Today’s LA Times carried a front-page story on the remarkable educational achievements of elementary schools in the impoverished Inglewood District. Despite their heavily poor and immigrant student body, these schools produced standardized test scores comparable to those of very affluent districts such as Beverly Hills.
It is noteworthy that these schools are traditional public schools and make no use whatsoever of the the innovative structural reforms which receive so much political and media hype such as vouchers or charters. In fact, some of California’s charter schools which have received the greatest public acclaim actually generate absolutely dismal academic test scores.
The apparent secret to Inglewood’s success is its avoidance of all the bizarre educational fads which have done such enormous damage to California’s schools over the past decade or two—bilingual education, whole language, fuzzy math, self-esteem-mongering. Instead, these schools teach traditional academic subjects in the traditional manner, and shine by comparison, just as most parochial schools do, for exactly the same reason. This also explains the remarkable and remarkably rapid rise in immigrant test scores for those schools which have now complied with Prop. 227 and abandoned bilingual education.
I made this obvious point early last year in a Sacramento Bee opinion piece, and all the emerging evidence seems to confirm that analysis.