Thursday, June 27, 2013


How many times have you heard that?  SFUSD and much of the local media  repeat this falsehood whenever they get the chance.  So let's take a closer look at the real performance numbers.

As of the latest 2012 data from Ed Data, San Diego's LEA (overall) API is one, albeit insignificant, point higher. When you break down the  demographic data by ethnicity,  the differences between districts become apparent. With the exception of whites in LA, every other statistically significant ethnic group performs higher in both LA Unified and San Diego Unified. Whites in SFUSD have an 891 API compared with 896 in San Diego and 875 in LA. African Americans are 110  and 69 points higher in SD and LA, respectively. Asians perform 5 and 34 points higher. Latinos perform 52 and 30 points higher. Filipinos perform 58 and 48 points higher.

So why does SFUSD have an API on par with San Diego? There's one reason: It is the outsized Chinese population in SFUSD relative to other districts. This alone skews the statistics in favor of an overall higher district-wide API. It isn't SFUSD's education policies that are responsible for its high overall performance.  It's the demographic advantage with its large Asian/Chinese population. But even that performance, as I said earlier, lags behind both SDUSD and LAUSD. 

As we all know statistics can play funny tricks. When you look at the  actual numbers, not the headlines, SFUSD's contention as highest performing district is revealed to be a falsehood. When you  break performance down  by ethnic subgroups, SFUSD is a laggard. Why it is falling behind is a  topic for an upcoming post. But it has to do in part with the way SFUSD allocates its funding among schools.

SFUSD; California's highest performing urban school district? Not