Mike Kirst Advocates for Reduced Emphasis on API

Mike Kirst
August 2014

A Cabinet Report article features perspectives from State Board of Education (SBE) president Mike Kirst on reforms to the usage of the Academic Performance Index (API) for California schools and districts. Kirst suggests that the most recent iteration of the API was too narrowly focused as the “be-all, end-all” measure of school effectiveness, and argues that the state role is now to develop an accountability system that reflects the eight state priorities identified in the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) statute. Efforts are underway to develop a rubric that will help evaluate the improvement plans outlined in district LCAPs, which Kirst envisions as being the primary reporting tool for district accountability. The SBE must adopt the new rubric by October 2015. In the meantime, an advisory committee has been engaged in early efforts to restructure the API as one component of this more comprehensive reporting tool. Kirst describes this as a move in the right direction, stating that “The API can’t and won’t be everything.”