To download our full indicator methodology, click here.
School and District Profile(s) in Brief
We Budget provides advocates and parents with the information they need to facilitate more equitable investments and outcomes in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Through a collective process with parents and advocates, we have selected 22 indicators to help them track investments and outcomes in their schools. We Budget provides general information on school enrollment and demographics in addition to key data across three areas: school funding, academics, and school climate and community.
We Budget includes schools in LAUSD that are traditional public schools or Alternative Schools of Choice, including any locally funded charters, that serve grades K–12. We Budget also includes select data on district-operated early education centers and state preschools. The early education centers and preschools included in We Budget do not encompass privately operated preschools or early education centers. We Budget also does not include individual profiles on directly funded charters in the district, commonly referred to as independent charters. For more information on these distinctions between charter schools, please visit this resource from the Education Data Partnership.
Selection of Indicators
We went through an intensive, year-long process to select indicators supported by literature and on-the-ground experience. Through Advancement Project California’s ongoing education advocacy, we culled through over 30 indicators associated with student outcomes and school success. We analyzed and presented these indicators to grassroots partners to help validate the data and guide the selection of indicators that were most meaningful to the education landscape in LAUSD. Together with our partners, we selected the final list of 22 indicators based on their availability, reliability, and relevance to ongoing work in LAUSD.
For budget indicators, we applied our experience in investigating and analyzing school district budgets and Local Control Accountability Plans to make sense of LAUSD’s budget development reports. After a thorough review and analysis, we grouped program codes included in LAUSD’s budget development documents into their most relevant program categories.
Comparing Schools—Best Rate Comparisons
We compare each school’s performance on key indicators to the best rate for schools of their type in LAUSD. These comparisons are meant to help highlight disparities in the district and assist parents and community partners in their advocacy. Schools are compared only to schools serving the same grade levels. For example, the best rate shown on a profile for an elementary school represents the best rate for elementary schools across the district. In some cases, multiple schools may share the best rate, meaning no single school in the district has the best outcome, rather multiple schools do. In rare cases, we exclude a school from best rate comparisons if they represent a special case scenario (like a primarily independent study school).
Best rate comparisons are only included for indicators in the funding, academics, and school climate and community sections of school-level profiles. The best rate for any indicator may represent the highest or lowest value in the district depending on if the indicator represents a “positive” or “negative” outcome. In other words, the best rate for suspensions represents the school(s) with the lowest suspension rate while the best rate for students meeting or exceeding standards in math represents the school(s) with the highest percent of students meeting or exceeding math standards. We include a data-driven insight with each best rate comparison to help advocates and parents understand each comparison.
Comparisons across the District—District Profiles
We summarize the data at two levels so that advocates and parents can see how the district is doing overall when it comes to student success and funding. We first provide a summary profile for each school type, or grade range served. These include preschools and early education centers, elementary schools, intermediate and junior high schools, high schools, and K–12 or elementary-high combination schools. For each of these profiles by school type, we summarize the indicators just for the schools included on We Budget. Meaning, the estimates on these profiles only represent traditional public schools or Alternative Schools of Choice, including locally funded, but not directly funded charters. The preschool and early education center profile is representative of district-operated early education centers and state preschools.
We also include a summary profile for the district overall to provide parents and advocates general data on how schools across the district are doing. Indicators included in this profile may or may not include directly funded and locally funded charters in LAUSD. Please refer to our full indicator methodology for additional details.
Data on Race and Ethnicity
We include data broken down by race and ethnicity where available. We follow the racial categories available in data from the California Department of Education. However, we use the term Latinx to refer to Hispanics and Latinos and to be inclusive of the gender identities of students. The racial and ethnic categories used by the California Department of Education are: American Indian or Alaska Native, not Hispanic or Latino; Asian, not Hispanic or Latino; Pacific Islander, not Hispanic or Latino; Filipino, not Hispanic or Latino; African American, not Hispanic or Latino; White, not Hispanic or Latino; Two or More Races, not Hispanic or Latino; and Hispanic or Latino (of any race). Unfortunately, these categories do not allow for the accurate measurement of the overlapping identities, particularly of our American Indian and Alaska Native students who may also identify as Latinx. Failure to capture these overlapping identities can serve to mask disparities.
Each indicator has its own limitations due to the underlying data available. We discuss any limitations associated with each indicator in our full indicator methodology.
Generally, the indicators we present provide just a snapshot of student needs, outcomes, and funding for each school. The data provided on We Budget is not a comprehensive picture of how schools are doing especially when it comes to serving subgroups other than students of color. We include data on race and ethnicity, but do not include outcomes for intersectional experiences related to class, immigrant status, or disability. Thus, the data presented may hide important disparities by race, class, immigration status, and more. Lastly, we do not include race and ethnicity data for every indicator. This is due to the lack of racially disaggregated data for particular indicators.
The budget data included on We Budget have limitations. We pull our budget data from LAUSD’s school budget development reports and spending reports available for every school. These documents are not inclusive of all charters in LAUSD; thus, we are missing important information on how charters are spending in these categories compared to traditional public schools. LAUSD’s budget development reports are also incredibly complex and require detailed analysis to make sense of program, or spending, codes. They are regularly updated by schools and the district. The funding estimates included on We Budget are our best point-in-time estimates of how schools are spending dollars on key categories for Fiscal Year 2019–20. These estimates could deviate from other sources due to the date of the data or underlying differences in how we may categorize budget program codes.