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It is United Way Silicon Valley's aspirational goal to reduce the ethnic/racial educational achievement gap by one-third by the year 2013.
What is the ethnic/racial educational achievement gap?
The gap reflects the disparity in academic performance between lower-performing Hispanic/Latino and African American students and higher-performing Asian and Caucasian students.
In 2003, the achievement gap in English-Language Arts for Santa Clara County students grades 2-11 was at 43%. By 2010 it had dropped to 39%. Among San Jose high school students, the gap has been 44%. United Way aims to help reduce that gap to 30% by 2013.
What is United Way doing to meet the goal?
Working to give every child an even start to lifelong success by preparing our children to:
- Enter kindergarten ready to learn
- Read proficiently by 3rd grade
- Make a successful transition from elementary to middle school
- Graduate from high school on time
- Be ready for success post high school graduation in college, work and life
Why is this important?
- Children who experience quality early learning opportunities perform better in elementary school. Children that fall behind in reading by 3rd grade usually do not catch up and are likely to drop out of high school.
- Poor academic achievement affects individuals and communities. It leads to a higher dropout rate, a less skilled workforce, poorer health outcomes and higher rates of crime and incarceration.
Did you know? Compared to high school graduates, dropouts have:
- Higher rates of unemployment/lower earnings
- Poorer health and higher rates of mortality
- Higher rates of criminal behavior and incarceration
- Increased dependence on public assistance
United Way is partnering with Grail Family Services, Alum Rock School District and others to launch an early childhood literacy initiative known as Yes…We Can Read! that will bring classroom mentors to kindergarten and first graders and support literacy-based parenting skills training for their families. And we are partnering with Breakthrough Collaborative Silicon Valley to support middle and high school youth with Mentors and tutors.
Overall, Santa Clara County students outperform peers statewide in English-language arts, math, science, and history-social science on 2009 STAR testing. In fact, the two top schools statewide in API testing were local: Murdock-Portal Elementary and Faria Elementary, both in the Cupertino Union School District. However, there is an achievement gap along racial and socio-economic lines. African-American and Hispanic/Latino students score persistently lower on standardized tests than their White and Asian counterparts – and the gap is often greater as students grow older (see chart).
United Way Educational Town Hall Video
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