Continuous Improvement Briefs

  • Advancing Equity Through the Local Control Funding Formula: Promising Practices

    Julia E. Koppich December 2018

    California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) ushered in a new era for California education policy. Enacted in 2013, the LCFF shifted control of most education dollars from the state to local school districts, allowing them to determine how to allocate their resources to best meet the needs of the students in their community. The LCFF also made it a matter of state policy to shine a spotlight on educational inequities and try to give districts the wherewithal to level the playing field for students who too often are left behind.

  • Fostering Pre-K to Elementary Alignment and Continuity in Mathematics in Urban School Districts: Challenges and Possibilities

    Cynthia Coburn, Elizabeth Friedmann, Kelly McMahon, Graciela Borsato, Abigail Stein, Natalie Jou, Seenae Chong, Rebekah LeMahieu, Megan Franke, Sonia Ibarra, Deborah J. Stipek Policy Analysis for California Education November 2018

    In recent years, California has invested in improving early childhood education programs. Research shows the importance of high-quality early childhood education, but the disconnect from K–12 education threatens its long-term benefits. If the early grades do not build on the gains made in preschool, they likely will be lost. This brief, based on a longer technical report , describes the challenges facing pre-K–3 alignment and offers promising practices and policy recommendations.

  • Intersegmental Partnerships and Data Sharing: Promising Practices From the Field

    Sherrie Reed, Patrick Lee, Michal Kurlaender, Ambar Hernandez Policy Analysis for California Education July 2018

    Collaboration between K–12 public school districts and higher education, as well as between education institutions, workforce groups, and community organizations, has the potential to improve college and labor market outcomes for individual students and for local communities. However, improvement efforts demand the use of longitudinal data to define the problem, set goals, and monitor progress. California has been behind in building such a longitudinal data system—linked across pre-K through postsecondary sectors—to track individuals’ education and labor market outcomes.

  • Enacting Social-Emotional Learning: Practices and Supports Employed in CORE Districts and Schools

    Julie A. Marsh, Susan McKibben, Heather Hough, Michelle Hall, Taylor N. Allbright, Ananya M. Matewos, Caetano Siqueira Policy Analysis for California Education April 2018

    Social-emotional learning refers to the beliefs, attitudes, personality traits, and behaviors that students need to succeed in school and life. Our study looks closely at ten “outlier schools” in California’s CORE districts whose students report strong social-emotional learning outcomes compared to other, similar middle schools.

  • Summer Learning - A Smart Investment for California School Districts

    Mary Perry, Nazaneen Khalilnaji-Otto, Katie Brackenridge Policy Analysis for California Education January 2018

    Summer learning loss contributes significantly to the achievement gap between low income students and their more affluent peers. That makes high quality summer learning programs a smart investment for school districts concerned about success for all students. Such investments have become easier thanks to the flexibility built into the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

    The most promising programs are not traditional summer school. Instead, they look and feel like summer camp while incorporating learning goals aligned with district priorities. Summer learning programs:

  • Community Collaboration in Teacher Recruitment and Retention

    Sherrie Reed Policy Analysis for California Education January 2018

    High quality instruction delivered by effective teachers is the key to student success. Hiring, developing and retaining good teachers are therefore the most important tasks of our public schools. The tasks of teacher recruitment and retention have traditionally been delegated to the human resource department within school districts, but leaving these critical responsibilities to a single office is no longer sufficient. The ability to find, support, and keep good teachers is a community challenge, which demands innovative solutions collaboratively developed by diverse stakeholders.

  • Educating California’s Disadvantaged Children: Lessons from Colombia

    Tom Luschei Policy Analysis for California Education December 2017

    Despite California’s great wealth, child poverty places a drag on the state’s educational performance. Disadvantaged children—including English learners, foster children, and the poor—do not receive the educational attention and services that they require to be successful. Although California’s Local Control Funding Formula recognizes this challenge, schools and districts have struggled to identify effective solutions to educate disadvantaged children.

  • Promising Practices in School District Budgeting Under LCFF

    Mark Murphy Policy Analysis for California Education October 2017

    The implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula presents local education leaders with the power and flexibility to use resources in new and different ways. Taking full advantage of this opportunity requires leaders to adopt budgeting practices that highlight the tradeoffs among system goals and facilitate the reallocation of scarce resources to support their top priorities. In this brief Mark Murphy reviews the experiences of three California school districts with budget tools that increase their ability to meet their students’ needs.

  • Expanding Learning: A Powerful Strategy for Equity

    Katie Brackenridge, Jessica Gunderson, Mary Perry Policy Analysis for California Education October 2017

    The disparity in educational outcomes between student populations is one of the most serious challenges facing our public education system. Gaps in test scores, graduation rates, and college readiness pose  a fundamental problem that school officials must solve.

  • Building Intersegmental Partnerships

    Elizabeth Friedmann Policy Analysis for California Education June 2017

    California’s education system is highly fragmented. K-12 schools, community colleges, and the two university systems (CSU and UC) operate under entirely separate governance structures, and rely on distinct sources of funding. As a result these different "segments" of the education system generally operate independently of one another, developing policies and practices to serve their own students with little or no effort to consult with other segments. In fact, however, addressing many of the educational issues that face our state successfully will require action by more than one segment.

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