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Even Lower
The Good News


Even Lower

Here's how the San Francisco Chronicle summarized the 2009 test scores for California K-12 schools on 8/19:

"Based on the rate of improvement from 2003 to 2009, it would take up to 105 years to close the white/Hispanic achievement gap, and at least 189 years to close the white/black gap, which has failed to narrow by even a point in English since 2003..."

Sounds like what we've been saying for years.

Despite local praise, the PUSD had one of the biggest annual increases in its academic achievement gaps this decade. This praise only perpetuates the moral, social, and economic injustice of these worst-ever PUSD results. Sadly, PUSD once again chose to waste precious resources in an attempt to hide these morally repugnant results. Meanwhile, the small but growing list of brave schools across California that are actually closing their achievement gaps means yet another decline in the Altadena demographic majority's readiness for admission to college and success beyond.

How did this happen? Some schools in California have higher percentages of Low Income students, higher percentages of English Language Learners, and more students enrolled in each grade than PUSD. And yet the best of them are performing better than PUSD, whose most severe achievement gaps versus these "top comparables" have gone from the least frequent in 2003 to the most common in 2009, totaling 43% of all PUSD achievement gaps.

It is important to keep in mind that our children are growing up in an increasingly competitive world. Failure to understand what is happening to our children in the context of academic proficiencies statewide, nationally, and even globally perpetuates the economic servitude our student majority faces. Click on Our Very Low Proficiencies Are Getting Worse (1 page, PDF). Click on the table headings in this link to see where the PUSD data comes from. Ask questions! The economic future of our children - and perhaps even the economic future of our nation - may depend on it!

The Good News

At PUSD and other local school districts this decade, the turnover of certificated staff (teachers) is 2-4 times the LA County and CA annual average. This high turnover opens up the equivalent of 1-2 schools per year in Altadena. What's so great about that? All those open positions can be made available to the few who will do the hard work of closing the achievement gap in a few short years! Since the lead time for lining up these rare educators can be somewhat long and the end of our signature collecting is in sight, we've taken the time to meet with organizations this past summer that have a repeatable, reliable record of closing the academic achievement gap in every grade and subject.

Our meetings with those who share our passion for closing the gap are causing us to get to know each other better. We're sending volunteers to observe these organization's classrooms, to get some additional doors opened to us, and are getting some pretty amazing educational results introduced to us along the way. In one meeting we learned about the students at a CA middle school with a Low Income student population of over 85% who year after year achieve APIs that exceed those of La Canada! No wonder this organization does not talk about the usual "Proficient or Above". Instead they focus on getting their students to the CA Dept of Education's highest measure of academic proficiency: "Advanced"!

In summary, the Altadena Schools effort is not just about forming a new school district. Our volunteers serve as representatives for closing the achievement gap, ready to help our fellow Altadenans avoid the mistake of unknowingly aligning themselves with those from past generations who turned away from the most urgent moral, social, and economic injustices of their times. It will be by tapping into the good nature we've found in our Altadena petition signers that we reach our ultimate goal, which is to end the injustice facing our Altadena students by closing the academic achievement gap at the first-in-the-nation scale of every school, grade, and subject in our community!

If you would like to help complete signature collection and/or help with the tasks that follow, please click on Get Involved!


Official website of Altadenans For Quality Education (AFQE, AUSD Now!)