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Friday, December 3, 2010

Long Beach School District One Of Top 20 In World

Report: Long Beach School District One Of Top 20 In World
by Ryan ZumMallen | Long Beach News | 11.29.10 |
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Image above captured from the report "How the world's most improved school systems keep getting better."

3:40pm | The Long Beach Unified School District was named one of the top twenty school systems in the world in a report released today, entitled "How the world's most improved school systems keep getting better" by business firm McKinsey & Company.

Click here to download the report in a PDF document.


school systems in America were named in the report, which has been called "the most comprehensive analysis of global school system reform ever assembled." The district was congratulated by California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell.

“Long Beach Unified School District has long been on the cutting edge of education reform by using data to improve student achievement, and by supporting great educators and teacher professional development programs.  They have also made progress in closing the achievement gap,” O’Connell said. “I am not surprised that McKinsey & Company has singled out LBUSD as one of the most improved school systems in the world.  Congratulations to the school district, its staff, students, parents, school board, and Superintendent Christopher Steinhauser.”

The district was singled out particularly for its advanced use of student performance data to increase testing results of students from all social and economic backgrounds. The report also praises the LBUSD for professional development for teachers and principals, as well as student math scores that have improved between 20-75% in grades 2-5 since 2004.

“As a result, there has been remarkable consistency in the architecting of practices and mindsets,” the study states.  "Though there have been changes in the system’s priorities and approach, these have been the result of evolution, not revolution.  Long Beach’s culture of consultation, the collective ownership of its schools, data-driven decision making, and the focus on what students learn rather than what teachers teach are all deeply embedded in the system.”

Superintendent Chris Steinhauser was clearly proud to be included in the report.

“We’re delighted and honored to be part of this landmark study,” LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser said.  “This report is the clearest sign yet that Long Beach schools are making extraordinary progress and that our efforts deserve to be supported and replicated.”

A graph from the report shows improved math scores from students in the Long Beach Unified School District through grades 2-5.

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7 Comments so far.
Most improved does not been best

The headline and article are misleading. LBUSD was named one of the world's "most improved school systems," not one of the best. There's a difference. Still, congratulations to Long Beach Unified.

The selection criteria for this report were as follows: "In selecting school systems, [the authors] ... sought to meet two objectives: 1) to select systems that have achieved clear improvement in student outcomes, and 2) to compile a diverse sample of systems so that we could learn what was unique versus what was universal, thereby ensuring our insights have wide-ranging relevance. We defined diversity along several dimensions â€' by size of system, location (representing five continents), starting performance levels (on student assessments), and system type (centralized and decentralized; private and public systems). In selecting this diverse set of improved systems, we established two sets of criteria. The first enabled us to identify “Sustained Improvers”: systems that have a long history of reform and consistently see improvement. The second set of criteria enabled us to identify “Promising Starts”: systems that have only recently begun reform efforts, but which have seen significant improvement in a short period of time. Promising Starts are restricted to systems in developing countries and emerging markets that despite not having a long history of international testing, have shown remarkable improvement in the assessments in which they have participated, and embody an improvement journey that has employed innovative techniques and strategies." The selected systems, including LBUSD, "demonstrate significant, sustained, and widespread improvement," and this should be lauded. However, LBUSD was not named one of the "top 20 [school districts] in [the] world." Instead, it was cited as representive of "good" school systems that have shown sustained improvement.

Contratulations to LBUSD!! I know our teachers work very hard for our students and it is paying off.

Ryan, why the misleading headline? I notice you guys do that a lot now. What's the deal. As a professional writer, I would never put something like that up.

I agree with you Brian on the misleading title. LBSD has had a great improvement but it still has a long way to go, and for sure are not "top 20 in the world"

Read the report; understand what the authors are noting about LBUSD's actions. Then, it may matter less about whether LBUSD is among the "World's Best Top 20" or a "World's 20 Most Improving" school systems. The report clearly explains how LBUSD is successfully using world class practices to serve its ~85,000 pupils. This is a great story, regardless of Ryan's word choice in his headline.

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