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California's school districts should rethink their budget priorities upon receiving new state funding in the years ahead. When voters approved Proposition 30 in 2012, they created an unprecedented opportunity to reinvent the state's troubled K-12 school system, according to a new report from Stanford's Policy Analysis for California Education.

By Andrew Myers

Like a growing number of school systems across the country, San Francisco Unified School District is tasked with educating increasing rolls of students for whom English is not their first language. In the United States, the school-aged population has grown a modest 10 percent in the last three decades, while the number of children speaking a language other than English at home has soared by 140 percent.

By Lesli A. Maxwell

By the time they reach 5th grade, English-language learners in San Francisco's public schools were equally proficient in English regardless of whether they had been in a bilingual program or had received all their instruction in English, a recent study from Stanford University researchers has found.

By Bruce Fuller

Stakes were low but passions ran high as fervid 4-year-olds shouted the names of farm animals in Spanish and then in English. “Vaca, cow! Pollo, chicken!” Acing the translation, they snapped colorful tokens onto matching pictures as I watched a feisty round of bilingual bingo at a California preschool last month.

PACE directors (Bruce Fuller, Susanna Loeb, and Dominic Brewer) are named to the 2014 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence rankings. The metrics recognize university-based scholars in the U.S. who are contributing most substantially to public debates about education. The rankings offer a useful, if imperfect, gauge of the public influence edu-scholars had in 2013.

Michael Kirst will mark a half-century in the education policy trenches next year, an anniversary that coincides with major decisions on a landmark school-finance plan he crafted, sold to Gov. Jerry Brown, and now is trying to bring to fruition as president of the California State Board of Education.

A saner interpretation of the PISA results came from researchers who have studied international rankings in great detail, and their message goes something like this: Calm down, everyone. The results on this and other international tests are more complicated than they look, and in this case, nuance makes a difference. Despite the doomsday talk, the scores a country receives on the PISA don't necessarily predict the strength — or weakness — of its future labor force or the trajectory of its economy, according to Martin Carnoy, a professor of education at Stanford University. Some countries with relatively low scores have built thriving, tech-based economies, while the economies of some high-scoring nations have faltered.

And the results on the PISA, administered every three years to 15-year-olds in 65 countries, tell us as much about cultural differences as about differences between school systems. In the Asian countries that took the top spots — including Singapore, South Korea and areas of China — families spend heavily on private tutoring to prepare their children for college entrance examinations that closely resemble the PISA tests, Carnoy said. So the high PISA results don't necessarily reflect on their schools.

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