Over the last few weeks the community of Antioch has been subjected to a wide variety of statistical data about Dozier-Libbey Medical High School (DLMHS) as the teachers strive to uphold high academic standards and maintain an innovative learning environment for the students of Antioch through the charter conversion process. Much of the data that has been presented is distinctly one-sided, and some of it blatantly false. As someone who has held responsibilities for compiling and analyzing both performance and demographic data for Dozier-Libbey over the past six years, I'd like to provide this more complete picture.
For the class of 2012, 61 percent of the students who started at DLMHS as freshman in the fall of 2008 graduated from DLMHS, compared with 64 percent from Deer Valley High School (DVHS) and 48 percent from Antioch High School (AHS). With the class of 2013, 68 percent of the freshman to start at DLMHS in the fall of 2009 graduated from DLMHS in the spring of 2013, compared with 71 percent at DVHS and 57 percent at AHS. Antioch is a community with a high mobility rate, and it is common for students to move out of the area before they complete their high school studies.
According to the California Department of Education (www.cde.ca.gov), 94.2 percent of seniors in the class of 2012 graduated from DLMHS, compared with 90.2 percent from DVHS and 78.7 percent from AHS. The ethnic makeup of the graduating class is reflective of the overall school population. For the class of 2012, 18 of the DLMHS graduates were African-American (8 of whom were male) and of those 18 students, 17 graduated meeting the UC/CSU a-g requirements. That is to say that 94 percent of African-American DLMHS graduates meet the minimum requirements for admission to the UC/CSU system, compared with 15 percent of African-American graduates from the Antioch Unified School District as a whole.
A similar story is true of Hispanic students, with 94 percent of these students graduating from DLMHS, and 100 percent meeting UC/CSU a-g, compared with 76 percent of Hispanic students graduating from the district and only 15 percent of Hispanic graduates meeting UC/CSU a-g requirements.
Over the last six years the school demographics have remained consistent. From 2008 (14 percent African-American, 35 percent Hispanic and 30 percent white) to 2013 (16 percent black, 38 percent Hispanic, 22 percent white), we have actually seen an increase in the number of traditionally thought of minority students enrolled.
Examining the classes of 2012 and 2013 more closely shows that percentage of black and Hispanic students hardly changed from ninth to 12th grade.
The class of 2012 started with 15 percent African-American students and finished with 14 percent, while the class of 2013 started with 15 percent and finished with 13 percent.
A similar story is found with Hispanic students: 32 percent of the ninth- grade students in the class of 2012 were Hispanic and 28 percent of the graduates in 2012 were Hispanic.
In the class of 2013, the percentage of Hispanic students actually rose from 35 percent as freshman to 38 percent as seniors.
To suggest that DLMHS systematically forces certain populations of students to leave is simply not supported by the data.
Instead of trying to dismantle the program that is Dozier-Libbey with lies and half-truths, perhaps the community should take a closer look at the district itself -- ask what interventions are necessary to uphold high standards for all students -- to make sure that all students are ready for the next step in their journey.
Robert Young is a Dozier-Libbey Medical High School physiology teacher, science department chair, School Coordinator for the Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC), and lead petitioner for Charter Conversion of DLMHS.