Frequently Asked Questions
1.What is the L.A. Compact?
The L.A. Compact is an unprecedented commitment by 18 major L.A. institutions that want to see positive change in our local public schools, and better prepare local students for college and the workplace. The Compact is the first time that LAUSD, the City of L.A., the business and philanthropic communities, our school administrator union and local labor union, and 11 institutions of higher education have sat down together to candidly discuss and aggressively tackle educational reform, and then commit to work together to get it done.
2. What are the goals of the L.A. Compact?
The L.A. Compact is focused on three major goals:
- All students graduate from high school;
- All students have access to and are prepared for success in college;
- All students have access to pathways to sustainable jobs and careers.
3. How will these goals be achieved under the L.A. Compact?
The L.A. Compact focuses on eight, specific strategic focus areas:
- Achieving high quality teaching and learning in classrooms
- Building leadership capacity at all levels
- Streamlining and decentralizing operations
- Expanding innovative practices that are working
- Implementing a new accountability system
- Coordinating advocacy on priority educational policy and funding issues
- Providing multiple pathways for workforce and career preparation
- Ensuring support services for all students and families
Within each of these strategic focus areas, the L.A. Compact signers have outlined specific activities and initiatives on which they will collaborate over the coming months. Each signer has also made individual commitments toward achieving the agreement’s goals. Already, there are several cross-organizational working groups that have been established to begin tackling several of these initiatives.
4. Who are the signers of the Compact?
Signers include the Mayor of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles City Council President, the Superintendent of LAUSD, the Board President of LAUSD, the President & CEO of the L.A. Area Chamber, the President of United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the President of the Associated Administrators of L.A., the L.A. County Federation of Labor/AFL-CIO, and a coalition of 11 colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area.
5. Why is the L.A. Compact needed?
We’re facing the worst economic crisis in 70 years, and we can clearly get a lot more done if we work together and leverage resources than if working separately. School budgets are shrinking. Student high school graduation rates are unacceptable. Students are not prepared for the 21st century global economy. We need to find ways to do things differently and collaborate, and that’s what the Compact is all about.
6. Why do this now?
We are currently in an historic economic downturn, face huge job losses and more budget cuts are looming. Instead of being prepared to enter the new economy, many students are falling through the cracks and not graduating. We can’t wait. We must act together now and develop creative solutions for some of the tougher issues, and put the interests of students first and foremost.
7. Why is the L.A. Compact significant or different than previous attempts at reform?
The L.A. Compact is the first time that LAUSD leaders, the City, higher education, the business and philanthropic communities, and several of our unions and community partners, have sat down together and agreed to a new direction for major educational reforms in Los Angeles. The L.A. Compact is the most comprehensive approach to date on making meaningful changes in our educational system. It’s about finding common ground where we can work together and have the most impact.
8. What do you hope to accomplish through the L.A. Compact?
We believe we can get a lot more done working together than separately, particularly when budgets are shrinking. Already, the L.A. Compact has been behind the formation of LASDI, the Los Angeles School Development Institute, which is helping districts, schools, teacher groups and others come up with innovative new school plans under the recently passed “School Choice” resolution. We've also been coordinating our advocacy at the state and federal level for more dollars for our schools, and recently successfully kept $33 million in QEIA funds (Quality Education Investment Act) from leaving the district. These are just some out-of-the-gate examples of the potential behind the Compact.
9. Who is the lead organization for the L.A. Compact and each of its strategies?
All signatories to the Compact are committed to moving these reforms forward, with different organizations pledging individually to take on different initiatives and roles around each strategic area. We already have a number of working groups who are starting to implement strategies identified in the Compact. We know that by working together on issues where there is common ground, we can have a lot more impact than if working separately.
10. What will be the big focus for the L.A. Compact over the next 3-6 months?
- We will be working together to jointly advocate for state and federal funding, including federal i3 and Race to the Top funds.
- We will be very involved in supporting and assisting the “School Choice” resolution, providing help through LASDI to help groups submitting plans to operate new schools.
- We will be focusing on accountability through the School Report Card, and using it and other data systems to identify and help turn around low-achieving schools.
11. Has something like this ever been done in other cities or school districts?
In 1982, the City of Boston brought together its leaders to collectively address educational reform, which had been done in a piecemeal fashion up to that point. More than 25 years later, the Boston Compact is still a viable force for school reform, continuing to push for positive change, and has had some major successes in improving Boston’s public schools.
12. Does the Compact apply to public schools only? What about private schools?
The L.A. Compact is focused on the L.A. public school system, including elementary, middle and high schools. The higher education community is also on board to assure that as many students as possible are adequately prepared and ready to attend and succeed in college upon graduation.
13. What’s in the Compact for students? How will they specifically benefit from the Compact?
The Compact is about mobilizing the entire L.A. community to support students. It focuses on high quality teaching and learning, and seeks to provide students smaller schools and more personalized learning environments. It’s very focused on bringing more resources to the school site level and preparing students for a global 21st century economy and workplace.
14. What’s in the Compact for parents? How will they specifically benefit from the Compact?
The Compact supports initiatives that get parents engaged in their children’s education, that better coordinate community resources to students, and provide more safety initiatives for campuses. Strong support for accountability measures, like the School Report Card, gives parents additional ways to assess their children’s education. Already through a L.A. Compact-inspired collaboration, LAUSD and United Way are holding a series of parent meetings to help parents better understand the School Report Card and how it can help them with their child’s education.
15. Why is the L.A. Compact different from previous reform efforts?
The L.A. Compact is the first time that LAUSD leaders, City leaders, the business and philanthropic communities, our school administrator union and local labor union, and 11 institutions of higher education, have sat down together to outline a new direction for achieving major educational reform in L.A. schools, and then committing to work together to get that done. We have also never witnessed the economic hardships we’re currently in, making this reform initiative more important and timely than any previous efforts.
16. How will you know that the L.A. Compact has been successful, one year from now or in five years?
Each of the three goals in the L.A. Compact is tied to data-specific measurements. Movement against these measurements will clearly show the progress we’ve made year-over-year.
17. How do charter schools fit into the L.A. Compact?
The L.A. Compact encompasses all Los Angeles public schools.
“The L.A. Compact signifies a major step forward for educational reform in Los Angeles.”
— Jack O'Connell, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Are you interested in showing your support for the L.A. Compact?
Download PDF versions of the Compact on the documents page.