Annenberg Learner Program Director Nati Rodriguez Op-Ed Featured in EdSource

As unprecedented funding flows to the nation’s schools thanks to the American Rescue Plan (ARP), Annenberg Learner Program Director Nati Rodriguez outlines how educators can help ensure that support gets to the students and classrooms that need it. 

In her piece for EdSource, Rodriguez outlines new data that show that LA only started using some of this historic funding this fall. This comes as school districts grapple with widening gaps in learning exacerbated by the pandemic.

Rodriguez highlights that  a lack of access to resources like a tablet, internet, or transportation have all made it harder for students in LA – and around the country – to make up for lost learning. 

As the second largest school district in the country, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has always struggled to communicate and reach the vast expanse of schools and families. As Rodriguez mentions, most LAUSD schools operate independently, giving them the freedom and autonomy to best-serve their students’ needs. The challenge is that beneficial information or resources can get lost. Books, tablets, and other resources go unused when schools or parents don’t know what’s available to them. 

The pandemic may have created a crisis within the education system, but it’s our responsibility to respond accordingly. As funding flows into education across the country, let’s make sure it’s used equitably and expeditiously, and ensure coordination across all student spaces from the classroom to after-school programs to students’ homes.
Nati Rodriguez
Program Director, Annenberg Learner

Rodriguez argues this must change to ensure effective and efficient use of the unprecedented ARP funding. She outlines three steps to ensure schools, parents, and educators can make use of these resources: 

  • Communicate better with parents Ensure parents, families, and community partners know tutoring or other support is available. When parents and caretakers are aware of after-school programs and resources, they can help get students in the right place at the right time to benefit. 
  • Coordinate better with schools – As funding and support from the federal government arrives in the district, LAUSD must work closely with schools to ensure that support makes it into classrooms. Many schools operate independently and often don’t coordinate this closely – this must change if we want to see real results from this funding. 
  • Create tutoring labs – Anywhere students gather should be turned into an opportunity for learning. Annenberg Learner is working with Step Up Tutoring to recruit and train more tutors to support students across the city. If you’re interested, reach out to Step Up Tutoring.

Read the full piece today →

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