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Monthly Newsletter


Dear Child Advocate,

August was a devastating and eye-opening month. Our country bore witness to two catastrophic events: one was man-made and filled with hate and intolerance, and the other was caused by the natural processes of the Earth.

On August 12, 2017, the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, VA hosted by white nationalists woke many in the country to how hate is alive and active. But the actions of those individuals are not what this country represents. And, we will not sit silently when confronted with violent extremism. Although it is clear that we have entered into a new stage of our struggle, the struggle is the same. We must continue to fight against racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and bigotry, and we must be bold and loud when doing so.

Most recently, Hurricane Harvey shattered the lives of tens of thousands of people all across the Gulf Coast. In east Texas, rains, winds and flooding have killed dozens of people and destroyed the homes of so many children and families. We are grateful that our Children's Defense Fund family in Texas remain safe. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those suffering as well as those on the ground doing what they can to help. In days and weeks ahead, our fellow Texans will continue to need our support as they rebuild their lives.

In both of these instances, we saw Americans come together and lend help in times of great need. This is the spirit by which our country has operated for centuries and by which we must continue to uplift each other. Join us in calling upon our leaders in federal, state and local government to take swift action to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey and not turn a blind eye to rhetoric and actions that seek to divide us.

In Solidarity,

Shimica Gaskins
Executive Director

Featured Updates


Speaking Truth to Power

Parents and community organizations celebrated that the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) redistributed more than $17 million in funds to be spent more equitably and in a more targeted manner based on student need. This comes after an administrative complaint was filed on behalf of Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA), Latinos In Action-California, and parents in April alleging that the district had misspent $40 million intended specifically for low-income students, English language learners, and foster youth. Complainants still question some of LBUSD’s budgeting decisions prompting Public Advocates, Inc. and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, who are handling the case pro bono, to appeal to the California Department of Education.

In the complaint and subsequent appeal filed Aug. 23, complainants challenged the district’s spending of funds that are required to be targeted towards new or better services for high-need students under the 2013 school funding law known as the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Under that law, students in three high-need groups — low-income kids, foster youth and English learners — generate additional state funding for their schools. In turn, district officials are supposed to spend that money on programs addressing the needs of students from those specific groups.


A Successful CDF Freedom Schools® Summer!

“This camp is so much better than my old camp," said Jayme Pollard, first year scholar at Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles. "Here, I like the books. I like the cheers and chants. I like the parent fun days. I like the clubs like samba dancing and ballroom dancing."

Jayme is just one of the approximately 1,500 students who participated in our 21 CDF Freedom Schools across the state this summer. In addition to the intensive Integrated Reading Curriculum, our scholars engaged in a variety of activities including photography, dancing, sports, art as well as field trips to local universities and museums.

We are deeply grateful for all our partner organizations and to the college students who dedicated their summer to CDF Freedom Schools students, taught and mentored them, and helped them fall in love with reading. And we continue to be thankful for all of you who support our work and make it possible.


Key Children's Bills Move Forward

Several of our priority state bills to level the playing field for California's children are just two steps away from becoming law. Last week, a bill to ensure that students are not shamed or denied a meal for their parent's unpaid school meal debt passed a key fiscal committee with bipartisan support. Bills to reduce school suspensions, eliminate life without parole sentences for youth, and strengthen Miranda rights for children are awaiting final passage from the state Assembly before headed to the Governor for his signature or veto.


Support Our Work


You Can Make a Difference

CDF-CA is effective in large part because of the commitment and energy of our dedicated partners and individual supporters. Please show your commitment to our nation’s children, our future, by making a donation to support our efforts in 2017 and beyond.


News Roundup


Children’s Defense Fund-California Denounces Trump Administration’s Termination of DACA

The Trump Administration’s decision to end the DACA program is an immoral assault on our immigrant youth and families that will endanger the safety and well-being of 800,000 young people – including 240,000 Californians – many of whom are in school, working or defending this country. Read the full story ...

Sept 05, 2017

LBUSD Local Funding Fight Appealed to California Department of Education Long Beach Post

Community organizers, parents of Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) students and their legal representation stood outside the steps of Washington Middle School Thursday morning where they organized a press conference to announce that they would again challenge the funding allocations of the district, this time appealing to the California Department of Education. Read the full story ...

Aug 24, 2017

Children's Defense Fund Files Appeal Over LBUSD's Spending Plan

A state branch of the national advocacy group Children's Defense Fund has filed a complaint with the state Department of Education over how Long Beach Unified School District is spending its Local Control Funding Formula money. Read the full story ...

Aug 24, 2017

Advocates for students claim partial victory in dispute over LBUSD spending

Attorneys and student advocates declared a partial victory Thursday in their dispute with Long Beach Unified School District over its spending of more than $40 million they contend should have been dedicated for programs tailored for the district’s neediest students. Read the full story ...

Aug 24, 2017

Estudiantes con altas necesidades en Long Beach recibirán más ayuda gracias a una queja

Marina Román Sánchez, madre de dos jóvenes con necesidades de aprendizaje, dijo que fue muy doloroso enfrentar al sistema educativo del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Long Beach (LBUSD) para luchar por la educación de sus hijos. Read the full story ...

Aug 24, 2017

Top Photo


Michelle Jones, our Programs Coordinator, met with about 20 USC Masters of Social Work students, concluding their weekend long immersion experience before their heading back to school following Monday. Most students are interested in mental health, child and family services and the geriatric population.


Recent Resources


CDF Freedom Schools – the vision of Marian Wright Edelman – are in essence an educational paradigm shift. In Other Words: Stories from Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® Sites in California seeks to capture the uniqueness and transformative power of CDF Freedom Schools through those who live it – the scholars, servant leader interns, trainers, parents, and administrators.


Untold Stories Behind One of America's Best Urban School Districts focuses on recent education equity and racial justice trends in LBUSD related to school climate. The report explores how students, especially students of color and high-need studentshave been impacted in recent years by exclusionary school climate practices.

Our 2017 policy agenda, Leveling The Playing Field for California Children, identifies the steps that California lawmakers can take today to lift children out of poverty, provide quality health care to every child, ensure educational equity, and transform the juvenile justice system to focus on prevention and rehabilitation.


© 2017 Children's Defense Fund - California. All rights reserved