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State Test Results Show Achivement Gap Remains Big Problem

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Aired 8/17/10

San Diego public school students posted big gains on state standardized test scores last year but there remains a persistent achievement gap affecting black students. Educators say despite a better understanding of the disparity, things remain the same.

— San Diego public school students posted big gains on state standardized test scores last year but there remains a persistent achievement gap affecting black students. Despite a better understanding of the disparity, things remain the same.

The latest test scores show African American students continue to significantly lag behind their white counterparts. For example, 44 percent of black students met or exceeded state standards in English last year. Compare that with almost 80 percent of white students who satisfy English standards.

The district's Nellie Meyers says San Diego's new schools chief is now calling on the African American Educators Association to help craft tailored reforms.

“He is enlisting some of the collective work they have done to create some real structured, solid ideas that will help us close that achievement gap,” Meyers said.

San Diego Unified also has a $50,000 grant for a program called Project Ujima in southeastern San Diego.

African American parents get educated on everything from the importance of college to state standardized testing.

Beatrice Fernandez is the head of parent engagement in San Diego Unified. She says the district hasn't done a good enough job of reaching out to black families in a positive way.

“Parents decide to partner with school depending on how welcome they feel at the school,” Fernandez said. “If you're only getting negative messages from the school, that will create a sense of distrust from families.”

A few years ago State Schools Superintendent Jack O'Connell brought attention to the achievement gap in the state by dubbing it as a "racial" achievement gap. He blamed some educators for not setting high expectations for students of all color.

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