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Changing the Status Quo for Los Angeles Students

Marcus Hughes (Metro Atlanta ‘03) believes a great education shouldn’t be a long bus ride away.

By The TFA Editorial Team

May 22, 2019

The Audacity to Make a Difference

Marcus Hughes (Metro Atlanta ‘03) remembers taking long bus rides across Los Angeles in order to attend school in a more affluent neighborhood. He now works at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, where he works to ensure that all kids have access to a great education, without needing to leave their neighborhood.

My name is Marcus Hughes. I am a 2003 Atlanta alum. I taught fifth grade. Now my title is the Coordinator of School Transformation, K-5, for the Partnership of Los Angeles Schools. I am an LAUSD student. I went to elementary in Los Angeles. My mom's from Compton. My dad and his family are all from Watts. And so when I step on 103rd Street in Watts, this is a street where I know my family's feet have laid and other families that really find this community home and they deserve the best, and so that's what I'm working to try to give.

Los Angeles is a complicated city. The zip code completely determines educational outcomes. There are programs and initiatives that people try out, but none of them fundamentally change the problem.

My mother worked extremely hard and I went to school in a more affluent area. I was taking a bus from the time I was 13, 14 years old through some of the dangerous parts of the city, but it was what was required if I wanted to actually pursue my dreams.

So yeah, we can continue the status quo where a few kids actually get the education they deserve, or we can try to take the education they deserve to them. And that's why I'm doing this work now. I want to make sure that those families don't have to move around the city. They don't have to jump on buses. And it was something that I loved about Teach For America. And what I continue to love about Teach For America is the fact that there's this audacity that we can make a difference and that we're going to not just talk about it, but we're going to put some teeth behind it.