A new report from the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools examines the relationship between educational outcomes and social, health and environmental factors of Black students in Los Angeles County.

The research makes it clear that a disproportionate number of Black children in L.A. County reside in neighborhoods where poverty is concentrated, educational enrichment opportunities are limited, environmental hazards are severe, and resources are lacking.

Given the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 virus on low-income communities, the researchers contend that the challenges facing Black students have likely worsened.

“The impact of the global pandemic on the education of Black students may potentially be devastating,” said Tyrone Howard, professor of education and faculty director of the Center for the Transformation of Schools. “This new research can inform the strategic use of resources to address inequalities, racism, and historical disadvantage, and guide decision making to better serve Black students. 

“The long and persistent presence of systemic racism inside and outside of schools continues to affect the educational experiences and outcomes of Black students. The report also offers examples of successful efforts and specific recommendations to assist educators and policymakers.”

The researchers studied 14 school districts, serving 800 Black students or more in Los Angeles County. Together, these school districts serve more than two-thirds of Black students in the region. The findings spanned neighborhoods from the northern reaches of the Antelope Valley to Long Beach.

“Our hope is that this research will generate intense attention on the needs of Black students in the county,” said Stanley Johnson Jr., lead author of the study, “and spur innovative and meaningful actions to address the economic, social, emotional and environmental challenges that shape and hinder their educational opportunities. We can and must act boldly.”

The report includes a detailed table of funding made available to school districts in the report by the recently passed federal American Rescue Plan. The 14 districts examined in the research are in line to receive $6 billion in COVID-19 relief funding to support learning recovery efforts.

Read the full news release about the Digging Deeper report.