An education advocacy group gave the San Francisco Unified School District horrible marks this week for the subpar performance of black and Hispanic students and the size of the so-called achievement gap between these students and their white peers.
The Education Trust—West ranked SFUSD last among 147 California school districts that tested 5,000 students or more for the performance of black and Hispanic students, and near the bottom for the size of its achievement gap. It fell in the bottom fifth overall.
However, few California school districts did well on any of the markers, with Cs and Ds dominating the list. Only one district, in Riverside County, earned an overall grade of B. Grades were based on publicly available data from 2011, including test scores and graduation rates.
SFUSD Superintendent Carlos Garcia, who will retire after this school year, has focused his five-year tenure on closing the achievement gap and improving the performance of the district’s black and Hispanic minorities. Garcia said the report card pointed out the seriousness of the problem.
“This just illustrates how much more work there is ahead of us,” he said in a statement. “We have called the achievement gap out as a serious issue in San Francisco and it takes time to change this complex problem.”
Garcia said that, while the district is addressing the problem with projects such as special resources for schools in the Mission and Bayview neighborhoods, it takes time to see results.
“We think that we’re going to see some dramatic improvements in the coming years,” he said.
And there was a bright spot on the district’s report card — it was doing a better job at preparing black and Hispanic students for college. That was because more students were completing the A-G course sequence, a slate of classes required for admission into the University of California system.
Performance of Black and Latino Students - D
Performance of Low-Income Students - B
Improvement among Black and Latino Students - D
Improvement among Low-Income Students - D
Size of Achievement Gap between Black and White Students - F
Size of Gap between Latinos and Whites - F
College Readiness among Black and Latino Students - C
Overall Grade - D