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The National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems Addressing Disproportionality: From Planning to Action. Dr. Edward Lee Vargas, Superintendent Hacienda La Puente Unified School District City of Industry, California [email protected]

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The National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems Addressing Disproportionality: From Planning to Action

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The National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational SystemsAddressing Disproportionality: From Planning to Action

Dr. Edward Lee Vargas, Superintendent

Hacienda La Puente Unified School District

City of Industry, California

[email protected]

Data For This Presentation Provided in Part by:The Education Trustwww.edtrust.orgWashington, DC: 202-293-1217Oakland, CA: 510-465-6444

The College Board

Expanding College Opportunity

Hacienda La Puente Unified School District

City of Industry, CA

Responsibility Versus Accountability

  • Accountability - to count, compute (something done to schools)

  • Responsibility - to respond, obligation, duty (an internal drive for continuous improvement)

Of Every 100 White Kindergartners:

(24 Year-Olds)

Source: US Bureau of Census, Current Population Reports, Educational Attainment in the United States; March 2000, Detailed Tables No. 2

Of Every 100 African American Kindergartners:

(24 Year-Olds)

Source: US Bureau of Census, Current Population Reports, Educational Attainment in the United States; March 2000, Detailed Tables No. 2

Of Every 100 Latino Kindergartners:

(24 Year-Olds)

Source: US Bureau of Census, Current Population Reports, Educational Attainment in the United States; March 2000, Detailed Tables No. 2

NAEP By Race, Ethnicity 4th Grade Reading 2002

By Family Income4th Grade Reading 2002

NAEP 8th Grade Mathematics Race, Ethnicity 2000

Most Accountability Systems are Designed to Pull the Bottom Up, Including No Child Left Behind

Dispelling the Myth in Student Achievement

There is a data base of




schools in nearly

every state


90-90-90 Schools

  • 90% high poverty

  • 90% students ethnic minority

  • 90% meeting or exceeding high academic standards

    Source: Accountability in Action by Douglas Reeve, Center for Performance Assessment, Denver, Colorado

Mount Royal Elementary/Middle, Baltimore, MD

  • 99% African American

  • 73% Low-Income

  • Highest Performing in State on state’s 5th grade Math test.

  • Top 10% of state in 5th grade reading.


Hambrick Middle School,Aldine, TX

  • 94% African American and Latino (state = 56%)

  • 85% low-income (state = 50%)

  • Has performed in the top fifth of all Texas middle schools in both reading and math in both 7th and 8th grades over a 3-year period.

Aldine, TX: Raising Achievement for All While Narrowing Gaps

Source: Texas Education Agency-Academic Excellence Indicator System Report 1994 through 2001.

How well are we preparing our students to achieve at higher levels? YISD?

Disproportionality in

Opportunities to Learn at higher levels

Produces Disproportionality in

Student Achievement at higher levels


Some students will indeed fail intellectually rigorous courses. But, it turns out that fewer will fail the more difficult courses than in the low-level courses in which we typically warehouse them…

it holds true even when comparing pass rates of the lowest achievers.

Thinking K-16: A New Core Curriculum for All. Ed Trust, Volume 7, Issue 1, Winter 2003 p. 17

NCLB is designed to pull the bottom up

What about once they get there and the middle and the top?

Opportunity To Learn

  • Student enrollment in challenging coursework should be at least equitable relative to the ethnic composition of a school district

Challenging Coursework

  • Advanced Placement Courses

  • Honors Courses

  • A-g Requirements for UC Eligibility (California)

  • International Baccalaureate Programs

The Road to College

  • A-G high school course requirements to gain admission to UC System.

  • PSAT- assesses skills developed through years of study in a wide range of courses as well as through experiences outside the classroom.

  • SAT - an objective, standardized, three-hour test that measures verbal and mathematical reasoning abilities that students develop over time, both in and out of school. Many colleges and universities use the SAT for admission purposes because it helps to predict successful performance in college.

  • AP- Offers 34 college-level courses in 19 subject areas.

  • College Going Culture Programs

Who is in the College-Going Pipeline?

SAT Participation

SAT Participation – by Ethnicity

PSAT, SAT, & AP Participation

PSAT, SAT, & AP Participation

PSAT, SAT, & AP Participation – by School

PSAT, SAT, & AP Participation – by High School Level

PSAT, SAT, & AP Participation – by Ethnicity

How do you identify AP Students?

AP Participation

AP Participation – by Ethnicity

PSAT, SAT, & AP Participation – by Ethnicity

AP Class Enrollment

  • The following 6 slides provide examples of Fall 2004 AP class enrollment by ethnicity

49 test takers

89 test takers

40 test takers

55 test takers

143 test takers

38 test takers

What is valuable about the AP Program?

What is VALUED in regards to the AP Program?

46% FG (97-98)

50% FG

Average 28 pts. Per game

Average 1.1 pts. Per game

Developing a College-Going Culture

2000 Met Life Survey

  • 71% of students plan to attend a four-year college

  • 51% of parents believe their children will go to college

  • 32% of teachers think their students will go to college

  • 5% of students anticipate working full-time after high school

  • 11% of parents and 28% of teachers see working full-time after high school as their goal for their children and students

Source: The Metropolitan Life Survey of The American Teacher, 2000: Are We Preparing Students for the 21st Century?

The Importance of Rigor

Transcript Study: single biggest predictor of college success isQUALITY AND INTENSITY OF HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM

Cliff Adelman, Answers in the Tool Box, U.S. Department of Education.

Most High School Grads Go On To Postsecondary Within 2 Years

Source: NELS: 88, Second (1992) and Third (1994) Follow up; in, USDOE, NCES, “Access to Postsecondary Education for the 1992 High School Graduates”, 1998, Table 2.

College Freshmen Not Returning for Sophomore Year

Source: Tom Mortensen, Postsecondary Opportunity, No. 89, November 1999

But college prep curriculum has benefits far beyond college.

Students of all sorts will learn more...

They will also fail less often...

Challenging Curriculum Results in Lower Failure Rates, Even for Lowest Achievers

Ninth-grade English performance, by high/low level course, and eighth-grade reading achievement quartiles

Source: SREB, “Middle Grades to High School: Mending a Weak Link”. Unpublished Draft, 2002.

And they’ll be better prepared for the workplace.

Take Manufacturing, for example…

Requirements forTool and Die Makers

  • Four or five years of apprenticeship and/or postsecondary training;

  • Algebra, geometry, trigonometry and statistics;

  • Average earnings: $40,000 per year.

Requirements forSheet Metal Workers

  • Four or five years of apprenticeship;

  • Algebra, geometry, trigonometry and technical reading;

Leading districts, states making college prep the default curriculum.

“A-g” Courses

A sequence of high school courses is required by the University of California for high school students to be minimally eligible for admission.

Percent of High School Students Enrolled in College-Prep A-G Classes: Fall 2003

  • English: 91.5%

  • Math: 82.2%

  • Science: 64.6%

  • Visual and Performing Arts: 96.6%

Algebra I

Grades 8 & 9 outscore the State in percent scoring Advanced & Proficient.

Algebra I Test-Takers Double

What Are We Doing?

Executing What We Know About The Places that are Improving Results

Leadership First

Unity of Purpose

High expectations

Continual Professional Growth

Safe, caring & orderly environment

Powerful teaching practices

Supportive school culture

Frequent monitoring of student progress

Strong Parent and community involvement

School Effectiveness Literature

Level Five Leadership

First Who, Then What (get right people on the bus, wrong off)

Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet Never loose faith)

Hedgehog Concept (Focus on best, be passionate & understand economic engine)

Technology Accelerators (never primary)

Flywheel & Doomloop (never one fell swoop)

Business LiteratureGood to Great, Built to LastWhy some companies make the leap, other don’t…

Kinder to College

  • Visualizing a Future

  • All District Kindergartners go to College

  • Annual visits to Mount San Antonio College and CSU’s

  • Parents and Teacher Workshops

  • Parent Education Classes

  • Pictures to Remind Students and Parents


  • AVID is an acronym that stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination.

  • In-school academic support program for grades 5-12 that prepares students for college eligibility and success.

  • Places academically average students in advanced classes.

  • Levels the playing field for minority, rural, low-income and other students without a college-going tradition in their families.

  • For all students, but it targets those in the academic middle (B, C, and even some D’s).

  • School wide and District wide.


  • Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs

  • A federal program designed to better prepare middle and high school students for college through

  • Mentoring programs and scholarships

  • New academic preparation

  • Awareness programs for students and parents

  • District Partnership with Cal Poly Pomona

Statistics Supporting the Need for GEAR UP

  • High-achieving students from low-income families are five times as likely not to attend college than high-achieving students from high-income families [NELS 1998]

  • In a recent survey, almost 70% of parents indicate that they have little information or want more information about which courses their child should take to prepare for college, and 89% of parents want more information about how to pay for college, including the use of tax credits. [Gallup, Sept. 1998]

High School Career Academies

  • University Academies

  • Science Academy

  • Law Enforcement

  • Engineering

  • Performing Arts

  • Business Academy

  • Health Academy

  • Teacher Academy (Cal Poly)

Element 1: They Make No Excuses. Everybody Takes Responsibility for Student Learning.

They Do:

  • Hold expectations high for themselves and their students

  • Embrace meaningful standards and assessments as valuable benchmarks and leverage points;

  • Accept the need for public accountability for results;

  • View poverty and other traditional demographic obstacles as barriers that can be surmounted; and, most important...

They Do…

  • Look holistically at the system, Pre-K - 16

  • Build SYSTEMS to support teachers, administrators, parents and students themselves to move toward higher standards and levels of performance

  • Ensure these systems leave nothing about teaching and learning to chance.

Element 2: They Have Clear and Specific Goals For What Students Should Learn in Every Grade Level

Element 3: All Students in Curriculum Carefully Lined Up With Those Goals

Element 4: They are data driven and monitor student progress regularly.

High Performing Districts:

  • Use data and information to drive instruction as opposed to past practice and tradition

  • District-wide benchmark or snap-shot assessments, at least every 6-9 weeks;

  • Test Item banks on which teachers may draw in building their own assessments;

  • Support for teachers to learn more about assessment strategies; and,

  • Creation of vehicles for teachers to meet together to discuss assignments and student work.

Element 5: Leading Districts, States Provide Extra Instruction for Students Who Need It

High Performing Districts also ACT on results from benchmark assessments

  • If data show that student isn’t achieving, student gets extra/different support;

  • If data show that many students in one classroom aren’t achieving, teacher gets extra support.

  • If data suggests instruction is not working, it’s jettisoned

  • Instruction is differentiated and based on effective proven practices.

When Kids Are Behind, Schools Must Provide More Effective Instruction and Support:

  • Extended time for struggling students in high-poverty schools

  • Extra dollars and additional/different resources

  • New more powerful instructional strategies

  • Powerful staff development

  • Parent involvement support

  • Data-based decision making

Element 6: Good Teaching Matters More Than Anything Else

Plan of Action

Increase Awareness of Disproportionality in Most Rigorous Curriculum

Provide Data and Information to Create a Sense of Urgency

Develop a Local Plan of Action with College Bound Programs District Wide (Avid/Gear Up/Academies, etc.) Scale Up

Include Full Access to PSAT for ALL Students

Utilized AP Predictors to Recruit Students

Increase Enrollment/AP/Honors/IB Classes/ District wide

Plan of Action (Cont’d)

  • Annually Increase the Number of Students Taking A-G Requirements

  • Provide Vertical Articulation Between Feeder Schools to Ensure Proficiency all grade levels

  • Effective Staff Development for AP/Honors/IB Integrated into Existing School Reform Efforts

  • Expand Accountability Framework with Annual Targets for Improvement in College Bound Culture Development

  • Accountability and Responsibility Presentations by Principals

  • Focus on Equity and Excellence for ALL

Eliminating Disproportionality in Student Achievement at Higher Levels Means Eliminating Disproportionality in the Opportunities to Learn at Those Higher Levels

“The danger for most of us in our lives is not that we set our sights too high and miss them, but that we set them to low and meet them” …Michelangelo

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