No huge surprises in Urban Strategies Council’s annual report on the indicators of youth well-being and achievement in Oakland found here. Overall we are seeing some indicators of progress, while still tied down by huge achievement gaps and significant challenges in preparing our most challenged students for college and career readiness.
- Chronic absences and those at risk of it are down 1% and 5% respectively- this is a crucial measure of engagement our most at risk students
- Satisfactory attendance increased significantly by 5%- again if kids aren’t in school they are probably not learning
- Preschool is having a significant effect on school readiness, though disparities exist- OUSD has expanded transitional kindergarten significantly which should keep this trend going
- English language learners were particularly helped by preschool, with 87% of pre school attendees being judge school-ready
- More students are attending public school in Oakland for the 5th straight year of increase, a 5 year total of 2,813 more students
- Suspensions are down 29% since 2011, with continuing declines in the rates for African American students
- White (82% proficiency), Native American (67%) and African American (52%) were all at or above the District Average (52%) for early literacy
- Low income students had roughly the same pass rates for the high school exit exam as the district, 1 % lower in math and 2% lower in English.
- English learners (30% proficiency), Latinos (33%), Pacific Islanders (37%) and low income students (39%) were well below the district average (52%) for early literacy
- Cohort Graduation rates showed large disparities; 57% of English learners, 64% of African Americans and 91% of Whites respectively graduated in their cohorts, and the overall rate decreased from 72% to 69%
- The percentage of students completing the A-G coursework required to apply to UC or CSU decreased from 52% to 50%
- African American male students were 13 times more likely to be suspended than White males
- Foster students had the highest suspension rate in the district at 16% more than 3 times the overall rate of 5%
- Only 9% of special education students complete the A-G coursework, compared to 50% of OUSD, with enormous gaps in all areas of proficiency
- Only 29% of African American students and 32% of English Learners completed A-G coursework
- Middle school math scores showed yawning achievement gaps, with 70% of Whites being proficient, 23% of Pacific Islanders and African Americans, and only 21% of native Americans, even lower rates were found for foster students (17%) and English Learners (15%)
- Our most vulnerable groups had the highest rates of chronic absence in elementary with Native Americans at 20%, African Americans at 18% and Pacific Islanders at 17%.
So while we have some signs of hope in early literacy and the presumed effects that expanding preschool and also targeting attendance and increasing it will have. We are still left with the tragic and painful achievement and opportunity gaps. The good news is we have honest data to act on, the bad news is that data shows us just how much work there is left to do.