A new report from Education Trust-West offers an assessment of how African American students are performing in the public school systems of Los Angeles County. There are about 135,000 Black students in these schools and they make up about 9 percent of all students in Los Angeles County public schools. The assessment of their educational status is not encouraging.
Among the findings are:
• 59 percent of African-American three and four-year-olds attend preschool, compared with 69 percent of white children.
• 50 percent of African-American second-graders are proficient in English language arts.
• 44 percent of African-American eighth-graders are proficient in English language arts.
• 1 in 5 African-American middle school and high school students are proficient in Algebra I.
• 63 percent of African-American students graduate from high school in four years.
• 20 percent of African-American ninth-graders who graduate from high school four years later do so having completed the A-G coursework needed for admission to the University of California or California State University.
• Less than half of African-American high school graduates enroll in a California public postsecondary institution (including community colleges).
The report concludes that” if current trends continue, only 1 in 20 of today’s African-American kindergartners will go on to graduate from high school and complete a degree at a four-year California university.”
The report makes a series of recommendation to deal with the underperformance of Black students in the county’s schools.
- Convene a countywide task force to better understand the specific challenges faced by African-American youth in L.A. County and develop recommendations for decisive action to address those challenges.
- Identify and support struggling learners and raise academic expectations for all students.
- Implement a countywide strategy aimed at reducing the number of African-American students who are suspended or expelled.
- Focus on the specific socioemotional needs of African- American students in L.A. County districts and schools.
The full report, At a Crossroads: A Comprehensive Picture of How African American Youth Fare in Los Angeles County Schools, can be downloaded here.