October 4, 2011 By Jed Wallace, president and CEO, CCSA
One of the pressing education issues of our time is the persistent achievement gap among African American students and their White and Asian peers.
The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) released this week the Chartering and Choice as an Achievement Gap-Closing Reform: The Success of California Charter Schools in Promoting African American Achievement report, which details the performance and enrollment trends of African American students in California charter public and traditional public schools.
Using publicly available data from the California Department of Education (CDE), the results show that charter schools are making significant gains in narrowing the achievement gap, with African American students consistently earning higher Academic Performance Index (API) scores and proficiency rates statewide in many urban districts and across subjects. In addition, using CCSA's own performance metric, the Similar Students Measure (SSM), charter public schools serving African American students were more than three times as likely as traditional public schools to consistently outperform their predicted performance in a single year and overtime.
The report also shows that African Americans are enrolling at higher rates in charter schools than traditional schools at all grade levels, in some cases at close to twice the rate.
Closing the achievement gap remains a significant challenge in public education, and charters are much more likely to be highly effective schools to African American students. Three of these highly effective charters were featured in the report, along with some of their teaching strategies and practices. They included Watts Learning Center in Los Angeles, KIPP Bridge in Oakland and PS7 in Sacramento.
With near perfect precision, these successful charter schools were implementing strategies discussed in scholarly literature as effective for African American students.
You can find those practices in the Chartering and Choice as an Achievement Gap-Closing Reform report and accompanying Fact Sheet.
CCSA hosted a news conference at PS7, where local leaders, parents, and supporters talked about the impact charter schools are having. To see some of the coverage, click here.