LAUSD: A Tale of Two Cities

May 11, 2017

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Contact: Ana Beatriz Cholo

New Report Shows Stark Contrast in What is Possible for African American and Latino Charter Public School Students

(Los Angeles, CA) - Today the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) released "Portrait of the Movement: Los Angeles Spotlight." This regional report elaborates on the findings of CCSA's 2017 Portrait of the Movement report released in April, digging deeper into ongoing trends showing the substantial academic outpeformance of autonomous charter public schools authorized by Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) while serving similar students as traditional district schools.

Read the Portrait of the Movement: Los Angeles Spotlight

"Los Angeles is a tale of two cities. If it weren't for charter schools, African American and Latino youth would be relegated to some of the most underperforming schools in the state simply because of their zip code," said Jed Wallace, president and CEO, CCSA. "LAUSD's charter public school students are doing better in school, and are more likely to complete A-G requirements, and apply and be accepted to college. LAUSD should be doing everything in its power to grow and replicate these kinds of results so that even more Los Angeles children can benefit, instead of putting up barriers to prevent charter schools from serving more students, like the school board denying charter petitions or the district not following Prop. 39 law and providing equitable facilities."

Key Findings

  • One trend was consistent across all measures of performance: autonomous charter schools outperform traditional public schools in LAUSD. This was true for both state assessments and postsecondary readiness and it is true for both schoolwide and subgroup outcomes.
  • 48% of LAUSD authorized autonomous charters perform in the top 25th percentile of all schools statewide on the Similar Students Rank, nearly twice the expected proportion.
  • The median Similar Students Rank (which ranks schools' actual performance relative to their predicted performance given student demographics, using CCSA's Similar Students Measure) for LA autonomous charters, 8 out of 10, is significantly higher than the median rank for traditional public schools, 5 out of 10.
  • The median state rank (which ranks schools by how close students are to the proficiency grade-level standard, using CCSA's Average Point Difference) for LA autonomous charters is 5 out of 10, which is significantly higher than a median of 3 out of 10 for traditional public schools.
  • LA charter schools serve over 150,000 students with similar proportions of students by race, ethnicity, and other key subgroups as traditional public schools.

Performance by Subgroup

  • In LAUSD's traditional public schools, nearly 75,000 (37%) African American and Latino youth are relegated to attend some of the most underperforming schools in the state simply because of the neighborhood in which they live.
  • In contrast, more than 20,000 (45%) African American and Latino charter students attend charter schools that perform in the top quartile of public schools statewide.

College-Ready Indicators

  • All charter student subgroups are completing A-G subject requirements at rates at least 29% higher than traditional public school students, including over twice as many African-American students.
  • More LAUSD charter students apply (40% vs. 26%) and are accepted (20% vs. 13%) at UC schools than students attending traditional LA public schools.
  • In LA's charters, we see substantial gains towards closing the achievement gap in college attainment. The data show that 18% of African American and Latino UC applicants from charter schools were accepted, outpacing both traditional schools' rates for these subgroups (11%) as well as the overall rate of students accepted from LA traditional public schools (13%).


About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association's vision is to increase student learning by growing the number of families choosing high quality charter public schools so that no child is denied the right to a great public education. Our mission is to ensure a million students attend charter public schools by 2022, with charter public schools outperforming non-charter public schools on every measure. We do this by serving as the advocacy organization that builds the policy environment needed to grow as quickly as possible the number of students attending high quality charter public schools. For more information, please visit our website at