By Dan Walters
If Gray Davis’ governorship achieved anything of importance before he was recalled by voters, it was a system for rating academic achievement in the state’s public schools.
Driven by standardized testing, the Academic Performance Index (API) provided each school with a score on how well its students were progressing.
It had a substantial impact. Parents used the scores to compare their schools with others and demand improvements – even to the point of using a “parent trigger” to take over some poor-performing schools and convert them into charters.
However, the education establishment – and especially the California Teachers Association – hated the API. It was, the critics said, too simplistic and implied that educators should be held solely responsible for outcomes, without taking into account such factors as poverty or lack of English skills.