National Center for Youth Law

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Invisible Achievement Gap

In California NCYL supported the production of Invisible Achievement Gap reports that have merged state-level education and child welfare data to paint a picture of the educational outcomes of students in foster care. The California Invisible Achievement Gap: Education Outcomes of Students in Foster Care in California’s Public Schools, funded by the Stuart Foundation and authored by Vanessa Barrat and BethAnn Berliner at WestEd, represented the first-ever education snapshot of California’s K-12 students in the foster care system. It compared the educational outcomes of foster youth to other at-risk subgroups, and found that foster youth constituted an at-risk subgroup that was distinct from low-SES students. Foster youth were more likely than other students to change schools during the school year, more likely to be enrolled in the lowest-performing schools, had the lowest participation rate in California’s statewide testing program, had an achievement gap in statewide testing results, and had the highest dropout rate and lowest graduation rate.

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