Addressing the Root Causes of the Achievement Gap

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According to the UCLA Civil Rights Project, America’s schools are currently as economically and racially segregated as they were 50 years ago. Racial segregation is something that we have struggled with for decades with in San Francisco, as are the issues of inadequate housing stock, income insecurity, stagnant wages, and health care gaps. 1

We need a better way forward as a district. What is needed district wide isn't simple but necessary. We need to establish diverse schools that are truly integrated with students who are non-majority by offering and communicating the ability of choice to communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities early and often. This means revamping the lottery and working across the district to identify the schools that need assistance in creating a stronger school community.

Diverse non-majority schools are multicultural education in action, where no one cultural background is more prevalent. Where students learn relevant curriculum that give them a deeper cultural understanding of one another. This multicultural education allows students to learn about the cultures of their peers and create the social bonds that build community. The benefits are not solely for the non-majority student, but the entire student community is bettered by the addition of non-majority populations and possible curriculum changes. 2

According to SFUSD data, for kindergarten 86 percent of families were assigned a school of their choice, compared to 88 percent last year. There are 64 TK-5th and eight TK-8th schools in the district, and 52 percent of families chose one of 17 schools for their first choice. If there are only 17 perceived wonderful schools in the district, then there are at least 57 of the schools with either image problems or real difficulties need the assistance of the district to better their academics and quality, both real and perceived, to become more attractive to those 4,593 families that applied during the lottery. 3

Resources:
1. The UCLA Civil Rights Project (Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles), K-12 Education
2. Race, Ethnicity, and Place in a Changing America, Third Edition
edited by John W. Frazier , Eugene L. Tettey-Fio, Norah F. Henry
3. San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Data Sheet


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