LOS ANGELES -- California ranks 48th in the nation in the percentage of high school seniors who go on to a four-year college the next academic year, according to the annual California Educational Opportunity Report -- involving UCLA researchers -- released Monday.
The near-the-bottom ranking comes despite the fact that the majority of California students who graduate indicate an intention to get a bachelor's degree, according to the report.
"The problem is not one of low expectations of what students can accomplish but of the inability of our educational system to meet widely held high expectations of what it should deliver," according to the report produced by UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education and Access along with the University of California's All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity.
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The study combines state data with public perceptions gathered in focus groups.
The data show a disparity between students' goals and their ability to achieve them through California's schools, according to the report.
Specifically, the report states that:
California students are more likely to attend overcrowded schools and receive less personal attention.
"Intensely segregated" high schools are three times as likely as majority white and Asian schools to experience shortages of qualified math teachers.
In 81 percent of California high schools, less than half of 11th and 12th graders enroll in advanced math classes.
Almost one-third of California middle schools face federal sanctions for failing to reach annual proficiency goals.
Even before the budget cuts, the state spent $2,000 less per student than the national average.
The report's authors said they worried the current economic crisis could lead to a worsening situation for the state's education system.