Strategic Initiative
Challenging education inequality in the classroom and beyond.

Education reduces poverty yet living in poverty makes getting a quality education nearly impossible. Education and poverty are place-based. How do the dynamics of place and poverty contribute to educational disparities between schools in low-income neighborhoods and wealthier neighborhoods? 


The Center explores these critical questions through various community-engaged projects. The goal is twofold: 1) To develop a Rooted Theory that can explain how these three variables conspire to create the presented challenge -- that is, education is necessary to lift oneself out of poverty, yet getting a quality education if you are poor is almost impossible; and 2): to develop a Theory of Change (see City Heights Youth for Change) drawn from the Rooted Theory that provides the basis for actions taken to address the disparities. Both theories aim to reflect the perspective of vulnerable populations impacted by the disparities.


  • Educate and activate the community impacted by these disparities for the purpose of creating authentic demand on the school district to make equity in educational outcomes its No.1 priority.
  • Articulate a holistic statement from the perspective of those impacted by the disparities that speaks to the relationship among the three variables and how they conspire to create/maintain these educational disparities.
  • Work with the members of the community who developed the Rooted Theory and Theory of Change to develop a revolutionary framework that informs a community-led strategic plan for addressing these disparities.