In some California school districts, students consistently achieve at higher than expected levels, performing better than students of similar racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds in most other districts. Long Beach is one of those high performing school systems, says a new report, “California’s Positive Outliers: Districts Beating the Odds.”
The report was released this month by the nonprofit Learning Policy Institute. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., the institute seeks to advance evidence-based policies that support equitable learning for every child.
“Positive outlier districts appear to have leveraged the state’s updated educational standards, funding and accountability systems to support students in meeting more rigorous academic standards,” the report states.
The 44-page study was co-authored by LPI researcher and policy analyst Anne Podolsky, LPI President Linda Darling-Hammond (who is also president of the State Board of Education), Stanford professor Sean Reardon and RAND Associate Policy Researcher Christopher Doss.
After looking at 435 school districts, researchers identified Long Beach as one of the 167 positive outlier districts where Hispanic and white students achieve at higher than predicted levels relative to their socioeconomic status and 48 districts where African American and white students achieve at higher than predicted levels.
A common characteristic among the successful school systems is highly qualified teachers.
“The research finds that providing students with qualified, fully prepared teachers is a critical component for raising student achievement,” said Podolsky, the lead author. “Fully prepared teachers are also two to three times less likely to leave the profession early.”
Go to learningpolicyinstitute.org to view the full report.
In August, LPI will release a series of case studies that examine seven of the positive outlier districts, including Long Beach, San Diego Unified, Chula Vista Elementary, Clovis Unified, Gridley Unified, Hawthorne Unified and Sanger Unified school districts.