Press Release

Oakland, CA (August 31, 2011)– The Education Trust—West issued the following statement in response to the California Department of Education’s (CDE) release of the 2011 Accountability Progress Report results:

The APR results released today by the California Department of Education make one thing clear: we need to do more for our state’s Latino, African-American, and low-income students.

Both California’s accountability system, the Academic Performance Index (API), and the federal accountability system of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) indicate that far too many California schools are failing to adequately educate their students—especially the low-income students and students of color who now comprise the majority of our state’s student population.

For 2010-11, slightly more than two-thirds of students were required to reach proficiency in English-language arts and math for schools to meet federal AYP targets. The vast majority of California’s Title I schools did not meet this benchmark.

In addition, 45 percent of elementary schools, 57 percent  of middle schools, and 72 percent of high schools did not meet the statewide target of an 800 API score. Although schools at every level have made progress toward meeting their annual state targets, significant achievement gaps remain for African-American, Latino, low-income students, and English learners.  For example, the CST proficiency gap between English learners and non-English learners in fourth grade English-language arts has actually grown wider between 2003 and 2011.

State leaders have avoided talking about the impact of these persistent gaps on our communities and failed to offer high-impact solutions in areas such as improving teacher effectiveness and increasing access to college-ready coursework. Instead, they have fixated on the “labeling” of schools due to federal accountability provisions and have called for new accountability systems. To date, their ideas have been long on rhetoric and short on specifics including the valid, proven metrics that would identify both success and chronic failure and the remedies they would apply on behalf of students and parents.

“Instead of asking for freedom from accountability, our leaders should be championing the high-impact reforms that will close the achievement and opportunity gaps that prevent so many students from achieving their college and career dreams,” stated Arun Ramanathan, Executive Director of The Education Trust—West, a statewide education advocacy organization.  “We need our leaders to be advocates for the millions of California students who are failing to be taught to grade-level and the millions of parents who want quality neighborhood schools for their children. We count on our leaders to be willing to hold adults accountable for results. Their silence on behalf of students has been deafening.”

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About The Education Trust—West

The Education Trust—West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-k through college. We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps.