November 26, 2003
A study by UC Berkeley sociologists found that the California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS) is the most successful public school in the state at preparing under-represented minorities and low income students for the University of California.
The study, reported in the Nov. 19 Los Angeles Times, found that while California high schools in affluent areas send the most graduates to UC, CAMS is beating the odds. It is competitive not only with top public schools but also with elite private schools.
"A notable exception in the study is CAMS," the Times wrote. "The school's percentage of graduates admitted to UC is 68.6 percent... But the school does not have an affluent student population--43 percent of its students qualify for subsidized meals, 13 percent of students are African American and 32 percent are Latino."
Only one public school--Whitney High, a selective school in Cerritos--had a higher acceptance rate, but it has only 4 percent of its students on subsidized meals, 1.7 percent African American and 6.3 percent Latino students. Only nine elite private schools had UC acceptance rates above 70 percent.
CAMS serves 600 high school students at the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus in Carson. The school's head counselor, Barry Baker, told the Times that high expectations and personalized attention are responsible for the large number of graduates admitted to UC.
CAMS' requirements exceed UC admission criteria. CAMS students take the equivalent of six years of science and four years of math, including calculus. Most students also take a college planning course.