In Partnership with The 74

LAUSD high schools in the CORE accountability index: Plenty of schools beating the odds

Craig Clough | April 25, 2016



When it comes to the performance of some minority groups and high-needs students, LA Unified high schools showed more ability than their middle school counterparts in beating the odds on the California Office to Reform Education’s (CORE) new school accountability index.

While the performance of the district’s middle schools tended to break along familiar lines — with the top schools filled with high levels of white students in less impoverished areas — the CORE data for high schools reveal a different story in several key categories. (LA School Report will be publishing a CORE demographic analysis of elementary schools soon.)

For one, nearly all of the top schools were clustered in the downtown or South Los Angeles areas, while a majority of the top middle schools were located in more affluent areas of the Westside and the San Fernando Valley. Four of the top five schools were also magnets, demonstrating again why district leaders and the school board have been touting magnets as a way to increase enrollment at LA Unified. 

Ninety percent of the students at the district’s top five schools qualify for free and reduced price lunch, compared to 70 percent at the bottom five schools. The district average is 77 percent. At middle schools, the story was much different, with 37 percent of students at the top five schools qualifying, compared to 90 percent at the bottom schools.

The performance of Latinos, who make up 74 percent of the student body, also differed significantly, with enrollment at the top five schools totaling 70 percent, compared to a 34 percent enrollment at the top middle schools. White students, who made up 41 percent of the students at the top middle schools, comprised only 3 percent of the students at the top high schools. White students make up roughly 10 percent of the LA Unified student body.

• Read LA School Report’s analysis of CORE data for LAUSD schools.
• Why the CORE system was developed and why it is only temporary.
• Why charter schools aren’t included in the CORE data. 
• The top and bottom LAUSD elementary schools in the CORE data. 
· The top and bottom LAUSD middle schools in the CORE data. 

African American students, who make up roughly 8 percent of the student body, fared almost evenly at high schools, with 12 percent enrolled at the top schools versus 11 percent in the bottom schools. Asian students, who make up 6 percent of the student body, comprised 16 percent of the students at the top schools and zero percent at the bottom schools.

Other decades-old demographic challenges still remain at high schools, the CORE data show. All of the bottom schools were traditional high schools located in economically challenged neighborhoods clustered downtown or in South Los Angeles. They all had higher rates of English learners and special education students than the top schools, and only 1 percent white students.

The CORE index, which was unveiled in February, is the first school accountability system in California to move beyond just tests scores. The CORE formula that gives a school a score of 1 to 100 includes consideration for the standardized test performance of a school’s lowest performing racial subgroup, English learners, students with disabilities and those qualifying for a free and reduced price lunch. It also accounts for graduation rates, suspension rates and absenteeism.

TOP HIGH SCHOOLS

Harbor Teacher Prep Academy (2015-16)
1111 Figueroa Place
Wilmington, 90744-2311
CORE score: 100
Latino: 57%
African American: 11%
White: 4%
Asian: 22%
English learners: 0%
Students with disabilities: 1%
Free and reduced lunch: 72%

Math, Science and Tech Academy at Roosevelt High (2015-16)
456 S Mathews St.
Los Angeles, 90033
CORE score: 98
Latino: 98%
African American: 0%
White: 1%
Asian: 0%
English learners: 22%
Students with disabilities: 18%
Free and reduced lunch: 88%

Downtown Business High (2015-16)
1081 West Temple St.
Los Angeles, 90012-1573
CORE score: 97
Latino: 59%
African American: 6%
White: 2%
Asian: 31%
English learners: 5%
Students with disabilities: 4%
Free and reduced lunch: 76%

Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet (2015-16)
1200 Cornwell St.
Los Angeles, 90033
CORE score: 96
Latino: 80%
African American: 2%
White: 6%
Asian: 13%
English learners: 2%
Students with disabilities: 3%
Free and reduced lunch: 85%

King Drew Magnet High School of Science and Medicine (2015-16)
1601 E 120th St.
Los Angeles, 90059
CORE score: 96
Latino: 56%
African American: 42%
White: 1%
Asian: 13%
English learners: 3%
Students with disabilities: 2%
Free and reduced lunch: 88%

Total averages

Latino: 70%
African American: 12%
White: 2.8%
Asian: 16%
English learners: 6%
Students with disabilities: 10%
Free and reduced lunch: 82%

BOTTOM HIGH SCHOOLS

David Starr Jordan High School (2015-16)
2265 E 103rd St.
Los Angeles, 90002
CORE score: 22
Latino: 81%
African American: 17%
White: 1%
Asian: 0%
English learners: 34%
Students with disabilities: 21%
Free and reduced lunch: 56%

Early College Academy – LA Trade Tech College (2014-15)
400 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, 90015
CORE score: 34
Latino: 88%
African American: 7%
White: 5%
Asian: 0%
English learners: 25%
Students with disabilities: not available
Free and reduced lunch: 73%

Dr. Maya Angelou Community High (2015-16)
300 E 53rd St.
Los Angeles, 90011
CORE score: 37
Latino: 90%
African American: 9%
White: 0%
Asian: 0%
English learners: 29%
Students with disabilities: 11%
Free and reduced lunch: 66%

Agustus F. Hawkins High Critical Design and Gaming (2015-16)
300 E 53rd St.
Los Angeles, 90011
CORE score: 37
Latino: 85%
African American: 14%
White: 0%
Asian: 0%
English learners: 23%
Students with disabilities: 11%
Free and reduced lunch: 77%

Thomas Jefferson Senior High (2015-16)
1319 E 41st St.
Los Angeles, 90011
CORE score: 43
Latino: 88%
African American: 10%
White: 0%
Asian: 0%
English learners: 28%
Students with disabilities: 14%
Free and reduced lunch: 79%

Total averages
Latino: 90%
African American: 11%
White: 1%
Asian: 0%
English learners: 35%
Students with disabilities: 14%
Free and reduced lunch: 70%

* Free and reduced lunch data based on 2014-15 stats

Read Next