With all the talk of education "reform" by pundits, and as a new administration takes over in the governor’s office and at the state Department of Education, it’s a good time to look beyond the conventional “schools are failing” clichés, because despite dwindling resources, California educators and students are making great strides.
John Mockler, former executive director of the state Board of Education and author of Prop 98, the state’s minimum school funding law, recently reported that California schools are doing a lot better than most of us are being told. He says "They are not categorically failing, are not deeply flawed, and that anyone who claims otherwise is peddling drivel." And he's armed with data, such as:
- In 1999, 31% of the state’s schools scored 700 or above on the API; in 2009 77% did. In the same period, schools scoring 500 or below declined from 29% to less than 3%.
- Between 2003 and 2010 the percentage of students who read at proficient or advanced levels increased from 35% to 52%; for Latino students, the gain was from 20% to 40%; for African Americans, the gain was from 22% to 39%. Math scores showed similar gains.
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