News

California’s school funding law, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), has strong support and is helping some school districts’ spending become more strategic and targeted, but law is still “a work in progress,” researchers say

Implementation of the law is uneven, equity purposes not universally understood, and LCAP template needs overhaul, according to new report by the Local Control Funding Formula Research Collaborative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 16, 2017 CONTACT: Daisy Gonzales Cell: 650-724-2834 More than two hundred education leaders will gather in Sacramento on January 27, 2017 for the inaugural Research and Policy Conference presented by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE). The conference will focus on three themes: funding adequacy, teacher quality, and strengthened alignment between K-12 and post-secondary education.

By Charles Taylor Kerchner

In school accountability, flashlights work better than hammers.

That's the oft-repeated argument of California's CORE districts, a data collaborative now serving over 1.8-million students. It's generally recognized that the practice of using data to bash schools—commonly known as naming and shaming—doesn't help them get better. But it's still an open experiment whether illuminating school problems with more focused data will do a better job.

With the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replacing No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, states have gained substantial new freedom to reshape their school accountability systems, including criteria for how to measure and communicate school performance to the public. One dominant model is the streamlined letter-grade system first adopted by Florida, which focuses on student achievement on annual statewide tests. By contrast, California is developing a dashboard-style system, which encompasses multiple measures, such as student attendance and school climate.

By Michael Kirst The State Board of Education has been working for several years to develop a new accountability system based on the Local Control Funding Formula, which the Legislature and governor passed in 2013. In September, the state board will take an important step forward by establishing a new way to measure progress and identify problems in our schools and districts, giving parents, teachers and community members a better idea of what is happening at their schools.

By David Plank

Imagine you are a judge on a cooking show. Every contestant prepares three different dishes, and you must choose the best cook. But different cooks are good at different things, so what measure can you use to judge them all?

That’s the question California lawmakers are grappling with in trying to rate schools. Historically, we’ve thrown all the things that schools do into a blender and judged the “soup” that comes out.

In 2013 the California Legislature created the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) to assist school districts, County Offices of Education, and charter schools in improving the performance of California schools and students. The CCEE is expected to provide “advice and assistance” to local actors in an education system with 58 counties, more than 1,000 school districts, and over 10,000 schools including 1,175 charter schools.

When we think of school we too often picture rows of students sitting quietly at their desks, listening to the teacher or reading a textbook. This familiar image of a quiet classroom and docile students is and should be increasingly outdated. The state’s new Common Core and Next Generation science standards require teachers to teach and students to learn in more dynamic ways. They raise the bar for subject-matter knowledge in English, math and science.

Heather Hough and Joe Witte, PACE
Noah Bookman, CORE Districts

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, California state policymakers are tasked with determining the subgroup threshold for school-level reporting. To inform this decision, this policy brief explores the implications of utilizing various subgroup sizes using data from the CORE Districts. The authors find that the 20+ subgroup size presents clear advantages in terms of the number of students represented, particularly in making historically underserved student populations visible.

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