The Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA), one of California’s most ambitious intervention programs for low-performing schools, is now in its sixth year of full implementation in nearly 400 schools across the state. From its inception in 2007-08, the California Teachers Association (CTA) has funded an independent, multi-year study of QEIA schools and has released the first two installments of a five-part publication series detailing the implementation and impacts.
Our most recent seminars have been recorded and are available for streaming or download. Older seminars are also listed, although audio is not available prior to November 2008. Upcoming seminars can be found on the Seminars page.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) targeted substantial School Improvement Grants (SIGs) to the nation’s “persistently lowest achieving” public schools. Eligible schools could receive grants of up to $2 million annually for three years. Schools that accepted grants were required to implement one of four federally prescribed school-reform models: Turnaround, Restart, School Closure, and Transformation. In this seminar Tom Dee presents findings from his study of the effects of SIG-funded whole-school reforms in California.
U.S. states vary widely in their students’ performance on national and international tests. Part of these differences can be explained by compositional differences among states in students’ social class and racial/ethnic backgrounds, but part may also be due to differences in the quality of state school systems. At the same time, it appears that the performance of low, middle and high social class students in mathematics and reading has improved in all states over the past two decades.
The policy system designed for beginning teachers that California has in place assumes that most new teachers complete a preparation program and earn a preliminary credential, take a job and assume probationary status, complete a two-year induction program and earn a Clear Credential, and are tenured after two years of satisfactory evaluations. In fact, however, California’s teacher policies do not match the actual career trajectory that most new teachers follow.
Many low-income children in California continue to lack access to high-quality, well-resourced schooling opportunities. This lack of equal opportunity ties youth in poverty to low-wage jobs or creates situations where they are “disconnected” from both school and work. In this seminar Daniel Solorzano and Amanda Datnow will present findings from a five-year, mixed-methods design study focusing on young adults in poverty, many of whom are enrolled in community colleges.
A panel discussion on the state and future of higher education in California with a focus on the issues of cost and quality.
There are approximately 500 continuation high schools in California, which are estimated to serve more than 115,000 students each year. This number approaches nearly 10 percent of all high school students and as many as one of every seven high school seniors. In this seminar Jorge Ruiz de Velasco and Milbrey McLaughlin will report findings from a statewide study of continuation high schools. Their study shows that, on the whole, these are failing to provide the academic and critical support services that students need to succeed. They focus on schools that are performing well under state and federal accountability systems, in an effort to identify promising policy and practice interventions and develop recommendations for school, district, and state education officials that will lead to improved performance for continuation high schools and their students.
With education budgets under increasing stress it is more important now than ever to understand the extent to which teacher salary policies can help to make the distribution of teachers across schools and school districts more equitable, and thus improve the quality of instruction for students with the greatest needs. In this seminar Susanna Loeb and Heather Hough will present evidence on the effect of a differential salary increase on teacher recruitment and retention in the San Francisco Unified School District. Their evidence shows that the policies implemented in SFUSD following the approval of a local parcel tax initiative helped to improve the district’s attractiveness within the regional labor market for teachers, increasing both the size and quality of the teacher applicant pool. These findings suggest that even relatively small changes in compensation policies may be effective as a lever for redistributing teachers, which is encouraging given the substantially unequal sorting of teacher quality across California’s schools and school districts.
As California moves toward revising the Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA), the state has an unprecedented opportunity to improve the design of its school measurement and accountability system. For over a decade, the state has used the Academic Performance Index (API) as its primary measure of school performance, despite the well known flaws with the Index.