Overcoming the “One Size Fits All” Model

When she spoke, she harbored a familiar, thick accent, one that I had just a few years ago. She asked me where the “C” building was and she paused after every other word, trying hard to mask her accent. I started speaking in Tagalog and I saw her visibly sigh in relief.

As we walked to her class, she told me she was struggling to navigate through our school and she was placed in the English Learner program. She told me about her frustrations because she felt like she couldn’t express clearly what she wanted to say. She wasn’t accustomed to the learning style used in her new classroom as it was so different from the learning style used in the Philippines. This is why data disaggregation is so crucial. We can’t manage to create an equitable public education for all students if we’re scared to admit that something can be improved — that we can reimagine our models to be more inclusive of all the students in our classrooms. When we gain better data to understand how many students are actually struggling under the model we worked so hard to create, we can better conceptualize how it’s not fair to subject students to the “one size fits all” model.

Ultimately, the enrollment form is about being seen. The new enrollment forms from LAUSD provide access to and analysis of more detailed data — namely, disaggregated data — which is a useful tool for improving educational outcomes for students of color. Furthermore, the re-enrollment form calls for the consideration of new classes based on disaggregated data. Classes that are centered around ethnic studies.

We, students, are excited to learn. We’re so enthusiastic to learn about our history but our history is erased from a lot of our textbooks. We find out outside of the classroom that we actually had a role in American events but we were never credited for what we did. Things like that really discourages a lot of students to dig deeper because it invalidates everything that our ancestors did, therefore invalidating us. Learning about things that don’t apply to us reflects on our performances in schools. Data disaggregation plays a role in figuring out who really benefits from the curriculums we have now and who would benefit from a more representative take on topics, like Black history and Asian-American history.

For students of color who want to learn about their history or their past, we have to delve deeper on our own rather than learning about critical historical moments that should be taught in classrooms. Data disaggregation is crucial for an equitable education. It is important for LAUSD to match their commitments to diversity to the topics taught in the classroom.

The Everyone Counts Enrollment Guide” is available to help walk LAUSD parents and students through the newest enrollment process. This document is currently being translated to other languages and will be available soon!

By: Frances Suavillo
LAUSD Student Board Member
AANHPI AMEMSA Steering Committee

Advancing Justice-LA is the nation's largest legal aid and civil rights organization serving the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community