Schools’ academic index scores due out

The Associated Press
Thursday September 14, 2000

SACRAMENTO — California’s public schools, teachers and workers will learn on Oct. 4 if they might be eligible for bonuses of up to $25,000 for their students’ test scores. 

The state Department of Education that day plans to post on the Internet the 2000 Academic Performance Index that will show whether schools improved test scores from 1999. 

The new APIs will be the basis for $677 million in bonuses for schools and teachers, part of Gov. Gray Davis’ incentive program to try to improve academic performance of California’s 5.8 million public school children. 

The rewards will be based on the growth between the 1999 API and the new one. Both APIs are based solely on the Standardized Testing and Reporting exam, which is a standardized test.  

Future APIs could include measures such as other tests and graduation and attendance rates, but those are not considered reliable yet. 

The rewards will be distributed early next year. 

There are three different rewards programs: 

l Governor’s Performance Awards: $227 million for schools that have at least 5 percent growth in their API overall and 4 percent growth for minority and poor students. Schools will get $150 per student to be used as school site councils determine. 

l School Site Employee Performance Awards: $350 million for all staff at schools that meet the same criteria. Teachers and other workers will get a bonus, the amount depending on how many schools qualify, and the school will get the same amount to be used for school programs. 

l Certificated Staff Performance Incentive Act: $100 million for teachers and principals in schools that scored in the bottom half of the state in 1999 and improve their APIs the most in 2000.  

APIs must grow at least 10 percent and scores for minority and poor students must increase at least 8 percent. Schools must also have increased test scores between 1998 and 1999. 

All state schools will be ranked by the growth in their APIs and 1,000 teachers in the schools with the largest growths will get $25,000 bonuses each.  

The next 3,750 teachers will get $10,000 each and the next 7,500 teachers will get $5,000 each. The local district and teacher unions will distribute the bonuses. 

However, for a school or its teachers to get any rewards, 95 percent of students in elementary and middle schools and 90 percent in high schools must have taken the 2000 test. 

More than 1,000 of the state’s 8,000 schools won’t be eligible for this year’s rewards.  

The 1999 law creating the program exempted alternative schools for dropouts and other at-risk students, special education centers and schools with fewer than 100 students from the API and rewards programs. 

The state is working on an alternative accountability program for such schools and the state Board of Education has recommended that the Legislature create a separate rewards program for them next year.