Category Archives: Closing the Achievement Gap

Closing the Achievement Gap

New federal data offers insights on school safety, STEM courses and more

22 May
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Kids together
Last month, the U.S. Department of Education released its Civil Rights Data Collection  for 2015–16, offering the public new statistics on enrollment demographics, opportunity gaps and other civil rights issues that affect K-12 public school students. The U.S. Dept. of Education also released two accompanying briefs on School Climate and Safety and STEM Course Taking using the new data. Here are some of the key findings from the new data briefs: School Safety & Climate Nearly 1.1 million incidents of...

Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

2 May
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student in classroom
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. California has been home to communities of Asian heritage since before its entrance into the United States in 1850. According to 2010 U.S. Census figures, the largest populations of Samoan, Guamanian or Chamorro, Fijian, Tongan and Palauan Americans in the nation reside in our state. In addition, the Golden State contains the most substantial population of...

New report explores strategies for closing English learners’ achievement gap in math

18 Apr
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math teacher
Combine the entire K-12 student populations of Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming and Nevada — that group of children is the same size as California’s 1.4 million English learners. To look at that number another way, consider that of California’s 6.2 million public school students, one in five is an English learner. Unfortunately, significant achievement gaps exist between ELs and their English-fluent peers. For instance, in 2017, only 12 percent of the ELs who took California Assessment of Student...

NAEP results show progress but achievement gaps persist

11 Apr
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students taking test
California received mixed results on this week’s release of national test scores known as the “nation’s report card,” showing modest gains compared to generally static national results. On the positive side, California showed some improvement in eighth- and fourth-grade reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test. However, wide achievement gaps remain and the state’s performance among low-income students (those eligible for the National School Lunch Program) and Hispanic students, in particular, show that there is much more work...

Mendez v. Westminster: 72 Years Later

15 Mar
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Sylvia Mendez
In the 1940s, more than 70 percent of all Mexican-American students in California attended “separate but equal” schools. And one court case changed that: Mendez v. Westminster (1946). Appalled that their three children—who were all fluent in English—were not permitted to attend a neighborhood school because it was for English-speaking students only, Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez sued their local school district, setting into motion a series of changes to school segregation law. “Segregation… fosters antagonisms in the children and suggest...

Recent studies show U.S. public schools facing resegregation

14 Feb
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Girl Writing in Notebook
Today’s student population is becoming increasingly diverse, yet American public schools are not reflecting that. Almost 65 years after Brown v. Board of Education (1954) deemed school segregation unconstitutional in the United States, recent studies are showing that the vision of a desegregated school system has yet to be fully implemented. Even worse, a reality where segregation is a word for the history books is slipping further and further away. According to the Civil Rights Project at the University of California,...

Celebrating African-American History Month: A Snapshot of African-American Students in California

7 Feb
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science students
With almost 400,000 African-American students attending California K-12 public schools, our state is home to the sixth largest population of African-American students in the country — larger than the overall student population of 15 other states. Unfortunately, large opportunity and achievement gaps exist for this group of students. Awareness of the issues leading to these gaps will allow board members and other educational advocates to build effective strategies and target supports where they will be most useful. In honor of...

New initiative helps foster youth apply for college financial aid

24 Jan
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women with laptop
Although 85 percent of California’s foster youth want to earn a college degree, only 8 percent will finish an associate or bachelor’s degree before age 26. A new initiative from John Burton Advocates for Youth, in collaboration with the California Department of Education and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, is looking to change those numbers. The California Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge’s main goal is to increase the number of high school seniors in foster care who complete the Free...

Recent report highlights opportunity gaps for Latino students

13 Dec
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latino student
Of the 6.2 million children in California’s K-12 public education system, 3.3 million are Latino. That number is higher than every other state’s student population, excluding Texas. In addition to making up the majority of California’s K-12 school population, Latinos are also the fastest growing ethnic group in the state. Despite this group’s prevalence, Latinos have faced a long history of discrimination in education. A recent report from Education Trust-West found that while some outcomes have improved for Latino students,...

Latino Students in California: A Snapshot

4 Oct
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Latino student
Latinos are an important part of California’s cultural fabric and are central to the state’s future and economic prosperity. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, we are taking a look at some key demographic and achievement data for Latino students in California’s K-12 public schools. This information is also available in a printer-friendly fact sheet here. Latino Students’ Enrollment Over half of the 6.2 million students who attend California public schools...