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"API Soared
"
(10/20/2009)

Our volunteers came across an interesting flyer that was being handed out to PUSD parents during BTS. Next to a pretty chart on this flyer were the words "PUSD's average Academic Performance Index (API) soared a historic 22 points to 742 for 2009, putting us closer to our goal of 800 by 2011."

Setting aside for now the problems we've pointed out with indexed scores whose definitions have changed as much as the API has this decade, let's take a closer look at the flyer's claim. First of all, almost every large CA urban school district can produce a virtually identical chart using the same API data. For a copy of the PUSD chart, see the chart in the upper left corner of: PUSD API Growth 2005-09 (1 page, PDF).

Second, the flyer's unqualified "soared" praise ignores the terrible truth that in PUSD and across CA, White and Asian APIs are growing among the fastest of any subgroup. (See the other charts in the above link). So for as long as this perfectly avoidable injustice continues on the road to the real API goal of 1,000, the timeline for closing the huge underlying academic proficiency gap across CA and at PUSD will certainly continue for well over the next 100 years.

So is all hope lost? Of course not! In fact, if PUSD took the time it invested these past two years proclaiming how it is "examining successful models in other districts for equalizing academic gains" and actually used it for closing the academic achievement gap, PUSD would not be falling behind its demographic top comparables with ever increasing speed.

So who are the best among PUSD's demographically comparable schools? Any PUSD educator can get the list, along with their addresses and phone numbers to find out what they're doing to close the achievement gap so quickly. To find out about your favorite PUSD school's top comparables click on 2009 Top Comparables by PUSD School (1 page, XLS). For those interested in seeing how often these schools appear as PUSD top comparables, please see 2009 Top Comparables by Rank in PUSD (1 page, XLS).

Which educators seek out this kind of information and use that to actually close the achievement gap quickly? The very rare leaders we've talked about in the past. First lady Michelle Obama also spoke of them recently when she said: "The qualities that make an outstanding teacher are also the qualities of a great leader."

In closing, if you would like to help finish signature collection and/or assist with the tasks that will become due soon after the team returns the petitions to the LA County Office of Education, please click on Get Involved!


 

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