L.B. does well on API test

Full story: Long Beach Press-Telegram

City schools this year on average fared about as well as other schools in the state on standardized tests, according to data released Wednesday by the California Department of Education.
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Robert J G Jackson Sr

Long Beach, CA

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#1
May 22, 2008
 
So, half of Long Beach schools placed among the upper half of statewide schools. That means that fully half of Long Beach schools are below average. Not exactly a reason to celebrate. What I really love, is measuring schools not against the total state schools, but against only those schools with similar demographics. So you are measuring schools whcih have low expectations for their students, against other such schools with equally low expectations for achievement. Even there, with the statistics carefully manipulated, 14% of Long Beach students have below average achievement levels. 50% overall below average achievement in our schools, and 14% below average for schools which have low expectations for their students.

My friends, that is a record of failure, not one of achievement in Long Beach schools. Also, I notice at the end of the article is the formula the State uses to encourage the various schools to achieve, or to move toward an 800 level on the API tests. I appreciate that information, but I would certainly like to know what the specific scores are for Long Beach schools, and what the State has set as a target for next year's API tests

All of us should remember all of this the next time TALB demands pay increases, or recommends who we elect to political office. We should remember this dismal record of achievement the next time the LBUSD says that our "professional" teachers and their representatives deserve some kind of reward, more time off, or whatever other benefit they can dream up, or that the Board itself needs more funds. Money is not the problem here. Low expectations of our students guarantee failure. Lack of demand for professionalism and excellence in school administration and within TALB set equally low expecftations, and therefore equally poor achievement levels from our teachers.

For shame. Those who lose in this situation are the students.
Anonymous too

United States

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#2
May 22, 2008
 
Robert R J Jackson Sr.~ So you don't think that the students and their parents ought to have any accountability in the failures of those students? As the parent of a ten year old son, Who's school did very well, I can assure you that I had just as much to do with his success, as well as his teacher by making school important at home by providing a time to do homework, enforcing a bedtime, providing nutritious food and all the other things that all parents should do but don't because they are too busy being either friends with their kids or aren't good parents in the first place. I %100 believe the schools are only as good as the students parents behind it....
Robert J G Jackson Sr

Long Beach, CA

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#3
May 22, 2008
 
Anonymous too, I do not diminish the importance of parents in the education of their children. Certainly there are many parents who don't live up to their responsibilites. None the less, out of 64 Elementary Schools in Long Beach only 19 have achieved the goal of a score of 800 on the API. Amopng the 15 Middle Schools, the number which have achieved the goal of 800 is only 3. Among the 10 High Schools, the number is only 1. The title of this article is "Long Beach Does Well on API Test". It certainly doesn't appear to me that Long Beach is doing well. I would urge the author to take a closer look. Apparently, only 10% of our High Schools are achieving the goal. That is not a record of achievement, and making excuses doesn't change the bald facts.
Anonymous too

United States

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#4
May 22, 2008
 
Ok, I agree with you. I, actually, was kind of surprised by the article, too. I think as a whole, our schools SHOULD be doing a lot better...I wish there was an easy fix. I don't know if you remember the series of articles the Press Telegram had several years ago about the "newcomers" (ie...immigrants, legal and illegal) coming to Long Beach and didn't understand how the grades their children were coming home with.....One mother in the article, who did NOT speak English (and a legal residents of Asian distraction), was told by her child that the F's and D's on her child's report stood for Fantastic and Dandy. I don't know about you but that clearly is the parents fault and not the schools. How many of our students fall through the cracks because their parents can't, won't or refuse to participate in their own child's education (or learn English)....I think I'd be worth the Press Telegrams time to find out how that family and in particular that child is doing now......
Anonymous too

United States

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#5
May 22, 2008
 
I'd like to point out that I in no way affiliated with teachers or teaching.....Obviously, by the errors in my comments from being an exhausted 3rd shifter when I 'read' and comment on the newspaper articles.......Probably why I am so gungho that my child do well in school and get a good education, in the first place.....If anyone from the Press Telegram (or Topix) is reading this, can't you have any way for us to edit our comments?
LB Single Mom

Pasadena, CA

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#6
May 22, 2008
 
I agree the article is a joke. WHat exactly is the criteria for "doing well" according to the PT?
All I can say is that happily my youngest is graduating Poly in a few weeks (having had the geographical good luck having attended Longfellow, Hughes, and Poly)and I feel that we have survived the LBUSD and are moving on to the CSU's (god help us!).
I have to add this amusing story-
Last week my senior came home to tell me that in his Economics class they were told that when they turn 18 they should go out and get a credit card in their name and to go buy some stuff and make payments on it so they could start working on their credit rating. No mention of getting a job.
He was confused (this is my less cynical child) since I always rail against spending money you don't have. I set him straight as you can imagine.
Great job LBUSD!
LB Native

United States

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#7
May 22, 2008
 
Robert J G Jackson Sr wrote:
So, half of Long Beach schools placed among the upper half of statewide schools. That means that fully half of Long Beach schools are below average. Not exactly a reason to celebrate. What I really love, is measuring schools not against the total state schools, but against only those schools with similar demographics. So you are measuring schools whcih have low expectations for their students, against other such schools with equally low expectations for achievement. Even there, with the statistics carefully manipulated, 14% of Long Beach students have below average achievement levels. 50% overall below average achievement in our schools, and 14% below average for schools which have low expectations for their students.
My friends, that is a record of failure, not one of achievement in Long Beach schools. Also, I notice at the end of the article is the formula the State uses to encourage the various schools to achieve, or to move toward an 800 level on the API tests. I appreciate that information, but I would certainly like to know what the specific scores are for Long Beach schools, and what the State has set as a target for next year's API tests
All of us should remember all of this the next time TALB demands pay increases, or recommends who we elect to political office. We should remember this dismal record of achievement the next time the LBUSD says that our "professional" teachers and their representatives deserve some kind of reward, more time off, or whatever other benefit they can dream up, or that the Board itself needs more funds. Money is not the problem here. Low expectations of our students guarantee failure. Lack of demand for professionalism and excellence in school administration and within TALB set equally low expecftations, and therefore equally poor achievement levels from our teachers.
For shame. Those who lose in this situation are the students.
I think it's really convenient for you to sit back and criticize what us teachers do. You and the rest of the general public have absolutely no idea what we are faced with everyday, and the incredible accomplishments we attain with our students on a daily basis. I'll give you just a few examples:
I see approx. 50 kids/day who are struggling readers, 90% of which have English as a second language and most of which have illiterate or extremely poorly educated parents. Many of my kids come to school without eating breakfast, or have eaten hot cheetos for breakfast. I have several kids who are being physically/verbally abused by siblings and/or parents (and don't try to tell me it's my responsibity to call DCFS, I do and I will continue, but they're just as overwhelmed as we are). I have many students who wear the same dirty shirt to school every day of the week. Many who have seen their fair share of rated R movies and listen to unedited music, only to bring that trash to school with them. MANY who have already decided that the gang life is for them, because they have no home life, and older siblings who are already affiliated. I've had elementary students who I know for a fact have had sex (and don't even get me started on what our middle schoolers are doing). Despite these ridiculous and unfortunate circumstances, our students achieve academic success on a daily basis. I see teachers every single day who act as a parent, counselor and nurse, and still manage to get the content taught in an effective and creative way to reach the incredibly diverse student population we have. We work incredibly hard and deserve all the accolades we receive. If you have so much to say about how horrible our teachers are, get involved and make a difference yourself. Apply to become a VIPS (volunteer in public schools). We need all the help we can get.

Since: May 08

Long Beach, CA

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#8
May 22, 2008
 
A city that has such high volumes of teen violence and unwanted pregnancies will never be a shining star when it comes to schools. People always said that long beach has great schools, but then why do we have so much teen violence? That doesn't make any sense. Plus i see groups of kids at the beach everyday who ditched school, so that they can sit on a polluted beach.
LB Single Mom

Pasadena, CA

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#9
May 22, 2008
 
I am a VIP and go in once a week- every week for the past two years (this time) to the local elementary school- and my kids are graduating HS. Yes VIPing can ease the burden a bit but from my viewpoint, the system is simply broken. Everything revolves around testing.....money and politics. I still show up on Mondays but it's not looking good. We're suffering from too much political authority, disorder and confusion in education.
LB Native

United States

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#10
May 22, 2008
 
LB Single Mom wrote:
I am a VIP and go in once a week- every week for the past two years (this time) to the local elementary school- and my kids are graduating HS. Yes VIPing can ease the burden a bit but from my viewpoint, the system is simply broken. Everything revolves around testing.....money and politics. I still show up on Mondays but it's not looking good. We're suffering from too much political authority, disorder and confusion in education.
First off, I sincerely appreciate the fact that you're trying to make a difference in our public school system. We need so many more parents like you. The problem of our schools is extremely complex, and there is no one answer. I really believe it starts in the home. If kids could come to school and just focus on learning, and nothing else going on in their lives, things would be a lot different. Someone else posted about all the teen violence. He's right, but again, where do you think kids are learning that from? Certainly not their teachers! They're getting away with it at home, and often times their parents are promoting it! Like I said, it's complex, and teachers aren't perfect. There are always improvements to be made in instruction etc. However, the fact that schools like Lowell and Longfellow for example do so well isn't because their teachers are better, it's because their PARENTS are better.
Robert J G Jackson Sr

Long Beach, CA

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#11
May 22, 2008
 
LB Native, you may be the best teacher in LBUSD. You and your close colleagues, who are probably also successful teachers, may be making great achievements. You, yourself may be working hard to serve and educate your students. But the fact remains that only one single High School in the District is meeting it's goals. Only three middle schools and only 19 out of 64 elementary schools are meeting their expectations. Despite any excuses, or despite whatever difficulties which may be raised, the facts remain and most schools are not succeeding. It is an obvious misstatement of the facts for the P-T to claim that our schools are doing well. It is obvious that for the schools to become successful, they must stop patting themselves on the back for failure and calling it success. The statistics don't lie. LBUSD, TALB, and everyone else involved in education in Long Beach needs to wake up and pay attention. There are tremedous resources available from many, many sources, including the University and the City College. That also includes the LBPD, whose officers state that they are not welcome at many schools. Ask for Junior ROTC programs to help teach some of these disadvantaged kids the values of character and discipline which they are not receiving at home. Teach them that as bad as their home life may be, the answer and the way out is a good education, not drugs and gangs.

You have my very best wishes for great success in the future, but please don't pretend that success is already achieved.
Robert J G Jackson Sr

Long Beach, CA

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#12
May 22, 2008
 
LB Native, I'm fraid that my health does nhot permit me to become a VIP. However, I do admire that program. I also understand how important good parenting is to the education of a child. But the real question here is what happens to those students who do not have attentive, loving parents? Are they to be left to their own devices as they drift slowly into gangs, drugs and a life of crime? Are the schools to simply accept their failing scores on API testing because of demographics? I saw a proposal the other day to give all students a diploma, a regular one for those who were successful in school, and a different one for those who weren't. If we choose to do that, we are accepting defeat for all the students who need the most help. It is up to the educational professionals to demand more, more from the District, more from TALB, more from the parents, and most importantly, more from the students. Set an expectation of excellence, not one of failure.
LB Native

United States

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#13
May 22, 2008
 
Robert J G Jackson Sr wrote:
LB Native, I'm fraid that my health does nhot permit me to become a VIP. However, I do admire that program. I also understand how important good parenting is to the education of a child. But the real question here is what happens to those students who do not have attentive, loving parents? Are they to be left to their own devices as they drift slowly into gangs, drugs and a life of crime? Are the schools to simply accept their failing scores on API testing because of demographics? I saw a proposal the other day to give all students a diploma, a regular one for those who were successful in school, and a different one for those who weren't. If we choose to do that, we are accepting defeat for all the students who need the most help. It is up to the educational professionals to demand more, more from the District, more from TALB, more from the parents, and most importantly, more from the students. Set an expectation of excellence, not one of failure.
It's extremely frustrating and false to hear you say that we have an expectation of failure. You simply have no idea what you are talking about. I do not know one single teacher who has an expectation of failure. And for the record TALB doesn't teach our kids, thankfully, and in my opinion they're a sinking pathetic ship. We as teachers and a district have our eyes wide open to the problems we face and to the fact that many of our kids aren't making it and we will never just accept that our kids are failing. We counsel our kids daily on alternatives to gang life, drugs, etc. However, the most important and lasting effect on our students is their parents, and as teachers is it nearly (not always) impossible to simply undo 10-15 years of terrible parenting. I haven't read or heard anything about that diploma proposal, although it sounds pointless to me.

Look, I'm not at all implying that teachers aren't an important piece of the pie here, or that we're all perfect, I certainly am not myself. However, to simply say that we have low expectations and accept failure is absolutely false.
Impartial

Long Beach, CA

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#14
May 22, 2008
 
If you look at the schools that did well, one can see where they are located and what type of student attends those school. The API is nothing more than the Affluent Parent Index. When parents have money, students do well. When we can get the parents of these low achievers on board, that is when we will see dramatic results. Teachers have their hands tied. The best teacher in the world can't make a student who misses 80 days be successful. the best teachers can't be in the home to make them do their homework or complete assignments. Mr. Jackson has a horrible attitude toward teachers and TALB (and way too much time on his hands). Nothing he says makes one bit sense to teachers. I still think he must be a school board member , or at least a close friend of one. He leans way too far in that direction.
Parent Child Advocate

Santa Monica, CA

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#15
May 22, 2008
 
Finally, its refreshing to see genuine discourse regarding the state of education in LBUSD. Thank you caring teachers for taking the time to contribute. Teachers tend to view the education statistics as a waste of time and think the public doesn't understand or appreciate their heroic efforts in the classroom. For those of us parents who have been involved in education, we can see what the problems are and know there are sometimes unsurmountable challenges that stem from the home environment. Teachers can't magically fix society.

At the same, those statistics are an indication of what is happening, like taking an education temperature. The numbers don't mean that teachers are not doing everything humanly possible, it means that there are large numbers of students who are not where they need to be academically. If only we could remove the defensiveness of the various political factions and just get down to what needs to be done to find solutions to the problem of low academic achievement.

There is no question in my mind that the LBUSD brass and the Press Telegram try to put a spin on things to promote a positive reputation for Long Beach. Good news makes you feel good, but that does not address the critical problem that is not going away...too many students are illiterate. The students are the future of California. What really needs to happen is an objective look at what works and what doesn't and how resources are allocated to achieve the best outcome for students. Teachers cannot do that alone, it will take the cooperation of the administration, community and most importantly parents.

"Bring me solutions, not problems." -- former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Robert J G Jackson Sr

Long Beach, CA

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#16
May 22, 2008
 
Sorry Impartial. Nothing to do with the Board, or anything close to it. Just an observer who fails to see that the P-T claiming the city's schools are doing well, while in fact the actual report shows them to be failing will not do anything to move the ball in the right direction. Fooling ourselves only ignores the probem. Committed, professional teachers like LB Native, getting parents more involved, convincing the students themselves that education is a necessary thing to improving their lives, all will make a positive difference. So lets do those things which will improve results, and not kid ourselves about what those results are.
ABC

Long Beach, CA

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#17
May 22, 2008
 
Correlation to a school's API success is well reflected by the Number of REAL credentialed TEACHERS at a campus.

Why are some schools staffed with above 96% credentialed teachers and other schools "training grounds" for interns?

At some schools one out of 20 teachers may be an "intern/non-credentialed "
At others one out of 6 teachers is "in training"
At some schools every third teacher has "issues" before being credentialed.

PERCENTAGE of Fully Credentialed Teachers 2006-07

FULLERTON HIGH 100.0
WHITNEY HIGH 100.0
GAHR HIGH 100.0
LOS ALAMITOS HIGH 98.3
CYPRESS 98
CERRITOS HIGH 97.8
BUENA PARK HIGH 97.6
TROY HIGH 97.1
SUNNY HILLS HIGH 96.9
LAKEWOOD HIGH 96.2
MILLIKAN 94
ARTESIA 94

LA MIRADA HIGH 92.2
JOHN H. GLENN HIGH 86.1
NORWALK HIGH 84.7

DOMINGUEZ HIGH 78

http://data1.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/

RE: "If you look at the schools that did well....The API is nothing more than the Affluent Parent Index."

Perhaps, or:

Administration's Patheticly Inept

Administrative Payscale Inversion (a higher district administration payscale (cost per pupil) is inversly correlated to scores.)

Abysmal Principal Incharge

Also, schools with successful athletic programs tend to score high so:

Athletic Program Intact
API by State Definition

Santa Monica, CA

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#18
May 22, 2008
 
What is the API?

The API is a single number, ranging from a low of 200 to a high of 1000, that reflects a school’s or LEA’s performance level, based on the results of statewide testing. Its purpose is to measure the academic performance and growth of schools. The API was established by the PSAA, a landmark state law passed in 1999 that created a new academic accountability system for K-12 public education in California. The PSAA also established an alternative accountability system for schools serving high-risk students— the Alternative Schools Accountability Model (ASAM). The API is calculated by converting a student’s performance on statewide assessments across multiple content areas into points on the API scale. These points are then averaged across all students and all tests. The result is the API. An API is also calculated for LEAs and for each numerically significant subgroup of students at a school or LEA.(An LEA, for API reporting, is defined as a school district or a county office of education.) Schools and numerically significant subgroups have unique annual API growth targets.

Assessment Results Used In the API
The information that forms the basis for calculating the API comes from the results of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program and the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE). More information about these testing programs is located on the Testing and Accountability Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ .

http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/documents/info...
CHS

Fullerton, CA

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#19
May 22, 2008
 
It's all about culture - as in cultural bias.

Believe me, the white guys who are writing and evaluating this test are not doing it for the benefit of people of color.

It's no surprise that the largely-white schools I attended 30+ years ago (Lowell/Rogers/Wilson) are still recording the highest scores. Yes, I do realize that all three schools are much more diverse than they were "back in the day." However, kids from the affluent neighborhoods near those schools still predominate.
Impartial

Long Beach, CA

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#20
May 22, 2008
 
ABC wrote:
Correlation to a school's API success is well reflected by the Number of REAL credentialed TEACHERS at a campus.
Why are some schools staffed with above 96% credentialed teachers and other schools "training grounds" for interns?
At some schools one out of 20 teachers may be an "intern/non-credentialed "
At others one out of 6 teachers is "in training"
At some schools every third teacher has "issues" before being credentialed.
PERCENTAGE of Fully Credentialed Teachers 2006-07
FULLERTON HIGH 100.0
WHITNEY HIGH 100.0
GAHR HIGH 100.0
LOS ALAMITOS HIGH 98.3
CYPRESS 98
CERRITOS HIGH 97.8
BUENA PARK HIGH 97.6
TROY HIGH 97.1
SUNNY HILLS HIGH 96.9
LAKEWOOD HIGH 96.2
MILLIKAN 94
ARTESIA 94
LA MIRADA HIGH 92.2
JOHN H. GLENN HIGH 86.1
NORWALK HIGH 84.7
DOMINGUEZ HIGH 78
http://data1.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/
RE: "If you look at the schools that did well....The API is nothing more than the Affluent Parent Index."
Perhaps, or:
Administration's Patheticly Inept
Administrative Payscale Inversion (a higher district administration payscale (cost per pupil) is inversly correlated to scores.)
Abysmal Principal Incharge
Also, schools with successful athletic programs tend to score high so:
Athletic Program Intact
Great post! I agree 100%. But even more powerful than credentialed teachers is parent education levels and parent support of education. You look at all the schools you listed and you will see that most of them are in pretty affluent neighborhoods. Parent attitude toward a child's education is a #1 priority. If you have a parent talking bad about a teacher at home, or not following through with a child's assignments, then that child will have no respect for the teacher or his/her own education. In my opinion, and from my experience, PARENTS are public educations worst emeny! Just think of this; if this is not the case, then why don't private schools or religious schools have the problems that public schools have? Just a little something to think about.....

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