Who’s attending CA’s elite public schools?

I finally got around to sorting state-level test score data, something I’ve been meaning to do since the Academic Performance Index release last month. (Boy, is it harder than it should be. Those mismatched column headers…)

Hillcrest Elementary/Tribune file photoFive of Oakland’s schools are up in the top 100 — roughly 1 percent of all public schools in California — when sorted by API: the three American Indian Model charter schools, Montclair and Hillcrest.

The American Indian Public Charter School in East Oakland’s Laurel District was the highest-performing middle school in the state, with an API of 988. (Not including schools with K-8 or 6-12 grade configurations, whose middle school scores aren’t broken out here.)

Here are some more data points:

  • Only nine schools in the top 100 educate a “significant” number of low-income students, as defined by NCLB (which means they need to report the scores of that group of kids); three of those nine are the American Indian Model schools.
  • None of the top 100 schools had aggregate scores for black students or special needs students, meaning their numbers are too small. And while Latino children make up nearly half of California’s public school population, their scores are included at just eight of the 100 schools.
  • Asian students make up about 8 percent of the state’s public school population; about 75 percent of the top 100 schools have significant numbers of Asian students.
  • English learners are represented in significant numbers at about one-third of the top 100 schools.
  • White students, about 28 percent of the state’s schoolkids, are represented in about two-thirds of the schools in the top 100.
  • Oakland’s Chabot Elementary (overall API 941; African-American API: 880) was the best-ranked school in the state that educates a significant number of black students.

You can find the spreadsheet here. You’ll find schools and districts sorted by API, as well as whether the data for each school includes “significant” numbers of black, Asian, Latino, white, low-income, English learners and special education students.

Oakland USD schools are highlighted in green.

Some of the API scores are missing — for white students, for example. I haven’t had a chance to sort through the entire mess of data yet.

What else do you see?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • susan

    YOu mean it is not obvious? Of course the schools with a majority of Asian and Anglos are going to be the highest performing and most coveted. This is what the Achievement Gap phenomenon points out.

    The fact is, that this is a reality for a number of reasons and not simply a blame the schools. Latinos and African American families deserve more, and should be expected of more. Take the responsibility that many youth in the inner city are apathetic towards school.

    I think this story is pointless because we already know this.

    I think that it is fabulous that a middle school in Oakland is the highest ranking in the state of CA; whether all Asian or not.

  • Chauncey

    Good is good regardless! I am glad that a charter is the best in the state, and from Oakland no less!

    As for the elementary’s schools listed- of course; they are in the hills!

  • Nextset

    Interesting and hardly news to anyone who has read “The Bell Curve”.

    Have you seen Piedmont High stats lately?

    German Jews are typically counted as “white”. They throw off the numbers just as much as the Asians (who are not Hmong).


    The reason for being of the public schools is not the education of the elite, who are always going to take care of themselves anyway. The CA public schools dominant reason for being and policy imperatives are all about “educating” the proletariat. With the USA bringing in millions of third worlders to supplant the Americans – the needs of the proles are going to be more and more acute (ie Tower of Babel issues at LA Unified).

    I don’t agree with this policy – replacing the people with new people the elites think they can dominate. But regardless of that, what are the public schools doing to improve social mobility and employ-ability for the proletariat of this state?

    Just as the Democratic Party controlled state legislature has destroyed jobs industry by industry in the state they are destroying social mobility of it’s proles.

    Last night I had dinner with a couple with a 5th grade black child. I asked him what he was studying in his (public – but not OUSD) school. He mentioned history. Great. I asked him who he was learning about. He said “Michelle Kwan”. I asked who else. His answers all sounded like characters from People Magazine (Women and Minorities in entertainment and social justice). No Thomas Edison, No Douglas MacArthur, Patton or Eisenhower. No Teddy Roosevelt. No Henry the 8th, Victoria. No Henry Ford. I gave up names after that.

    His parents were not happy at the answers but I was surprised they weren’t aware of this without me asking these questions. They assumed the school was teaching something like what they’d experienced. Not so. This little black child is being taught “happy things” probably calculated to improve his “self esteem” or some such. Pacification, pure and simple. He’s a happy child, Michelle Kwan is nice to look at. He will probably grow up in that school district not learning anything about commerce, politics & the world which he would have learned at Piedmont Elementary Schools. He will also be less able to compete in the Brave New World.

    And this burns me up. He’s a bright kid. Because he’s black he will never get the education I did. That’s wrong.

  • http://www.BoyScoutXMAS.com AIPCS Parent

    Congrats, Katy:

    A search of Google News, shows that this is the first article that mentions American Indian Public Charter school by name as being the #1 performing middle school in the entire state. (and #3 ranking High School in the state).

    With all the hullaballoo about “Waiting for Superman”, Oprah’s multi-million dollar donation to Aspire, and Zuckerburg’s $100MM donation to Newark School System, etc….. it is amazing that there has been no coverage featuring AIPCS in the Media.

    Also amazing that the school has not gotten any calls/congratulations/increased support from the Governor, OUSD, or anyone else.

  • Steve M.

    No mention made, of course, of Oakland Charter Academy, which is 97% Latino, and scored 954. This Oakland middle school was the first primarily Hispanic school in the country to win the coveted National Blue Ribbon Award, as awarded by the United States Department of Education (the ceremony was attended by Tribune reporter Katy Murphy and a Tribune photographer, at which point Murphy decided their accomplishment wasn’t newsworthy and killed the story).

  • http://www.BoyScoutXMAS.com AIPCS Parent

    Steve…. take comfort… at least OCA is “covered” by the “American Indian Model” mention…. next step actually getting the name of OCA in the press :-)

  • TheTruthHurts

    Nextset. Are you reading these articles? The Bell Curve is mostly about race and these schools are achieving with virtually 100% minority populations. If anything, these successes show race is irrelevant and income is less relevant than most would suggest.

    Of course, if my whole community, history, environment are money, access, focus on academic achievement and homogeniety, I’d expect Piedmont to do better. In fact, I’d expect them to do better comparatively than they are actually doing.

    That is not to disparage anyone, but to take your argument and show its significant flaws.

    BTW, congrats to AIPCS. People may not like everything you’re doing, but clearly something is going right.

  • http://www.BoyScoutXMAS.com AIPCS Parent

    There are 3 kids at AIPCS (the #1 performing school int the state) that are in Boy Scouts (Troop 206-Oakland).

    If you are planning to have a Christmas wreath on your door this year, you can support these kids by buying your wreath from their Boy Scout Troop.

    I set up a website for them to collect leads: http://www.BoyScoutXMAS.com

    These kids are so busy doing homework and attended Saturday School that they have very limited time to go out and sell these wreaths. They have to sell at least 25 wreaths each or their parents have to cough up the money to cover it…

    You don’t have to pay until the wreath is delivered on Dec 5th.

    The wreaths are VERY high quality and reasonably priced.

    If you have any questions, leave your email/phone on the site’s form and I will call/email you back personally.



  • OaklandNeighbor

    @AIPCSParent:the data is out finally, its not just talk that AIPCS family “cherry pick” the students. AIPCS II is one or two blocks away from “Lincoln Elementary” who received the National Blue Ribbon Award this year and which makes up the majority if not all of middle school students for AIPCS II. Do you see the pattern? What ppl need to understand is that AIPCS family prefer to have Asian students for the simple fact that they can do with the student as they please, Asian parents don’t question anything they just go along with the flow, and Latino parents want answers to their questions, frankly AIPCS don’t want to deal with them Latinos.
    @Steve M.: My respects to OCA, the school is located in the middle of what I call “the Ghetto”, were you see PROSTITUTION, DRUG DEALING and GANG activity. Now this is a school that has to deal with challenges on a daily basis.
    I live in the neighborhood I know what it’s like…

  • Oakland Teacher

    Sorry to be a bah-humbug, but Katie – are you going to open the floodgates for all of us soliciting for our favorite charity?

    I would really hate to see this blog become filled with postings for walkathons, magazine drives, etc… and those would at least be to benefit OUSD schools. #8 is soliciting for an organization that is not part of the Oakland Schools, even though many troops meet at school sites.

    Those kind of postings are far more fitting for other types of blogs or Craigs List, but not this one.

  • Roberta

    Any update on the details surrounding the real estate deal between OCA’s Jorge Lopez and AIPCS’s Ben Chavis? It’s pretty clear that’s why Lopez abruptly resigned from his seat on the CA BOE.


    “…Those economic documents, along with Secretary of State business filings and other charter school records, show an interlocking series of business arrangements involving Lopez, his schools and a close associate, Ben Chavis of Oakland.

    “In 2007, for example, both Lopez’s school, Oakland Charter High, and Chavis’ school, American Indian Public Charter School II, were approved by the Oakland school district to operate at 3800 Mountain Blvd.

    “But neither went to Mountain Boulevard. Instead, both schools moved to an office building at 171 12th St., which was recently purchased for $7.4 million by Lumbee Properties LLC, a company founded and managed by Chavis. Shortly thereafter, Lopez started a property management firm, called Sun Management Group.

    “By 2009, Lopez would report personally collecting between $10,000 to $100,000 in rent annually for holding a 13-year lease on the 171 12th St. property. It’s unclear why Lopez reported collecting rent on property owned by Chavis. Sun Management received another $10,000 to $100,000 from American Indian Public Charter School II, Chavis’ school located at the 171 12th St. property.”

  • Katy Murphy

    Hmm… I see your point. Unless it becomes a major distraction, though, I don’t see the harm in it. More importantly, I don’t want to be agonizing over what events or causes are OK for people to promote in the comments section and which aren’t. If someone is interested in an upcoming school dance-athon, they can read more about it. If not, they can just move to the next comment.

  • Catherine

    When I look at the students I have come in contact with (over 300 directly in four Oakland elementary schools in the past three years) I find that the students of color may be middle income, working class or poor. The vast majority of these students have difficulty delaying gratification.

    For example, teachers (and schools) who work with students of color and working class/poor students often have a daily reward system vs the high performing middle class or white attended schools who have monthly or trimester or semester based rewards systems.

    Nearly every student I spoke to in poor and working class family has one or more “gaming” systems – Wii, X-Box, Nintendo DS, etc. whether or not they claim they can buy their child pencils or notebooks.

    Over 3/4 of the students in high achieving schools have library cards and use them – nearly all of the the high performing schools have a library with a librarian in which the classes visit at least once per week. Libraries come before sports. In the low performing schools, they have sports programs that come before libraries and the libraries often have clerks that help students check out books, not someone experiences to teach students the systems the library uses of cataloging, sorting and filing books.

    High performing schools teach about systems – solar system, transportation system, economic system, political system and so on. Low performing schools teach the planets, busses, trains, money, balancing a checkbook, democrats and republicans, but not about systems. In this way, the students in high performing schools look for systematic patterns from kindergarten on. In low performing schools there seems to be no link. So the reproductive system of plants, frogs and humans have nothing to do with one another. In high performing schools, students easily draw conclusions because they have learned the life cycles and systems.

    I have given a lot of thought to what will help students succeed in school. And if I could name the primary factor, in my mind it would be the ability to delay gratification. Until students can restrain themselves when somebody is “messin’ with me” they will not be able to advance their education because their focus in not on looking at the big picture was seeing only what is immediately in front of them.

    If Tony Smith works on one thing in his Oakland career it should be to grapple the problem of the immediate gratification issue. The boys I work with who are good at sports can tell you who was drafted from what college, but they cannot see that they will not be able to play professional sports themselves because they will not be able to pass the high school exit exam in 5 years if they are reading at a third grade level in 7th grade. They cannot see into high school, much less into college.

    That is the difference in social class as well as in school performance.

  • Nextset

    Catherine: When I was at Berkeley we were required to read Banfield’s “The Unheavenly City” (some sociology/poli sci class). It gave a definition of “class” that always stuck with me. The lower the class, the more present oriented, the higher the class, the more future oriented. The top classes are doing, buying and establishing things for eventual use by their (own) grandchildren and beyond. The lowest classes can’t plan for the weekend. Everything about their lives comes from that thinking.

    While lower class cannot be transformed into what they are not, you can train them to take some of the cutting edge off the present oriented behaviors. Pain and punishments are the best/most effective (only effective) method of doing that according to Banfield. This is because the lower class are present oriented, only immediate and relatively severe adverse consequences work in training that bunch. Our prole schools used to follow this. Now they don’t. So we have the elevated premature death, imprisonment & other bad results.

    Our prole schools have done their best to insulate ghetto dwellers from immediate and severe consequences for any bad behavior. Thing is, when they get into the Brave New World they are roadkill. To the extent the Democratic Party and it’s rad-lib elites persist in protecting ghetto dwellers from consequences (welfare, liberal crime policy, cessation of public health controls) they turn minority neighborhoods and then the entire state into a jungle.

    School policy is key to this entire problem – social mobility and having a decent society.

    You are so right about the immediate gratification problem. We sure could fix that. Doing so would upset the pacification policy that is supreme in OUSD and similar schools. They just don’t want the chillun’ to be unhappy, miserable, stressed or scared. They are not the Nuns running the 1960’s Oakland Catholic Schools.

  • OaklandNeighbor

    @Roberta: so what your saying is that Lopez and Chavis income is more important to investigate or to know about?
    I’m sorry, but to me the priority is educating our Oakland future which is our children and youth. There is so many reasons why our children aren’t learning how they should at schools in general(public and charter), and I would say one of the reasons is that we lose focus. People go out of their ways to investigate irrelevant matters. Are we going to investigate what all the teachers and principals in the city of Oakland do? of course NOT let’s just go after those who are proving they know how to educate our children and youth, right.

    Questions on which kids are learning just chk the AYP’s for the schools.

  • Justin Booker

    I think the more striking thing is that whites make up 28% of the state student population but make up 2/3rds of the students in the top 100 and asians who make up 8% of the population make up 75% of the students in the schools in the top 100. It looks to me as if the educational system is catering their practices to the minority of students. Why are we using the sucess of a few as the bar that the majority of the students should meet. Especially when our top 5% of students nation wide rank 28th in the world.

  • Katy Murphy

    Just to clarify what might have been unclear in my post: Asian students are represented in “significant” numbers at about three-fourths of the top 100 schools. It’s not that they make up 75 percent of the total population.

    At each of those roughly 75 schools, they could make up a relatively small percentage (but not too small) of the student body and still be considered a “significant subgroup” under NCLB.