Podcasts

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.

College and career readiness is the stated goal of the common core standards that have now been adopted by almost all the states. The Obama administration’s proposed budget for 2013 included a new name for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act: “college and career ready schools.” There is widespread agreement on the goal of preparing every high school graduate both for postsecondary education and for a lifetime of fulfilling work. The days of distinguishing “college-bound” from “non-college-bound” students are over; instead, high schools aim to give all students a range of options for postsecondary education and technical training that will lead to rewarding careers.

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.

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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.

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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.

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More than 85,000 students drop out of California’s public school system each year, costing taxpayers billions of dollars and threatening the state’s future economy. In this seminar Russell Rumberger from UC-Santa Barbara will present findings from his research on the causes and consequences of dropping out in California as part of the California Dropout Research Project, and from his recent book, Dropping Out, from a national perspective.

Historically, education technology has over-promised and under-delivered. Investments in new technologies have consistently yielded disappointing returns. But this time, many say, it’s different.

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Income inequality among the families of school-aged children in the US has grown sharply over the last 40 years. How has rising income inequality affected patterns of educational outcomes?

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Journalists gathered in Los Angeles to learn about how California districts and other states are beginning to implement the Common Core Standards, an event co-sponsored by PACE and the Education Writers Association. Demanding more rigorous and complex learning, the 'Common Core' presents special challenges for English learners, who now experience lots of didactic, simple instruction under current accountability systems. The L.A.

This report commemorates the fifth anniversary of the Getting Down to Facts project, which sought to provide a thorough and reliable analysis of the critical challenges facing California’s education system as the necessary basis for an informed discussion of policy changes aimed at improving the performance of California schools and students. The report focuses on the four key issues that received emphasis in the Getting Down to Facts studies: governance, finance, personnel, and data systems.

Policymakers in California have begun to look beyond the API and ask how to hold schools accountable based on a broader set of information about performance. One strategy for doing so is through a system of school inspections, a common accountability policy in many other countries. This seminar will discuss the benefits of school inspections and explore the main policy decisions for designing such a system, with a particular focus on England’s approach.

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