The most recent California academic test scores were released two days ago, and the Montclair elementary schools did just fine. Take a look at the Academic Performance Indicators (APIs), where we show all the Oakland elementary schools which ranked at least “7” or more statewide, on a 1-10 scale.
Top Ten Scores
Based on these APIs, Thornhill and Montclair ranked in the top ten percent statewide, while Joaquin Miller fell into the second decile or top twenty percent of schools.
That kind of strong showing doesn’t surprise us at all. After all, there are plenty of devoted parents who spend time working at the schools, organizing fundraisers for student activities, and helping their kids study and finish their homework.
Things get more interesting when you look at our schools versus “similar schools,” which is a politically correct ranking against statewide peers with matching racial and economic profiles. Now you see that Thornhill, Montclair and Joaquin Miller have a little catching up to do.
New Super Looks At Inequities
Meanwhile Oakland has just appointed a new school superintendent, Dr. Anthony Smith. He already lives in Oakland and has a kindergartner entering Crocker Highlands next year too. Smith seems focused on helping the whole school system, especially the underachieving schools.
Smith has strong opinions about providing a good education rather than teaching for tests. According to the Tribune, he is rather dismissive of No Child Left Behind which has been “soul-stripping for students and for teachers.” He does want to ensure there are the right resources available to motivate learning.
The newcomer wants to examine the current fundraising model, which effectively contributes to have and have-not schools. In the hills, we work hard to raise funds all year long and deliver educational resources that aren’t available in the flats – like librarians and after-school activities. Many Oakland schools don’t have the luxury of fundraisers, of course.
With the budget crunch, we believe that Superintendent Smith will consider how to fairly redistribute wealth from all the available pools. Not to be greedy, but we wonder when it’s appropriate to “rob Peter to pay Paul.” Should one school’s efforts directly or indirectly benefit another?
More info: Take a quick look at the Oakland Tribune’s school blog, which covers all the latest district happenings from the beat reporter. Also check out the school scores released Thursday by California’s Department of Education. While this data took almost a year to collect and crunch, it still holds up to close scrutiny.