San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Superintendent Vincent Matthews recently released a list of the 10 schools with the biggest achievement gaps. This underscores that the gaps between underserved students and their more privileged peers don’t just show up across the community, but often there are huge gaps within the same school.
His report followed a 90-day listening campaign as the new superintendent. The analysis identified 10 schools with gaps of more than 50 percentage points between their highest performing student group and their lowest performing student group over the past three years. In most cases, this was the gap between how well the school is serving Black students versus White or Asian students.
Many of the schools listed are among the most popular in the district with hundreds of families vying to get their kids in. However, what the Superintendent’s list makes clear is that the reputation of many schools does not reflect the reality that many families face when they get there. While the SFUSD report focused primarily on African-American students, similar gaps also exist for Latino students in many SFUSD schools. For example, Rooftop Elementary has gaps of more than 50 percentage points for both Black and Latino students.
San Francisco Schools with the Biggest Achievement Gaps
King Middle School, Presidio Middle School, Aptos Middle School, Ortega Elementary School, Rooftop K-8, Roosevelt Middle School, Flynn Elementary School, Everett Middle School, Rosa Parks Elementary School, and Lick Middle School
Other findings from the report:
- African American students have the largest achievement gap districtwide between schools and within schools. This is also the case for other social-emotional and culture-climate measures.
- This gap has been persistent in the last 25 years across the different state tests.
This is a critical first step towards greater public accountability and achieving more equitable results for students across SFUSD — both for those who attend the schools on the list and those who don’t. But the district must do far more than publish lists. Taking on this challenge will require not just the district, but city leaders who will champion education as well. Closing the achievement gap will require increasing resources to the most vulnerable students, top notch training to teachers, and increased accountability for ensuring these students get the best education possible.
Is your school on this list? Are you fired up about this issue? The mission of Innovate Public Schools is to amplify the voices of low-income families and families of color, build their leadership skills, and to join together to organize for change. Contact one of our SF organizers to get involved today: Sean Hardy (Bayview/Hunter’s Point) and Harold De La Cruz (Mission, Outer Mission, and Excelsior).