Growing Concerns about California School Dashboard

Yesterday, LA School Report’s Mike Szymanski covered the growing concern among parents and community organizations across California that the state’s new School Dashboard is far too complex and inaccessible to its intended audience. This new, statewide public school rating system represents an attempt by the State of California to replace the Academic Performance Index (API) score, which was based on standardized test scores, with an accountability system based on multiple measures. Unfortunately, the California Department of Education and State Board of Education have resisted calls to simplify the system so that anyone with less than an engineering degree can understand the new ratings.

“While the new system takes some positive steps forward, it unfortunately falls far short of what families want and need in a school rating system,” said Seth Litt of Parent Revolution. “California should be leading in creating the best school rating system in the country; instead, we are leaving way too many families behind. We hope that policymakers will listen to families and improve this system so that it works for all families, not some.”

While the California School Dashboard represents a first step toward once again illustrating disparities between schools — since the state suspended the API in 2014 — it’s critical that the information be presented in a straightforward and accessible manner. Instead of overwhelming parents with too much information, we need a system that makes it easy for parents, families and communities to compare schools and advocate for their children.