I was disappointed in the Independent‘s article on “stagnant test scores.” The author just amplified the voices of the Fair Communities crowd without providing any journalistic context.
Santa Barbara Unified School District scores are lower than anyone would like but are actually better than the state average. This suggests that the standards are more aspirational than realistic and are still useful for comparing which schools are doing good work that can be emulated elsewhere — but that district scores are not bad in context.
School scores track very closely on socioeconomic lines. The only big local exception to scores reflecting percentage of disadvantaged students is the huge positive anomaly at Franklin School whose scores have climbed markedly and are way higher than would be predicted just by demographics. Including information like that instead of just “he said, she said,” would actually provide journalistic value.