January 8, 2009
For Immediate Release
Contact: Regina Wilson
Sacramento--The State Board of Education (SBE) voted 9-0 yesterday to create an African American Advisory Committee (AAAC). The SBE discussed the need to establish this committee to help better understand the issues concerning the achievement gap that exists between African American students and their counterparts.
According to the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) report released last October, California African American tenth-grade students scored substantially lower than white, Asian, and Hispanic students on the English-language arts and mathematics sections of the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE). The 2008 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program results showed that only 33 percent of African American students scored at proficient and above on the English-language arts section of the examination while only 28 percent of African American students scored at proficient or above in the mathematics section of the examination.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics completion rate, only 66.4 percent of California’s African American students graduate from high school. Another rate used by the California Department of Education (CDE) indicates that for the 2006-07 school year, only 57.6 percent of African American students graduate, with a dropout rate of 35.8 percent.
African Americans account for approximately eight percent of the more than six million students attending California public schools, yet nearly 16 percent receive special education services.
"This board felt the need to create this committee because of these alarming statistics and the undeniable disparity that exists between African American students and their respective counterparts”said, Greg Jones, Board Member. "We have an achievement gap that is not only unacceptable to the African American students we serve in our schools today but it is unacceptable for the state of California tomorrow.
We need all of our students to be successful. If we are not ensuring quality education for all, then we are not doing our job.”
The AAAC will advise the board about a wide range of issues related to improving the test scores of African American students in California. The Committee will be comprised of distinguished researchers, practitioners, parents, and community members from throughout the state who are knowledgeable about best practices and research related to improving the academic achievement of African American students.