About Peter Bloomsburg
Looking through the lens of high school graduates who meet the A-G requirements of California’s 4-year public universities and breaking them down by different ethnicities yields surprising results. Former BHS math teacher Peter Bloomsburg, currently getting a PHD in Data Science from the University of Michigan, shared his research with the PTSA.
For a graduate degree program at the University of Michigan, I recently completed a project analyzing the percentage of California high school graduates who meet the “a-g” requirements. These requirements are required to apply to one of California’s four-year public universities. As part of the project, I compared Berkeley and Oakland. One of the charts from my project report appears below:
These results were very surprising to me. About 25 years ago, I analyzed standardized test scores for White, Asian, African American and Hispanic students from several school districts in the county, including Berkeley and Oakland. I found that Berkeley had some of the best scores for every ethnic group. That was not true this time, twenty-five years later.
I believe that Berkeley can do much better. I plan to communicate these results to school leaders. Hopefully, they will feel an urgency to develop and implement a plan with measurable objectives, specific actions, and a system to monitor progress.
There is something that is worth pointing out here. It is based on President Dwight Eisenhower’s Decision Principle, which was popularized in Stephen Covey’s 1989 book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Basically, the concept is that people should prioritize important tasks and not get distracted by urgent but less important tasks. Applied to high school students, the challenge is how to motivate them to spend time on academics instead of being distracted by their cellphones and other activities. From my experience, this is a huge challenge that high schools face.