Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has worked as a classroom teacher. He earned his Ph.D. in social ethics. He knows firsthand what the power of a good education can do to propel our young people toward success.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas knows how much a good primary education and focused learning opportunities can do to help a young person acquire basic skills, provide them with experiences to sharpen their knowledge and enable them to achieve success in higher education and, ultimately, their chosen careers.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas knows education is the key that opens doors to individual accomplishment. He knows education prepares our young people for their future. He knows education is the learning foundation upon which entire communities are built and sustained, from generation-to-generation.
That’s why Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has devoted a sizable amount of his political life keenly focused on collaborative efforts to improve education and create educational opportunities.
Throughout his political career, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has pursued education innovations to promote learning for young people and preschool children age 0 to 5.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas views potential in every young person. That’s why he has been strong advocate for second-chance learning opportunities for young people who have entered our juvenile justice system and need help, guidance, continuing education and mentoring as they prepare to make their return to their home neighborhoods and communities.
In the past several years, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has made education and access to learning two of his highest priorities:
Ridley-Thomas Delivers Results in Early Childhood Education
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas continuously monitors the effectiveness of early care and education (ECE) programs in the Second District to ensure that our children and families receive high quality childhood development services. He urged Congressional members to oppose massive federal budget cuts in early childhood education programs and fought to preserve ECE funding at current levels.
He appointed education advocate David Crippens to Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) Board of Commissioners. He appointed Antronette Yancey, MD, MPH, a leading public health expert, to the First 5 LA Commission.
Ridley-Thomas Fights for Children with Autism
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas regards autism services for children in the African American community as one of the new civil rights issues of our time. He has strong advocated for closing racial disparities in the delivery of health and education services for children with autism. He secured funding from First 5 LA to increase grants to community-based nonprofit service organizations for the early identification of autism and childhood developmental disabilities.
Ridley-Thomas Promotes Second Chance for Juveniles on Probation
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has fought for education innovations and learning improvements for young people in our county’s juvenile probation camp schools.
He championed the appointment of Arturo Delgado, Ph.D. as L.A. County Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Delgado’s mission is to improve educational programs and learning outcomes for youth in juvenile probation camp schools.
He reviewed model probation camps education programs in Washington, D.C. and Houston, Texas to determine if their innovative probation camp education efforts could be adopted in L.A. County. He co-hosted a youth-led summit on the school-to-prison pipeline in cooperation with the Children’s Defense Fund. He fought to protect education programs impacting incarcerated youth from massive cuts by Congress.
Ridley-Thomas Leads ‘Freedom School’ Drive for Literacy
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas let L.A. County’s effort to introduce ‘Freedom Schools’ to the Second District, in collaboration with the Children’s Defense Fund. In three years of solid support for Freedom Schools’ literacy programs, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has invested nearly $500,000 for summer literacy learning programs. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas plans to expand the Freedom School literacy model to county juvenile probation camps. He intends to create weekend Freedom School programs in key locations within the Second District.
In partnership with City Year Los Angeles, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas hosted a daylong Freedom School service program at Martin Luther King Jr. Multi-Ambulatory Care Center (MLK-MACC) that brought together more than 300 students who painted a vibrant 200-foot mural along a pedestrian walkway in Willowbrook.
Ridley-Thomas Connects Health and Education for Learning Success
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas is leading a focused effort to create new school-based health centers at Second District schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Twelve school-based health centers – which will be open to students, family members and school community residents – have been opened or are presently under construction. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas backs school district plans to create, build and operate an additional nine school-based health centers in the Second District. He knows that good student health has a direct positive impact on student attendance and educational performance in the classroom.
Ridley-Thomas Fights for College Students in Needs
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas led Los Angeles County’s effort to promote ‘Hands Across California’ – a three-year effort to raise $67 million for community college scholarships that will be awarded to students in need. He has hosted two youth summits to get direct input from Second District young people on the top issues that concern them the most.