Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324 or 408-921-5769 (cell)
BURLINGAME – Lower-performing public schools targeted with extra resources across the state because of the California Teachers Association’s Quality Education Investment Act of 2006 are making significant academic gains, an early analysis of school performance data shows.
“These targeted schools of greatest need are making classroom gains because of proven reforms like smaller class sizes, extra teachers, more counselors and better staff training,” said CTA President David A. Sanchez. “What teachers said about the value of the CTA-sponsored Quality Education Investment Act three years ago is coming true today. Proven reforms work, and the increased achievement by students in QEIA schools is a testament to the value of funding proven reforms.”
On average, the 499 QEIA schools scored five points higher than similar schools in the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) for the last school year, the first full year of extra QEIA resources. Over eight years, the targeted QEIA schools will get nearly $3 billion in help, including funds for smaller classes, more counselors and teachers, and additional staff training. Also, 351 of the 499 QEIA schools met state schoolwide targets for API academic growth in the 2008-09 school year. The state’s API accountability system uses test scores to gauge progress and sets an API target of 800 for every public school. Seven QEIA schools exceeded this 800 API score benchmark, while 51 QEIA campuses had API growth of 50 points or more, according to an analysis by the QEIA Technical Assistance Center at the Los Angeles County Office of Education.
This preliminary data about gains at many of the QEIA schools adds to the reasons why the funding for districts with these schools should not be cut by $375 million – as is the possibility now due to confusion during the state budget deficit negotiations this summer. The governor vetoed SB 84, the legislation that would have protected these districts. New, CTA-backed pending legislation – ABx3 56 – will secure funding so that these districts do not suffer additional cuts in revenue. The state Senate has approved this fast-tracked bill and the Assembly is scheduled to vote on it Monday.
Parents and administrators are joining teachers in praising the promise of QEIA. “Parents want the best for their children, and the data show that QEIA clearly can help to deliver a better education for more children and their families,” said Jo Loss, president of the California State PTA, which has nearly 1 million members. “These findings also demonstrate that QEIA can be a crucial tool for closing the achievement gap among students in our state – and that is essential to building an education system that lives up to its promise for all children.”
“QEIA provides the resources and focus needed to fundamentally improve student learning,” said Frank Porter, superintendent of the Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento County, where the QEIA school, Oakdale Elementary, had a strong API score of 828. “At Oakdale Elementary, teachers, administrators, staff, and families have worked together in the best interest of students and have made an amazing difference. Oakdale, a school serving low-income students where 89 percent qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches, grew their school API score 152 points in two years. That represents significant student learning that may not have happened without QEIA.”
In addition to significant API growth, eight QEIA schools made enough gains to exit their “Program Improvement” status for this school year, a status imposed by the federal No Child Left Behind act that can lead to sanctions or having schools converted to charters. Those successful schools leaving “P.I.” are, by county:
Alameda County: Marilyn Avenue Elementary, Livermore Valley Joint Unified; ACORN Woodland Elementary, Oakland Unified.
Los Angeles County: Aeolian Elementary, Los Nietos Elementary District; Evergreen Elementary, East Whittier City Elementary District.
Orange County: Martin Elementary, Santa Ana Unified; Kinoshita Elementary, Capistrano Unified; Melrose Elementary, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified.
Tulare County: Jefferson Elementary, Dinuba Unified.
The QEIA schools exceeding the state’s API score target of 800 for all public schools:
Sacramento County: Oakdale Elementary, 828 API score, Twin Rivers Unified.
San Diego County: Harborside Elementary, 845, Otay Elementary, 824, and Silver Wing Elementary, 805, all in the Chula Vista Elementary School District; Clover Flat Elementary, 825, Mountain Empire Unified.
San Francisco County: Miraloma Elementary, 851, San Francisco Unified.
Ventura County: Grace S. Thille Elementary, 827, Santa Paula Elementary School District.
Of the 51 QEIA schools that gained 50 points or more in API growth for the 2008-09 school year, the top three in terms of points were:
Shasta County: Juniper Academy, 122 points, Redding Elementary School District.
San Francisco County: Malcolm X Academy, 99 points, San Francisco Unified.
Riverside County: Cahuilla Desert Academy Junior High, 98 points, Coachella Valley Unified.
CTA will release more detailed research this winter about the progress in QEIA schools. More information about QEIA is at http://www.cta.org/issues/current/QEIA.htm When the CTA-sponsored QEIA law (SB 1133) was enacted in 2006, the eligible schools were in the bottom two deciles for performance. The legislation grew out of the settlement of a lawsuit between CTA and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over funding owed to schools under Proposition 98. QEIA is helping schools that are serving more than 500,000 students who are mostly low income, minority and English learners. Each QEIA school stresses the collaboration of teachers, parents and administrators, and the law gives local school districts the flexibility to support programs that best fit the local needs of their students, and that will also help close student achievement gaps.