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Compton school board election: Here’s how to vote

The majority of CUSD’s high school seniors are ill-prepared to compete in society after high school — neither in the job market or for acceptance to a college or university.

Compton Herald | Compton school board
Compton Unified School District Board of Education incumbents up for re-election are: (left to right) Alma Taylor-Pleasant, Mae Thomas, Margie N. Garrett, and Satra D. Zurita. Official photos

The wisest approach to voting is to take a clear look at the report card of the current Compton school board trustees

There are 19 hopefuls for four seats on the Compton Unified School District Board of Trustees. Each candidate has a good sales pitch on what should be done to improve the school district, and ultimately the academic performance of CUSD students.

How do you vote? The incumbents currently serving as trustees are saying all of the right things and claiming success during their terms. Every challenger’s proposal and promises sound good and seem plausible — right?

The Compton Herald believes the wisest approach to voting is to take a clear look at the report card of the CUSD’s current trustee board  how their leadership has fared based on the results of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) results in English language arts and mathematics for the Compton School District?

This is the third year of the computer-based tests, which use California’s challenging academic standards and ask students to write clearly, think critically, and solve complex problems, just as they will need to do in college and 21st century careers.

We examined the results for the CUSD and schools throughout California, including the Los Angeles Unified School District. What we found for Compton students is deplorable. In fact the district’s overall record — from administrators to the teachers in the classroom — received a “failing grade” from the Herald.

We do not have the complete data for the school year 2016-17, but we do have the CAASPP results in the CUSD through grade 11 for all four high schools in the 2015-16 school year.

  • Manuel Dominguez HS: 21 percent met CAASPP standards for English language arts (79 percent did not meet proficiency); only 6 percent met standards in mathematics (94 percent did not meet proficiency).
  • Compton HS: 19 percent met CAASPP standards for English language arts (81 percent did not meet proficiency); only 3 percent met standards in mathematics (97 percent did not meet proficiency).
  • Centennial HS: 14 percent met CAASPP standards for English language arts (86 percent did not meet proficiency); only 2 percent met standards in mathematics (98 percent did not meet proficiency).
  • Cesar Chavez Continuation HS: 1 percent met CAASPP standards for English language arts (99 percent did not meet proficiency); 0 percent met standards in mathematics (0 percent did not meet proficiency).

The overall percentages for 2016-17 in English language arts was 13.75 percent, and 2.75 percent in mathematics.

Overall, in English language arts for elementary, middle, and high schools in the CUSD for the 2016-17 school year, 21.04 percent of students met CAASPP proficiency; 78.96 did not. There was only a minor improvement of 1.41 percent from 2015-16, but the score is still dismal.

Overall, in mathematics for elementary, middle, and high schools in the CUSD for the 2016-17 school year, 15.15 percent of students met CAASPP proficiency; 84.85 did not. There was only a minor improvement of 2.45 percent from 2015-16, which was unacceptable.

The CAASPP scores for the Compton School District ranked among the lowest in the state. In contrast, 65.75 percent of students in the nearby Torrance Unified School District met the standard in English language arts, and 59.09 met the standard in mathematics.

What a dramatic difference! The parents of students in the Compton School District should be mad as hell!

We could bore you with more disappointing scores for each of the CUSD’s middle and elementary schools, but we will not. The most exasperating aspect of the CAASPP assessments is that the majority of CUSD’s high school seniors are ill-prepared to compete in society after high school — neither in the job market or for acceptance to a college or university.

According to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the testing challenges students’ ability to apply their knowledge and skills to problems in a real-world setting. The two parts measure depth of understanding, writing, research, and problem-solving skills.

Judging from CUSD scores for Compton 12th graders, only a marginal few are prepared to move on, even though CUSD administrators boast about the district’s increasing graduation rate.

If you use all of this as a gauge who should get the nod for seats on the CUSD Board of Trustees, one has to conclude there needs to be a wholesale change of leadership.

That starts at the top.

The Compton Herald is not endorsing anyone for the Tuesday, Nov. 7 vote, but for readers of this comment, who not to vote for should be a no-brainer.

<p>Compton Herald is a digital news publication providing clear, fair and current news, information and commentary about Compton and the Los Angeles metropolitan area of California, and the world.</p>

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