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New Tools Introduced To Help Pinpoint “Racial” Achievement Gap

— State Schools Superintendent Jack O'Connell visited San Diego High School today to unveil a new set of tools that he says will help California close its persistent achievement gap.

The tools come in the form of two surveys and a workbook for each school district in the state. The findings are designed to shine a light on how the educational system works against black, Latino, special education and migrant students.

The surveys do that by gauging teacher and student attitudes about how race affects classroom instruction, how campus culture affects student involvement, and what kind of social challenges students bring to school every day.

O'Connell says the workbook gives principals and teachers strategies to overcome problems.

“This new resource will help to close the achievement gap by improving both the culture and the climate of teaching and learning,” O’Connell said. “It will give our schools more information about the challenges they have and about the conditions of their schools.”

School districts will use the surveys and workbooks on a voluntary basis. O’Connell says the state doesn’t have enough money to require all districts to adopt these materials.

The California Department of Education and WestEd, a national nonprofit research group, have partnered to develop the surveys and workbook.

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