Category Archives: Closing the Achievement Gap

Closing the Achievement Gap

Implementing the new state Dyslexia Guidelines

11 Sep
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Girl Writing in Notebook
by Leslie Lingaas Woodward Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, affecting up to 20 percent of the population. This means that, statistically, every classroom in California has several students with dyslexia who struggle to acquire literacy skills. In 2015, the California State Legislature passed Assembly Bill 1369, which required that the California Department of Education create state Dyslexia Guidelines to assist teachers and parents in identifying, assessing and supporting these students. The guidelines were developed with input from an...

How one district practices inclusive education

1 Aug
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By Adam Breen Inclusion is more than an educational buzzword at San Benito High School in Hollister, Calif., where students with special needs are not just included, but embraced and accepted by their general education peers. The school has no fewer than 10 programs that focus on preparing students in the Life Skills program “to be active and confident members of our community and of society,” according to Paulette Cobb, the district’s director of special education. Beyond the benefits that...

ESSA approved ending months of negotiations with SBE

18 Jul
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The State Board of Education unanimously approved final changes to Every Student Succeeds Act plan at its mid-July meeting. On July 12, the U.S. Department of Education approved California’s plan ending a monthslong process of negotiations with the U.S. DOE. The State Board developed the plan over a two-year period with input from thousands of stakeholders. ESSA, the federal accountability system for schools, brings with it roughly $2.4 billion in funding for low-performing TK-12 schools as well as funds for after-school programs,...

California aims to be a language leader in the classroom

6 Jun
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 Spanish, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, Armenian, Mandarin and are just some of the languages taught in California schools. A new initiative announced last week by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Global California 2030, aims to expand the teaching and learning of world languages and the number of students proficient in more than one language over the next 12 years — thus creating a more globally prepared workforce. According to the California Department of Education, more than 40 percent of...

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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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,...