The Education Trust-West released the first Equity Alert which highlights California’s recent statewide API rankings which expose an “all-too familiar” achievement gap. The 2009 Annual Performance Index unveil that race and class continue to play a material role in shaping opportunity in our schools and the inequity is systemic and pervasive. Findings include:
- 39 percent of African-American students attend the state’s bottom 30 percent of schools. 44 percent of Latinos and 45 percent of economically disadvantaged students are concentrated in the bottom 30 percent of schools.
- By contrast, 54 percent of white students attend the top 30 percent of schools and only 9 percent attend the bottom 30 percent schools.
- Economically disadvantaged students represent 54 percent of California’s school-age population, but they make up 83 percent of students in decile 1-3 schools.
The Equity Alert outlines actions state policymakers and education leaders can take to address these patterns of inequity. These actions include:
- implementing policies to identify, recruit and retain highly-effective teachers and principals;
- ensuring that high-need students have access to the supports and interventions they need from the earliest grades;
- providing additional resources to the state’s lowest performing schools in exchange for greater accountability.
We have our work cut out for us. The indicators of what is missing and what is needed are consistently repeated in all of the current research. Our efforts in these struggling school communities often provide the catalyst and the will to address pervasive achievement, resources, and opportunity gaps.
-Shelley Davis, Director, California GEAR UP
We know by bridging research like this with with successful practice already going on in our schools, the achievement gap can be systematically addressed. The questions remain: why aren’t we leveraging every resource to address these issues? What successes can we celebrate and duplicate?