In 2018, the County Office of Education embarked on an effort to answer a question posed by the Santa Cruz Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The questions was: how well are our African American students doing in the schools of Santa Cruz County? The answer we found was that in nearly every measure of success, our schools were not meeting the needs of our African American students as demonstrated in the achievement gap between them and their white peers.
California Healthy Kids Survey
Administered every two years, the California Healthy Kids Survey asks students questions on a variety of areas related to school success.
School connectedness represents an important indicator of school success. When asked if they feel close to people at school, students must answer if the strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree, or strongly disagree with the statement. Over 40% of African American students consistently strongly disagree, disagree, or neither agree nor disagree with the statement. It is important to note that the number of African American students in the sample size is small, which could impact the generalizability of the data.
When asked the question "How safe do you feel when you are school?", students must select from the possibilities of very safe, safe, neither safe nor unsafe, unsafe, or very unsafe. Responses on the CDPH survey demonstrate that in 2019, African American youth who felt very unsafe, unsafe, or neither safe nor unsafe, increased dramatically. It is important to note that the number of African American students in the sample size is small, which could impact the generalizability of the data.
California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)
Performance on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), a system of assessments that measure student progress in different subjects. A common measure of success is the percentage of students who perform at or above the standards set for each grade level by the state of California.
CAASPP- State Assessment: English Language Arts
Performance on the Language Arts part of the CAASPP shows a consistent performance gap between African American students and their white and Asian peers.
CAASPP- State Assessment: Mathematics
In mathematics we see that the opportunity gap between African American students and their peers is even greater.
CAASPP- State Assessment: Science
In science the pattern continues with an opportunity gap between African American students and Asian, Bi-racial, and white students.