not enrolled in what could become a required CSU admissions course elicited serious concerns from advocates already worried about college access and readiness among L.A. Unified graduates, less than half of whom were on track to be eligible for CSU admissions last year under the current standards.

This should be “raising alarm bells for everyone,” said Elisha Smith Arrillaga, executive director of Education Trust-West. “We need to have a serious conversation as a state about who has access to college and who doesn’t.”

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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.