Reports

Mathematics from High School to Community College: Using Existing Tools to Increase College-Readiness Now

Louise Jaffe. Policy Analysis for California Education. May 2014.

The adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced assessments in mathematics are intended to provide all students in California with the knowledge and skills required to transition from high school to college-level coursework. This implementation will take time.

2020 Vision: Rethinking Budget Priorities Under the LCFF

PACE. Policy Analysis for California Education. April 2014.

After years of painful budget cuts, new revenues will begin to flow to California school districts in 2014. Thanks to the voters’ approval of Proposition 30 and the adoption of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), nearly all districts can expect budget increases over the next several years. Districts that educate the most challenging students will see the largest gains. When the LCFF is fully implemented many schools and districts will receive 50 to 75 percent more revenue per pupil than they do now.

Getting to the Core: How Early Implementers are Approaching the Common Core in California

Brentt Brown, Merrill Vargo. Policy Analysis for California Education. February 2014.

California has embarked on a major new wave of curriculum reform with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the new English Language Development (ELD) standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The adoption of the CCSS builds a legacy of standards-based education reform in California that began with the development of curriculum frameworks in the 1980s and continued with the adoption of the California State Standards and the approval of the Public School Accountability Act.

Designing, Leading and Managing the Transition to the Common Core: A Strategy Guidebook for Leaders

Brentt Brown, Merrill Vargo. Policy Analysis for California Education. January 2014.

The Common Core provides districts an opportunity to renew their focus on teaching and learning. But it also poses a number of design and implementation challenges for school districts, including how to:

How Californians View Education Standards, Testing and Accountability: Results from the Third PACE/USC Rossier Poll

David N. Plank, Dominic J. Brewer, Morgan S. Polikoff, Michelle Hall. Policy Analysis for California Education. December 2013.

California is in the midst of sweeping education changes. The state is rolling out the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and a new system of assessments. Voters approved a temporary statewide tax increase that will provide additional funding to schools after years of spending cuts. The Legislature adopted a new system for funding schools (the Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF) that shifts resources to school districts that enroll lots of poor students and English learners, while granting local districts tremendous control over their budgets and spending.

School Finance Reform: Can It Support California’s College and Career-ready Goal?

Mary Perry. Policy Analysis for California Education. February 2013.

For decades, when California’s state leaders have wanted to see local school districts respond to shifts in policy and expectations they relied on the state-controlled school finance system to leverage local change. Through the use of categorical programs and earmarked funding, they created incentives for districts that complied and penalties for those that did not. The result: a school finance system that has been roundly criticized as irrational, inequitable, excessively complicated, overly centralized, and inefficient at allocating resources.

How Californians Feel about Public Education: Results from the PACE/USC Rossier August 2012 Poll

Dominic J. Brewer, David N. Plank, Michelle Hall. Policy Analysis for California Education. October 2012.

California has long been viewed by the rest of the nation as leader in many areas, including education. The state’s K-12 and higher education systems were once the envy of other states. Of late, though, the news from the Golden State has not been so rosy. For the last three decades California has faced increased demands on public services while suffering through economic cycles that have had exaggerated effects on the state budget. The result has been increased competition for limited resources, budget uncertainty and steadily eroding state dollars for a local schools.

Deregulating School Aid in California: How Districts Responded to Flexibility in Tier 3 Categorical Funds in 2010--2011

Brian M. Stecher, Bruce Fuller, Thomas Timar, Julie A. Marsh, Mary Briggs, Bing Han, Beth Katz, Angeline Spain, Anisah Waite. RAND Corporation. June 2012.

California's system of school finance is highly regulated and prescriptive. A large share of state funding is allocated through categorical programs, that is, programs whose funding is contingent upon districts using the money in a particular way or for a particular purpose. In 2008–09, the strings were taken off 40 of those programs, collectively known as the "Tier 3" programs, as part of a budget deal that also reduced the funding for those programs.

Deregulating School Aid in California: Revenues and Expenditures in the Second Year of Categorical Flexibility

Jennifer Imazeki. RAND Corporation. June 2012.

California's system of school finance is highly regulated and prescriptive. A large share of state funding is allocated through categorical programs; that is, programs whose funding is contingent on districts using the money in a particular way or for a particular purpose. In 2008–09, the strings were taken off 40 of those programs, collectively known as the "Tier 3" programs, as part of a budget deal that also reduced the funding for those programs. The author gathers evidence about how districts have responded to this fiscal freedom, particularly how resource allocations are made at the district level and what specific changes districts have made in their allocations.

Getting Down to Facts: Five Years Later

. Policy Analysis for California Education. May 2012.

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.

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