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Racial Isolation, Poverty and the Limits of Local Control
as a Means for Holding Public Schools Accountable

Footnotes & References

by Pedro Antonio Noguera
Cambridge, Massachusetts


1. There are cities such as Boston and Chicago, and jurisdictions where school board members are appointed by the Mayor or some other elected official.

2. Serano v. Priest, 5 Cal. 3d 584 (1971)

3. The academic performance index is a rating system which assesses the performance of schools based upon the average scores received by its students on the Stanford 9 achievement tests. For information on PSAA see

4. Most researchers regard official dropout rates as inaccurate because it fails to capture students who dropout before entering high school. See Civil Rights project.

5. College eligibility rates are determined by the number of high school graduates who have successfully taken the courses and obtained the test scores necessary for admission to either the University of California or the California State University system.

6. For a detailed description of conditions in California’s public schools and the number of schools that may be subject to reconstitution as result of PSAA see “Who is accountable to Our Children: Conditions in California Public Schools at the Beginning of the Millennium, available at

7. In the past, the state of California has only intervened in school districts when they were fiscally insolvent. In 1995, the state took over management of Compton public schools and turned control back to the locally elected school board in 2001. However, there is little evidence that conditions in Compton’s schools have improved. See “Accountability won’t rescue disadvantaged students” 5 California Educator (June).

8. In addition to the attacks from the media and politicians, critics of Oakland’s language policy included individuals such as the Reverend Jesse Jackson and poet Maya Angelou. However, once these individuals learned that the district had not intention of teaching children Ebonics as had been reported in the press, but rather sought to train teachers on how to work with students who speak Ebonics so that they can be taught standard English, their positions were reversed.

9. Evidence that the State and Federal government is aware of the additional needs of poor children can be seen in policies such as Compensatory Education and Economic Impact Aid, both of which provide additional funds to the school’s attended by poor children.

10. As a result of a charter amendment proposed by Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown (Former Governor of California), the Mayor has the power to appoint three members to the School Board. The Mayor called for this measure to be instituted so that “genuine” reforms could be made in the system.

11. Most observers agree that while this additional support will be helpful, that it will not be sufficient to address the wide disparities in funding among school districts. For an analysis of the new education bill see New York Times, January 8, 2002. Efforts to address the lack of community organization in Oakland have recently been supported by the Koshland Committee of the San Francisco Foundation. For the last five years, the committee has developed an initiative in the San Antonio district, an area comprised of Latinos, Southeast Asians, older African Americans, Native Americans and white small business owners.

13. Even with his three appointees on the School Board Mayor Brown was unable to gain the Board’s approval the creation of the Military Academy. After several unsuccessful attempts to obtain approval from other authorizing bodies, Brown was granted approval from the Governor’s Office and the academy was opened to students in the Fall of 2001.


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Published in In Motion Magazine May 5, 2002

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