October 3, 2012
Monterey County students have been steadily progressing toward California's academic performance goals since 2000, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the Monterey County Office of Education.
The report shows most schools moving in the right direction, though Monterey County students performed worse than the state average on most subjects at most grade levels.
In math, Monterey County kids lagged by six points behind the state average in fifth grade, a gap that widened to 11 points in fifth grade and 20 points in high school math. (These numbers reflect the percentage of students who performed at or above "proficient" on the California Standards Test.)
The best math performance in Monterey County came from third-graders, 61 percent of whom performed proficiently.
Thirty-nine percent of 11th graders scored at or above proficiently on English, compared to 48 percent statewide; and 44 percent of 110th graders scored well on science.
The report also shows harrowing budget graphs, depicting the $295 million cut from Monterey County's public schools since 2008, a 17-percent reduction.
Even if Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed extension on a tax increase, Proposition 30, passes on Nov. 6, the budget impact to schools will still be significant ($101 million instead of $131 million). "Unprecedented funding cuts are diminishing the scope of education opportunities our schools can offer," Superintendent Nancy Kotowski wrote in in the report.
Monterey County's 13 percent drop-out rate is slightly lower than the 14-percent state average, though the 70-percent graduation rate lags behind California's 76 percent.
Monterey County schools also show more challenging classroom demographics than state averages. Locally, 19 percent of students are migrants, compared to just 3 percent statewide, and 37 percent are English language learners, compared to just 17 percent statewide. In addition, nearly 70 percent of Monterey County students are economically disadvantaged.