Students For Education Reform Action Network (SFER AN) is a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization that supports, trains, and coaches student leaders who seek to improve K-12 education in the U.S. SFER AN members demand policy change, hold elected leaders accountable at the polls, influence the platforms of candidates running for office, and build power in communities like Los Angeles that have historically been left behind.

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Why We Need SFER Action Network in LA

We're a group of local college student activists committed to K-12 quality education. We believe that all kids deserve a great education, and all families deserve great school choices. We need school board members who understand our communities, will address our students’ needs, and will fight for an equitable education for all kids in Los Angeles.

Sadly, not all students in Los Angeles Unified School District are prepared for success in college and life beyond. Only 52 percent of all high school students in LAUSD graduated meeting University of California/California State University admissions requirements in 2014-15. (California Department of Education)

While the district has made incremental gains in achievement over the last few years, there is more work to be done. In 2015-16, only 39% of LAUSD students met English standards and 29% met math standards on the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

We continue to fail our city's most disadvantaged children, and the achievement gap persists. African American and Latino students, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students all performed worse than average on the assessments. Join us as we organize to fight for quality education for all students!

About SFER Action Network’s Fellowship- Runoff Election Spring 2017

The SFER Action Network- Los Angeles fellowship is an intensive 8-week program from March-May 2017 in which students receive guided campaign and leadership training, build and organize community power, and apply their training through direct community engagement. Fellows work on a variety of activities including phone banking, canvassing (door-knocking), meeting with community leaders, planning community events, and researching education issues in each community. The program has a rigorous schedule and is meant to give fellows the expertise and tools to become skilled grassroots organizers.

We've Endorsed Nick Melvoin

For LAUSD School Board District 4

A group of students at UCLA held a meeting, discussed all district 4 candidates, and chose to endorse Nick Melvoin because he believes in quality education for all students, regardless of race, gender or economic background.

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Nick Melvoin

SFER AN- Los Angeles is proud to endorse Nick Melvoin for school board, based on his commitment to putting kids first. As an educator, an advocate, and an attorney, he knows that better isn’t just possible, it’s what our kids deserve.

Dr. Melvoin was born and raised on the Westside of LA. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a Masters in Urban Education from Loyola Marymount University (LMU), and a law degree from the New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar.

Nick served as a seventh and eighth grade English teacher at Markham Middle School, an LAUSD campus in Watts. As a teacher, Nick joined the ACLU, Mayors Riordan and Villaraigosa, and others to bring a ground-breaking civil rights lawsuit which argued that LA’s layoffs violated the rights of students. They won. In addition to serving as a teacher, Nick has worked in the Obama White House with the Domestic Policy Council and the US Attorney’s office. Today, Nick leads and facilitates efforts by students, parents, teachers, and community members to rethink and shape the future of our city’s schools. He is also an adjunct professor at LMU where he teaches teachers how to improve their own advocacy in the classroom. In working for nonprofits such as Teach Plus and Educators 4 Excellence, Nick helps to improve the support teachers across the state receive before and during their time in the classroom, as well as amplify teacher voice in policy-making.

On May 17, Dr. Nick Melvoin will be our choice!

SFER Action Network’s Fellowship- Primary Election Winter 2017

SFER Action Network’s winter fellowship was a 6-week intensive program from January- March 2017. We were proud to endorse Mónica García for board district 2, and thrilled that she won outright in district 2 with 58% of the vote. Mónica is the longest- serving Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board member and we are confident that as a true community advocate, she will work to ensure all children receive a quality education that prepares them for college and success in life, regardless of their zip code.

To drive this win, our 15 fellows and additional volunteers knocked on over 17,000 doors, made over 8,000 phone calls, and identified over 2,200 supporters of Mónica García. They worked tirelessly on behalf of children in underserved neighborhoods like East L.A. and Boyle Heights to support her victory, and we thank them for their hard work! See below to learn more about Mónica.

A group of our most experienced student organizers from across the city unanimously decided to support Mónica García because of her ongoing commitment to ensure all children receive a quality education that prepares them for college and success in life, regardless of their zip code.

Mónica García

SFER AN- Los Angeles is proud to endorse Mónica García , based on her commitment to ensure that every child is prepared to read, write and think critically; to attend college or begin a successful career; and to participate as an engaged member of society.

Dr. García was born and raised in East LA. She went to local schools and graduated of UC, Berkeley with a B.A. in Chicano Studies and Political Science. She then earned her Masters in Social Work from USC.

Mónica currently represents District 2 of LAUSD. In her term in office Dr. García has worked to reach 100% graduation rates with her “Diplomas for All” Call to Action. Dr. García has also championed to have a personalized setting for all students by advocating that students get smaller classroom sizes. Because of this, more than 250,000 are now served through reform models. Dr. García had led the campaign district-wide to pass a $7 billion bond that resulted in a Wellness Center Initiative, “per pupil” funding strategy, focus on the needs of English Learners, restorative justice programs resulting in suspension rates falling 0.9% in 2016.

"I am thrilled that SFER Action Network enables thousands of students to join a vehicle that can help push for quality schools! SFER Action Network students are recent recipients of the service our schools provide. They have the most recent memory among all adults to help us rethink and reshape what 21st century learning can look like. We need more students involved early in the fight for quality schools. Thank you SFER Action Network for your leadership!” –Mónica García

For More Information

Please contact Logan Holmes at lholmes@studentsforedreform.org or at (501) 514-5771. If you are interested in applying to the fellowship, please click here. For more information, please visit our FAQ's.

Who We Are

We are local students committed to improving local schools.

Nathalie Banos

Winter and Spring Fellow

Being a part of SFER AN is important to me because not only do I want to be the voice for my community, but also I believe that every child deserves an equal opportunity. As a product of the LAUSD system, I consider myself fortunate to have made it into a four year university despite all the barriers I faced.

Marie Banos

Winter and Spring Fellow

Growing up I received a good education through the Los Angeles Unified School District that prepared me to move on to college. Now, I am working in the same district and I am witnessing how much the education system is failing our students. Looking back at how much education has changed, motivates me to fight for a better quality education. I want all kids, regardless of race and socioeconomic status, to have the same opportunities I received growing up.

Melissa Chimwaza

Winter and Spring Fellow

Being a part of SFER is important to me because whenever I used to speak about going to college, I said I was most excited to learn about and take part in things that actually matter. Now I’m at UCLA and I’m proud to say that I am an activist for education reform. I want students all over the country to feel empowered and to know that their future is in their hands. I want to be a voice for the underrepresented and marginalized communities that can’t fight for themselves. This is me following my dreams and making long-lasting, impactful change.

Armen Gendjian

Winter and Spring Fellow

As a gifted student at Hoover High in Glendale, CA I was supported, favored and challenged by a great many of my teachers and counselors. Alongside this reality, however, I watched as some of my less academically inclined peers were handed second-third class educations and treated unfairly. I was being prepared to succeed. They were being prepared to struggle until they figured it out.

Trent Gravelle

Winter and Spring Fellow

Education is the number one thing that has gotten me to where I am today. I'm a student at USC who has studied abroad in France and Australia and will soon be conducting research in Senegal. In addition, I tutor children in South Central LA in conjunction with USC JEP and am a part of Tutors for Syria at USC. Without the initial support of my teachers in high school and their unwavering belief in me, I am unsure of whether or not I would have been able to take advantage of the opportunities that were offered to me at university. It was their belief in me that allowed me to believe in myself and self-actualize. I would like to spread that belief to other students alongside Monica Garcia who believes every student can succeed. Belief in children is the key to their education which is the key to their life.

James Jackson

Winter and Spring Fellow

I am a senior at CSU- Dominguez Hills and a real estate broker in the greater Los Angeles area. I am also the parent of an eleven year old child currently attending an LAUSD public school. I joined SFER AN’s 2017 Spring Fellowship in hopes of supporting all students’ right to a quality education. I hope to achieve the goals of high student expectations, excellence in teaching, justice and equality, quality school choices, and services for all students in LAUSD.

Hovig Kelemdjian

Winter and Spring Fellow

I attend Pierce College and I’m majoring in Psychology. I look back on my childhood education and wish someone was there to tell me to keep going and strive for better. I passed with a “C” average, I now look back and see what effect that has caused on my current education. Right now I’m pushing for good grades and get an “A” average but I never learned any tricks as a child that might have helped me. To be a part of SFER I can make that change. I can support the people who can give a voice to these kids mandate a better curriculum, and help teachers do their jobs better. I want to give people the voice that I never received I want change in the best of ways.

Jordan Orenge

Spring Fellow

As an active member of SFER, I'm pleased to work towards specific goals that are child and education prioritized. Great education is the foundation of a great society and we need more time and energy focused on the future, not the now. Let's work towards uniting towards a common understanding, that there is always room for improvement. Let's help the public system improve any way we can, I'm proud to be a part of the future.

Erika Perez

Winter and Spring Fellow

I am a fifth-year majoring in Sociology and minoring in Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside and a fellow with Students for Education Reform Action Network. When I am not studying for an exam and coordinating events for transfer students, I am organizing events on campus and in the community that contribute to educational social justice issues. I hope to help students find a voice, in the same way that educational organizations helped me to find my voice which I use to mobilize, reach out to, organize, and empower others to be the agents of change. One of my future goals is to obtain my Masters in Public Policy with an emphasis in Education in order to understand more about the strengths and challenges of current education policies.

Gabriel Perez

Winter and Spring Fellow

As the country plummets deeper into the depths of an ever expanding void of demagoguery and pathological ignorance—it remains painfully evident that the task of restructuring our dysfunctional edifice of education has become nothing short of a moral imperative. Rather than serve as devastating instruments of social stagnation, communities must fight to ensure that academic institutions operate instead as fountainheads of personal growth and development. Rather than continue to foster apathy, conformity, acquiescence and mediocrity—it is incumbent upon us to demand that educators promote creative freedom, maintain high expectations and motivate students to inquire, to create, to pursue the truth and to learn and think for themselves. Truly, there exists no endeavor more fulfilling, no task more arduous nor so worthwhile, than the pursuit of knowledge—not simply as a means to acquire some validating certificate of achievement—but for its own sake.

Maria Sarai Rodriguez

Spring Fellow

I am undocumented. I graduated from Pitzer College, double majored Sociology/Chicano and minor in Gender Studies. In high school a counselor turned me away when they realized I was undocumented, they mentioned to me because of my status my educational options were limited. I joined SFER in order to in order to support marginalized students. Education equity should not be dictated by immigration status or zip code.

Jenni Salazar

Winter and Spring Fellow

I’ve lived in District 2 for almost six years now. I graduated from a tradition high school that provided me with very few resources to learn English and to succeed in college. I was told that USC’s and CSU’s were out of my reach, and that I might not even have the money to go to a community college. As an underprivileged student it was very frustrating that my school counselor did not support students. But today I am involved in education reform so that other students do not have to experience this.

Emmanuel Salgado

Winter and Spring Fellow

My K-12 experience varied between elementary, middle school, to high school. I felt I was on top of the world in one period in elementary, being the best kid at math. Then second grade came and I had to change districts. The teacher I was assigned to did not challenge us throughout the school year to a point where I had to cheat on my SAT. I was delayed one year of my education and I had to catch up the following year after changing districts once again. The reason I’m in SFER is because our value to getting the right teachers in school is crucial, especially in an underrepresented minority community.

Rahjanee Shaw

Winter and Spring Fellow

Being a part of SFER is important to me because I want the best for my community and every child deserves the right to a good education. I also believe that every child should have an equal opportunity to learn and benefit from LAUSD. I consider myself fortunate because I have been to some great schools that cared about me succeeding and having a great education.

Morgan Smith

Spring Fellow

Now more than ever we need to be fighting for public schools and education reform. Everything stems from education. It is the foundation for every child's future. The zip code in which a child lives should not factor into the quality of education they get. I personally grew up in a rural low income area of North Carolina and because of these factors I did not receive the same opportunities as other kids in the state. I had to play major catch up when I attended college; as I did not feel prepared for the rigor of my courses due to my educational background. The same is true for kids in low income areas of Los Angeles. I feel very passionate about fighting for education reform and equal opportunity for kids in these areas because I know how it feels to attend college and feel far behind your peers. Education opportunity should be equal for everyone and no child should ever feel failed by the zip code they grew up in. Having access to a good education should not be a privilege, instead it should be mandatory for all kids no matter where they live.

Juan Trujillo

Winter and Spring Fellow

I am a part of SFER because I know that everyone has a voice and the ability to make change happen. I remember encouraging my parents to vote in a city council race but they refused to do so because they felt that their vote would not make an impact. Every vote counts and it is the responsibility of all of us to stand up for our beliefs and make that change. Too many people criticize the way we live in society but few take action. SFER trains us to gain those skills and knowledge to be engaged in our communities.

Susan Velasquez

Winter Fellow

I joined Students for Education Reform Action Network to be an advocate for marginalized and underprivileged youth. It is an issue when students, like my cousin, are commuting over an hour to attend a higher-performing school with more resources. It is an issue when students are enrolled in classes because of convenience, rather than need. It is an issue when only a fraction of college freshman from these impoverished communities, like myself, return the following sophomore year to ultimately complete their college careers. Change must come. Every student has the right to a quality education, and we must create pathways to greater opportunities.