The latest report is out on achievement in Oakland, and everyone should be worried about the general trends and also the disparities. There are some bright spots though, and it has important implications for district policy and the way we look at the range of public schools here.
Too Many Schools Are Showing Declining Performance
Almost half of the public elementary schools in Oakland (charter and district) are below the state average and moving backwards in ELA, so-called “schools to review.” This is troubling.
44% of schools did make progress, which is encouraging. But Oakland’s students are often very far behind, so they need to make large gains to reach proficiency—and I am not sure I can tell whether that is happening, even where progress is being made.
And 82% of our schools are below the state average. Think about that.
It is basically the same story with Math.
There is a bit more progress overall, but 85% of our schools are below the state average. And let’s remember this is the charters and district schools. So nobody is consistently getting the results we need.
And we have many many “schools to review” both charter and district.
The numbers of struggling schools is highlighted by student achievement and the disparities in the results for underserved students. Only 7% of special education students were proficient in English and 8% in math. For Black students 19% could read in elementary school and 13% were proficient in Math.
We all have a lot of work to do in Oakland, particularly for our most underserved students. And if these numbers show us anything, it is that we need to move beyond the adult disputes that have largely paralyzed the district, and address the large number of under performing schools and underserved students. And that we need to do things urgently and radically differently.
WE are failing these students, and it is up to us to get it together, because they can’t wait.