In 1999, California’s state leaders passed the Public Schools Accountability Act, creating the state’s accountability system, and led the nation in setting rigorous content standards for what all students must learn.
And in 2001, the reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), pushed California and the nation even further. A key purpose of NCLB is to close the achievement gaps between low-income students and students of color and their peers.
As a result, California’s schools currently answer to two accountability systems. However, even with multiple measures intent on holding schools accountable for preparing students for success in college and career, far too many schools across the state fail to execute this charge.
- The state accountability system, the Academic Performance Index (API), asks schools to make annual academic growth targets, until they reach a statewide goal. The API holds schools accountable for student achievement on the California Standardized Tests (CST) in math, English, science, and social science, in conjunction with results from the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). These scores are used to determine the Annual Performance Index (API) of each school and to rank and compare the performance of schools across the state. Schools are expected to make significant growth in performance on their API scores across all subgroups each year.
- The federal accountability system, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), requires schools to meet annual benchmarks toward an ultimate goal of 100% of students scoring proficient or above in English and math by 2014. In addition, to make AYP, schools must test 95% of students, have an API of at least 650 or increase it by one point, and high schools are required to graduate at least 83.1% of students, or show improvement under specific formulas.
Polices providing guidance to schools must be rigorous, laden with high expectations, and resources necessary for academic success must be provided if we are truly to ratchet up education for our most vulnerable students and forever close the achievement gaps that plague our state.
To read the Education Trust-West’s published work on Accountability, please see below.
Ed Trust–West Releases Third Annual Report Cards Grading the 148 Largest Unified Districts on Outcomes for Latino, African-American, and Low-income Students
OAKLAND, CA (April 3, 2013) – Today, The Education Trust–West (ETW) releases its third annual District Report Cards (http://reportcards.edtrustwest.org/), grading and ranking California’s largest unified districts on outcomes for Latino, African-American, and low-income students. Once again, this year’s report cards reveal higher poverty districts that are consistently achieving strong academic results, and graduating high numbers of college-eligible Latino, African-American, and low-income students.
“Just as students receive report cards that measure their performance and progress in school, ETW develops annual report cards that grade California school districts on how well they are educating their Latino, African-American, and low-income students,” said Lindsey Stuart, Data and Policy Analyst at The Education Trust–West.
New Analysis of Civil Rights Data Highlights Critical Need for Reforms to California’s Education System: Education Trust—West Calls for State to Follow the Lead of Innovative Districts and Charters
OAKLAND, CA (September 6, 2012) – On the heels of the release of the 2012 STAR testing data, a startling new infographic and presentation from The Education Trust—West (ETW) exposes previously hidden gaps in California’s college and career pipeline, impacting more than four million students. Combining new data from the U.S. Office of Civil Rights (OCR) with data from previous ETW reports, the analysis reveals how low-income, Latino and African-American students in California are getting less of everything they need to achieve their college and career dreams. As a result, nearly a third of these students fail to graduate from high school and only 14% of those who do graduate enter the University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) system. According to the analysis, low-income students in California’s schools receive:
OAKLAND, CA (June 27, 2012) – For the second year in a row, the California Department of Education (CDE) has released accurate and transparent graduation and dropout rate data thanks to the state’s use of CALPADS, the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System. The data once again reveal that California’s schools are graduating Latino, African-American, and low-income students at alarmingly low rates.
Just as students receive report cards that measure their performance and progress in school, The Education Trust – West develops annual report cards that grade California school districts on how well they serve their Latino, African-American, and low-income students. This brief summarizes the findings of our second annual district report cards.
Oakland, CA – 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.
OAKLAND, CA (August 15, 2011) – The Education Trust—West issued the following statement from Executive Director Arun Ramanathan in response to the release of the 2011 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) results by the California Department of Education (CDE) today:
This year’s STAR data demonstrate how far we still have to go in our effort to educate all California students to their fullest potential. Over the last eight years, we have seen slow, incremental growth in the achievement of low-income students and students of color, who now represent the majority in our state’s public schools. The sad truth is that wide achievement gaps still persist between African-American and Latino students and their white peers.
Ed Trust—West Condemns Potential Cuts to Education in Proposed 2011-12 Budget; Implores State Leaders to Find a Budget Solution That Protects California’s Highest-Need Students
(OAKLAND, CA) Dr. Arun Ramanathan, Executive Director of The Education Trust—West, issued the following statement regarding the proposed 2011-12 budget:
“While Democrats slap each other on the back for their ‘budget’ deal and Republicans applaud their efforts to prevent any tax increases, California’s poorest students are once again getting a raw deal from our state’s leadership. The potential budget deal is based on Wizard of Oz assumptions that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If that pot of gold does not materialize, our poorest students and most vulnerable communities will once again take the brunt of state budget cuts through inequitable approaches such as shortening the school year. It is long past time to develop a real budget solution that solves the boom and bust cycles of California’s state budget. We have seen courageous Democrats and Republicans in other states forging the difficult compromises and showing the visionary leadership necessary to confront entrenched interests and solve their states’ fiscal crises. As long as California’s children and communities are at the mercy of lawmakers beholden to special interests from public employee unions to taxpayer associations, we will continue our pattern of smoke and mirrors budgeting. The result will always be reprehensible cuts that force our children to pay the long-term price for our current dysfunction.”
A Report Card on District Achievement: How Low-income, African-American, and Latino Students Fare in California School Districts
In this report, The Education Trust—West grades the 146 largest unified school districts in California on four key indicators of student performance to see how well they are serving their African-American, Latino, and low-income students. While most districts in California earn Cs and Ds on these indicators, some districts prove that more is possible.
Ed Trust—West Issues Statement Regarding the Latest 2010-11 California English Language Development Test (CELDT) Results
(OAKLAND, CA) The Education Trust—West, a statewide education advocacy organization that works to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement for students of color and low-income students, issued the following statement regarding the release of the results of the 2010-11 California English Language Development Test (CELDT) by the California Department of Education earlier this week:
The release of data from the California Department of Education (CDE) showing a decline in the performance of English Learner (EL) students on the CELDT is a cause for profound concern. However, the CDE’s statement on this data raises even greater concerns. The release gives Californians the impression that our state is making reasonable progress in serving its English Learner students, while attributing this setback to the ongoing budget crisis. The data tell us a different story.