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California’s public education system is in the midst of systemwide transformation designed to narrow the achievement gap and elevate low-achieving students to be ready for college and career success. At the core of the change are higher academic standards for all students, regardless of their achievement level, socioeconomic status, ethnicity or family background. These higher standards, coupled with our new school funding and accountability systems, improved assessments and a system-wide focus on continuous improvement, contribute to the underlying goal of ensuring more students are college and career ready when they graduate.

In this video, Michael Kirst discusses the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the CA overhaul of accountability based on local control of education policy. The federal law requires multiple measures for accountability, including some with state choice. Data bases for English learners will change significantly. Federal requirements for Teacher evaluation will be deregulated significantly. State assessments are all over the place and will be hard to summarize.

Many educators and parents are applauding the end of the "No Child Left Behind" law-- the George W. Bush-era education policy that garnered bipartisan support at the time but has proved unsuccessful in the eyes of many. But what did it teach us, and what comes next? We'll take a look at look at the legacy of "No Child Left Behind" and hear about the new federal policy that will replace it.


New report by Kenji Hakuta, Ilana Umansky and others offers evidence of inequitable treatment of English Language Learners in state schools.

As kids across the country return to school, the results of a new poll suggest it’s adults who need a lesson on the Common Core State Standards, a set of end-of-grade expectations in math and English adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia.

As the California Department of Education prepares to release the first set of student test scores based on the Common Core State Standards, a new poll shows voters have mixed feelings about the new standards, including many who don’t understand what they are, or how they’re being implemented.

By John Fensterwald

Though far from a majority, an increasing number of Californians say that the state’s public schools have gotten better over the past few years, according to a poll released on Thursday.

But it’s not because they are impressed with the sweeping changes in managing and financing K-12 schools. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they had never heard anything about the Local Control Funding Formula, the new funding and governance law that the Legislature passed two years ago.

By John Fensterwald

California Department of Education officials have repeatedly cautioned against comparing students’ scores on past state standardized tests with forthcoming results on tests aligned with the Common Core standards. The academic standards have changed and the tests are different, making comparisons inaccurate, they and others have warned.

California’s 112 community colleges are designed to provide high school graduates who don’t go to four-year universities a second chance at higher education. But when it comes to math proficiency requirements, too many community college students are getting a raw deal, beginning with the way colleges test incoming students’ math skills and send the vast majority of students to remedial math courses.

What’s not on California’s education agenda – and should be

David Plank, Executive Director, Policy Analysis for California Education

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