Press Release: SFUSD in Crisis with Post-Pandemic Black Student Math Outcomes



Recently released data from the CA Department of Education illustrates that Black student proficiency in math has fallen far below pre-pandemic levels, and SF Unified now among bottom of districts across the state in educating Black students.

San Francisco, CA — On October 24th, SF Unified published in its news communications to families, educators, and the community that “SFUSD Remains Ahead of State in Students Meeting Standards.” This is in fact good news that, on average, we outperformed districts across the state during the pandemic. However, it omitted an important level of detail: how our Black students fared. In fact, the new state data reveals that SFUSD did worse at educating our Black students during the pandemic, as compared with districts across the state.

Once we look beyond the aggregate data to Black student math scores: Black children in SFUSD were already way below the state average before the pandemic and school closures, but they dropped dramatically according to the new data, down 33% at SFUSD, versus 22% for the average Black student in California. Now, only 9% of Black SFUSD students are proficient in math, compared to 16% for the state.

Our middle school outcomes are event worse. Pre-pandemic and school closures, 12% of Black middle schoolers were proficient in math, compared to a state average of 18%. Now, that number has been cut in half, and only 6% of Black middle schoolers are proficient compared to a state average of 14%. In 7th grade, only 2% of Black SFUSD students are proficient in math.

Brenda Taylor, a Black parent in San Francisco commented in response, “This data is incredibly disturbing but unfortunately not surprising. The numbers keep showing that SFUSD has consistently failed to support students of color, particularly black students. The lack of transparency regarding these outcomes is especially troubling, because if you’re not measuring it, you can’t manage it, and hiding it makes it appear that district has no intent to address its own shortcomings regarding these very few students. It’s unacceptable and is the reason I was unable to send my daughter to SFUSD where statistics show she wouldn’t be adequately supported as a student of color in SFUSD, despite her talent and determination. The district needs to highlight these statistics and quickly provide a plan to address the multifaceted issues affecting black students in SFUSD. Without this, the only conclusion for black parents, like me, is that the district simply I want care and/or isn’t committed to supporting black students.”

These numbers are devastating, and SF Parent Coalition has published an open letter to SFUSD Superintendent Wayne and Board of Education requesting they urgently begin to address this crisis. Co-founder and board member of SF Parent Coalition, Yvette Edwards, a Black parent of two children at SFUSD, remarked, “It’s clear that a problem that many of us knew already existed only got exponentially worse. We simply need to do better and demand more from our District, so the real question is–What now? Where are the tutors, resources, and the proven programs and tools? How will they address this crisis? Quite simply, what are we going to do, how are they going to fix this, and when? Because we need to do better for our kids.”

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