Category Archives: Closing the Achievement Gap

Closing the Achievement Gap

Edward James Olmos discusses a life of advocacy

29 Nov
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Born in East Los Angeles, Edward James Olmos has enjoyed a distinguished career as an artist and as an activist. Olmos initially gained notice as a rock musician in Los Angeles. He then transitioned to a career on the stage and on screen. He earned an Academy Award nomination for best actor for his portrayal of math teacher Jaime Escalante in the movie, “Stand and Deliver.” Olmos also directed the movie, “Walkout,” about Latino students protesting poor conditions in public...

Californians believe schools need more funding — will they vote that way?

4 Nov
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by Vernon M. Billy This November’s election will be unlike any we’ve seen in recent memory. Our Presidential election cycle has been, shall we say, “unique.” While California’s upcoming election isn’t nearly as interesting, we do have a whopping 17 statewide ballot measures that voters must sift through on election day. This election has huge implications for our state’s schools, but the sheer size of the ballot presents an obstacle for California voters — so much so, that existing voter support for...

Changing the Story of Summer

16 Sep
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by Michael Funk Which sounds more appealing to you for a summer activity: sitting in a stuffy school classroom doing remedial work, or hopping on a bus with your friends to go chase minnows in a nearby river? The traditional paradigm for summer learning has been the former, and it’s felt like a punishment. At the California Department of Education, we’re working to change that paradigm and write a new narrative about a summer that is as engaging as it...

Finding meaning in California’s constitutional guarantee of education

5 Aug
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by Keith Bray All children can succeed, but not all children have equal opportunity to do so. A child’s background and social station continue to play an inordinate role in his or her scholastic outcomes, both in California and across the nation. Schools, given the right circumstances, have the ability to disrupt this pattern of inequality, but may only do so if they are adequately and equitably resourced. In Robles-Wong v. California,(2016) 246 Cal. App. 4th 896, the California School...

The echo of Mendez v. Westminster 70 years later

28 Jul
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by Vernon M. Billy In May, Sylvia Mendez captivated CSBA’s Delegate Assembly with her recollection of the historic case in which she and her parents, Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez, fought to desegregate California schools. The heartfelt presentation brought to life the intensity, emotions and history of one of the most important education and civil rights cases of the last 70 years. Prominent civil rights activist Robert L. Carter once described the history-altering civil rights case of Mendez v. Westminster as...

A Stroll Down Memory Lane And A Glimpse Of The Future

22 Jul
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by Chris Ungar They say you can’t go home again. That’s not exactly true. You can return home, just be prepared for a lot of change. That’s what I found when I journeyed south to my childhood stomping grounds in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The setting was familiar, but the level of innovation I saw when I toured my alma maters, Wright Middle School and Westchester High, and Shenandoah Street Elementary, where my wife attended, was entirely new....

School officials and equity groups team up to close achievement gap

24 Jun
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CA Fwd and California School Boards Association have been working together to build the capacity of local school districts and county offices of education to boost academic achievement under the Local Control Funding Formula.  As part of a collaborative of 15 school districts and two county offices of education. the two groups are working to improve public engagement and apply data to better bridge the educational gap in California. In the video below from CA Fwd, CSBA President Chris Ungar discusses the effort to improve equity.    ...

Involving Students in LCAP Process is a Lesson in Civic Engagement

3 Jun
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by Paul Richman California Gov.  Jerry Brown’s May Budget Revise reflected a strong commitment to the improvement of public education through the Local Control Funding Formula. As school districts seek to involve local communities – parents, students, teachers, administrators and school boards – in shaping education and supporting student performance, I reflect on the opportunity we have for thoughtfully and authentically engaging young people in this process. In our ever-polarized political environment, today more than ever, we need to provide...

The Demographic Divide— African-American Students in Focus in California

17 May
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 by Manuel Buenrostro Demographics should not be destiny — all students are entitled to a quality education that enables them to meet their potential. It is for this reason that CSBA has continued to highlight the conditions and opportunity gaps of California’s diverse student population. This includes the nearly 400,000 African-American students, or six percent of all students, enrolled in California K-12 public schools. The group is the sixth largest population of African-American students in the country — larger than the...