A ‘great victory’ for public education in California
By LEE SHEAK | The Associated PressWASHINGTON — Public education officials are celebrating the release of a new study showing that California’s high-poverty schools have improved students’ academic performance and lowered crime rates over the past 20 years.
The California Department of Education and California Public Employees Retirement System said Tuesday that the study was a key finding in its “State of the State” report that the Legislature passed in 2018 to improve the state’s schools.
The report, released by the state Office of Statewide Education and the California Department in a joint release, said the state has made progress in reducing crime rates and school dropouts and that “schools are providing a valuable service to our communities and our state.”
The study found that in 2021, students who attended a school that had a student-to-teacher ratio of about 85 percent or more were 50 percent less likely to drop out of high school than students who had an average ratio of less than 70 percent.
The school dropout rate also dropped to 17.9 percent in 2021 compared with 20.9 in 2020, according to the study.
The dropout rates dropped in most districts, with districts in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego having the lowest dropout and the largest increases in the schools with the largest dropout ratios.
School districts that have the lowest student-teach ratio, which is a ratio of more than 80 percent, saw their student-dropout rates drop by 13.6 percentage points and their crime rates drop 12.6 points, the report said.
The crime dropouts also increased from 7,814 in 2021 to 9,914 in 2022.
California had one of the lowest rates of student dropouts of any state in the nation and one of highest rates of dropouts among the states with the highest student dropout ratio.
The study was based on data from more than 12,000 California school districts.
The state’s high schools have been a hotbed for social-justice and racial-justice activism in recent years, and the study focused on schools with low student-takes-home, or student-per-student income, ratios, which are defined as schools with a ratio that is below 10 percent.
The report said the low-income school districts have had the greatest reduction in dropouts in the past five years.
“The report shows that schools with student-income ratios below 10% are doing more than ever to make education accessible to the greatest number of students, but their schools are also making a positive impact on students’ health and well-being,” said Teresa C. Burdine, director of the Office of School Accountability and Equity at the state Department of Public Instruction.
In the state, more than 7,600 schools had student-take-home income ratios between 70 percent and 80 percent and more than 1,300 schools had ratios of less-than-80 percent.
More than 10,000 of the schools had lower student-TTE ratios than 30 percent, and more, nearly 1,000, had ratios below 20 percent.
Burdine said the study found a clear correlation between the number of student-Teacher ratios and student drop-out rates.
“It shows that the more students you have, the more likely you are to dropout,” she said.
Buses filled with students waiting for buses in the middle of the night in Los Altos Hills.
Many students are skipping school due to high-school dropouts.
(David McNew/Getty Images)”Teachers who are in school are the people who are responsible for making sure that students are going to be getting the best education.”
California’s low-incomes schools have seen a dramatic increase in the number and size of dropout prevention programs, such as early intervention and early intervention with behavioral-behavioral support.
The findings, the first by the office of statewide education since the report was released, come as the state grapples with the fallout from a recent fatal shooting at a high school in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead and dozens injured.
The State Board of Education on Tuesday approved new safety measures at the San Bernardino High School, which included additional security and training for teachers and administrators.