October 6, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Vicky Waters, CCSA
The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), today released the report Chartering and Choice as an Achievement Gap-Closing Reform, providing a statewide analysis of African American academic performance trends in California public schools. The event was St. HOPE Public School 7 (PS7), which is featured in the report.
The results of the report show that charter schools are effectively accelerating the performance of African American public school students, and are earning higher Academic Performance Index (API) scores and proficiency rates statewide, in many urban districts and across all subjects when compared with traditional public schools. In addition, African American students are enrolling at higher rates in charter schools than traditional schools at all grade levels, in some cases at close to twice the rate, and are experiencing better outcomes.
"This report has unearthed a wealth of insight into the performance, needs, and possibilities for African American students," said Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association. "Chartering and Choice as an Achievement Gap-Closing Reform adds to this body of scholarly research, confirming what parents as well as charter teachers and leaders have always known, that African American students can achieve at high levels and deserve quality educational choices."
"The report released today by CCSA is proof that great results are possible, regardless of race, income or zip code, when high expectations are set for students and educators in the classroom," said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. "Every child will learn if they have access to excellent teachers and schools. It is our responsibility to find ways to ensure all children have access to a quality education."
Chartering and Choice as an Achievement Gap-Closing Reform examined performance and enrollment trends in both California charter public and traditional public schools from school years 2006-07 to 2009-10. All enrollment and performance data came from the publicly available Academic Performance Index (API) and the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) files maintained by the California Department of Education (CDE).
From 2007 to 2010, African American student API scores in California charters grew from an average of 678 to 713. This last year, the score was 19 points higher than the average statewide African American API score for traditional schools.
In Sacramento, where African American students are much more likely to attend a charter school, charter public schools have substantially improved African American performance, growing African American API scores from 660 to 836 (an increase of 176 points) in just four years. The average 2010 African American API score of 836 was 154 points higher than that for traditional public schools, which have only grown 13 API points since 2006-07. African American English and math proficiency rates are equally impressive in Sacramento where charters' rates were 20.3 (ELA) and 24.6 (math) percentage points higher than traditional schools and higher than the statewide proficiency rates for all students.
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 results charter schools have produced for African American children in Sacramento are extraordinary. Replicating the practices of schools like PS7 can literally move African American student achievement from last to first. It's in our best interest as a region to reverse the trend of one in three black students dropping out of high school," said Margaret Fortune, president and CEO of the Fortune Schools, which are charter schools aimed at serving African American students to narrow the prevalent achievement gap.
Closing the achievement gap between African American students and their White and Asian peers remains a significant challenge in public education. Indeed, few schools have demonstrated that they are highly effective educators of African Americans; however, charters are much more likely to be in this group. While charters make up only 9% of schools statewide, they represent 39% of highly effective schools for African American students.
The report also includes three case studies of charter public schools serving a high percentage of African American students in three key cities to identify best practices, including PS7 in Sacramento. Common practices at the three schools included: a clear mission statement focused on academic achievement and developing students, a standards-based curriculum based on critical thinking skills, results-focused instructional practices, among others.
The case studies demonstrated that the best practices implemented by charter schools effectively educating African American students are readily available, having been well documented in scholarly literature.
"This report shines a bright spotlight on the schools in our great state that have eliminated the achievement gap for their African American students and it proves that when students are held to high expectations and all the adults on campus work as a team every child can succeed. In addition, CCSA has gone a step further and broadened to spotlight by sharing the best practices of PS7 and other successful charters so that more students can reach their highest potential. We are honored to be recognized in such a report and see it as a testament to the incredible efforts of our students, families and staff," said Tracy Stigler, Vice Chair of St. HOPE Board.
"What this report shows is that African American students are experiencing better outcomes in charters, and that as laboratories of innovation, California's highly effective charter public schools can demonstrate proven paths to success that should be replicated nationally," said Dr. Aisha Toney, Director of Research, CCSA.
Charter schools are public schools that are tuition-free, have open enrollment, serve all students, and enjoy greater flexibility in exchange for higher accountability.
For more information, visit www.calcharters.org/africanamericanreport.
About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 912 charter public schools and more than 365,000 students in the state of California. The Vision of the California Charter Schools Association is to usher in a new era in public education so all students attend independent, innovative, accountable schools of choice. The Mission of the California Charter Schools Association is to influence the legislative and policy environments, leverage collective advocacy, and provide resources to support our members in developing and operating high quality, charter schools reflective of California's student population. For more information, please visit www.calcharters.org.