California students did slightly better in English and math on this year’s California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress state test than they did last year, according to the O.C. Register.
The news is much worse here in Santa Ana. Currently 61.83 % of SAUSD students are not proficient in math at their grade level, according to the CA Dept. of Education. Last year 60.36 % of SAUSD students were not proficient in math at their grade level, according to the CA Dept. of Education.
When it comes to English Language Arts/Literacy 44.13 % of SAUSD students are not proficient at their grade level. Last year 42.06 % of SAUSD students were not proficient at their grade level.
The SAUSD is losing ground when it comes to math and English proficiency, despite state spending formulas that direct billions in extra funding into schools with large proportions of disadvantaged students.
Test pass rates among Asian students in California were more than 73 percent in math and 76 percent in English. Among white students, the respective rates were 53.6 percent and nearly 65 percent. Asian and white students are doing up two to three times better than Latino and African American students.
Ask yourself – what are SAUSD students going to do when they finish high school? If they finish high school? We are living in a digital world. Math and English skills are more important than ever! How are these students going to function in a world dominated by Amazon and Google?
I know we can do better. And unlike most of the current SAUSD School Board members I know firsthand what it is like to grow up speaking Spanish only and having to learn English in school. What helped me was that both my mom and dad learned English too, after coming here from Mexico. My mom in particular was very involved in my early education – and she took me to the local public library on an almost daily basis.
I am fortunate that I kept my Spanish fluency as today I earn a very good income as a college teacher and an insurance risk control consultant in great part because I am very fluent in Spanish. I am doubly fortunate that I was able to become highly proficient in English as well.
Today many parents don’t bother to learn English. In most cases they feel that they just don’t have time to do so. It is true that many parents in Santa Ana are working two to three jobs just to make ends meet. It is a challenge but it is what they must do so they can help their kids to succeed at school.
You would think that the SAUSD would offer information about local ESL classes for parents on the SAUSD website but if they do I sure could not find that info.
Santa Ana College does in fact offer ESL classes for parents. Why in the world isn’t the SAUSD touting this on the front page of their own website?
What else can we do to help our local students? Well for one thing parents need more school choices – not less. Now more than ever we need a great variety of charter and private schools in addition to neighborhood public schools.
And we need to make sure that the majority of the millions we are getting from the State of California is being spent in the classrooms. I know many Santa Ana public school teachers who tell me that their classrooms are overcrowded, they don’t have enough teacher’s aids and they often have to spend their own money to buy school supplies.
Now more than ever we need SAUSD School Board members who will ask the tough questions and who will not accept failure. We can do better – we must not let our students fail.