Last week PACE and Pivot Learning Partners co-hosted a conference in southern California that focused on teacher evaluation. The conference brought together teams of administrators, teachers, and union leaders from more than 30 school districts to discuss how to evaluate teachers’ performance in smarter, more effective ways.
An article published in the LA Times reports that according to a recent poll of likely voters conducted by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and the Republican firm American Viewpoint, 48% of Californians said immigrants are a benefit to the state, and 59% said undocumented workers who have held a job here for two years should be allowed to stay. Overall, the poll finds that California voters hold positive views about undocumented immigrants.
Can we talk? As it turns out, we can’t. We can yell, finger point, and mutually disparage, but we are incapable of talking about what matters most in public education: how the resources we have are best allocated to produce the student achievement results we need.
The L.A. Times publication in August of a value-added analysis of teacher effectiveness, based on student scores on math and ELA tests, has sparked national debate about the ethics of publicly ranking individual teachers. Educators and researchers questioned the usefulness of student scores on standardized tests as teacher effectiveness measures, the merits of teacher performance-pay systems, and whether journalist-researchers should be allowed to conduct studies that university Human Subjects boards would flatly reject.
PACE’s first seminar of 2010-11,”The Fresno-Long Beach Learning Partnership: Lessons for Policy and Practice,” focused on the Fresno-Long Beach partnership, and on the ways in which two California school districts facing big challenges are working together and learning from each other to support improved performance and enhanced opportunities for students.
Research by Sean Reardon and Michal Kurlaender shows that CAHSEE has had none of the positive effects anticipated when the exam was put in place, and that it in fact damages the prospects of a significant number of young people. Moreover, CAHSEE sets a very low bar for student performance, requiring students to demonstrate mastery at only the 7th or 8th grade level in mathematics, and at the 10th grade level in English.
For the past year or so, PACE has been the home of the California Diploma Project, which brings together eight signatories representing the multiple segments of California’s fragmented education system to work on strengthening alignment and coherence across levels and institutions. In April, the signatories endorsed a statement recognizing satisfactory performance on the augmented 11th grade CST that is part of the Early Assessment Program as a common indicator of readiness for non-remedial, credit-bearing baccalaureate-level work in all of California’s colleges and universities.
For nearly 30 years PACE has worked to sponsor a productive conversation about the education policy choices facing California, by bringing academic research to bear on the key policy questions and challenges facing our state. We have done this in traditional ways, by publishing policy briefs and convening seminars and conferences in Sacramento and throughout California. For years PACE’s signature publication was Conditions of Education in California, which provided an annual compendium of data and analysis on the current state of California’s education system.
Often missing in the public discourse about immigration is the 1982 landmark Supreme Court case of Plyler v. Doe. Relying on the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, the Court ruled that undocumented children could not be denied a public education due to their immigration status. Presently, the Plyler decision protects the educational rights of approximately 1.5 million children under 18 years of age . The educational rights of approximately 65,000 undocumented students expire every year when they graduate from the nation's high schools.