A commentary piece in last Sunday’s Los Angeles Times called the Long Beach Unified School District a model school system for its ability to improve student achievement.
“Long Beach – the third largest district in the state – shows the way,” writes David L. Kirp, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, and the author of "Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools."
“In 2003, Long Beach won the Broad Prize, a $500,000 award given to the urban district that excels nationwide in boosting achievement and reducing racial and ethnic achievement gaps, and year after year, student performance continues to improve,” Kirp writes. “Stable leadership has kept Long Beach on a consistent reform path: maintaining high ‘no excuses’ standards, strengthening the curriculum and making smart use of data.”
Kirp says Long Beach shares parallels with other successful school systems. Rather than becoming derailed by “raging adult power struggles,” effective school districts focus on strong, coherent leadership, openness to families, encouragement of teachers to improve their craft, and a culture of trust.