Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Some Encouraging Data on Oakland's Black Youth

When I wrote Sunday about the fact that Oakland has black kids thriving at elementary schools such as Thornhill, I was relying on research done some months back. Ironically, today I saw this report (pdf) and this list (pdf) indicating that the news continues to get better.

To me, this is very important news. I don't have too much to say about it, but I wanted to bring it to your attention.

In case you didn't click the PDF, Thornhill showed a black API score of 882, as against a 938 score for the schools as a whole. 882 is a phenomenal score. Other schools in Oakland frequently struggle to cross 600.

Grass Valley Elementary, a school whose population is 92 percent black, has a 795 score, also an excellent API. 46 percent of Grass Valley's students are from low income families.

What this tells me is a growing number of people are overcoming Oakland's crazy racist/racialist policies to make some headway. Common sense tells me these high-performing students are doing so not because they're rich but because they have families who instill in them the value of hard work.

Now, if only we could somehow convince the city to set up magnet middle and high schools for these students. Sadly, our best middle school has an API of 780, and our best high school can't even crack 700.

What's wrong with our government? Can't we set up a school to reward these 800+ API students? Must we scare them into private schools or force them to go to underperforming schools?

1 comment:

  1. not disagreeing with anything, but leadership and funding both play an important part as well, as does environment.

    I'd be curious, with no idea what the numbers would say, what the $$ per student is there vs average, what the student/teacher ratio is, how old the physical plant is there vs average, what the average experience of teachers and administrators is there etc

    To augment your reward idea, where ever differences that you could reasonably suspect led to the higher performance, those should be rewarded.

    Good news though, for sure