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?
Click on the image above to view the video!
As many of you who follow this blog know, California GEAR UP works with Valley High School in Sacramento, CA in a unique collaboration that provides the school with innovative resources and support services for students, families, teachers, counselors and administrators to create a community-wide college-going culture.
This year Valley High was excited to announce the remarkable achievement on the statewide API. The API reports include a “similar schools rank.” This information shows where a school ranks on a scale of 1–10, compared with 100 other schools with similar demographic characteristics. California public schools serve students with many different backgrounds and needs. As a result, schools face different educational challenges. The similar schools ranks for 2010 allow schools to look at their academic performance compared to other schools with some of the same opportunities and challenges.
Here are some of Valley’s newsworthy accomplishments:
- Valley is the Number 1 (non charter) in Similar Schools and demographics in California.
- Of 100 Similar Schools in California, Valley scored a perfect 10. They are the only non-charter to do so!
- Valley had the highest API score of any non-charter school and had the 8th highest API overall.
The VHS increases are very impressive even compared to the new schools (Monterey Trails, Pleasant Grove and Franklin) which includes more affluent students who moved to these schools from the Valley area. Valley is one of the oldest schools in EGUSD and it compares very well indeed! GEAR UP has much to be proud of in providing academic support.
–Josephine Blick, Valley GEAR UP academic advisor
These accomplishments come along with more great Valley news: a 24 point increase in API since last year!
Special thanks to principal Keven MacDonald and the Valley High School staff for making these achievements possible. Thanks to Chris Wong for the video production!
Congratulations to California GEAR UP school Martin Luther King Jr. Technology Academy, Twin Rivers Unified School district for a 47 point API increase from 2008-2009. This increase is part of the 60 point API increase at MLK over the last two years. It takes an entire school working together to realize such gains, and California GEAR UP is proud to have you as one of our schools! For more information on what the API is, follow this link: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/