COVID-19’s Impact on English Learner Students

Possible Policy Responses
Commentary author
Summary

English learners (ELs) face diverse challenges during the pandemic, with varied educational needs and health concerns. The forthcoming academic year will likely amplify the academic gap between EL and non-EL students due to limited access to distance learning. To address this, several policy recommendations are proposed. Universal basic income, health care, and tech access are vital for EL families, especially for those in low-income or undocumented situations. Distance learning must cater to ELs by providing devices, multilingual content, and non-tech learning options. Improved communication with EL families and leveraging their cultural assets are crucial. Extending learning time for ELs, promoting collaboration among teachers, and hiring bilingual family members as aides or tutors are recommended. Assessing returning students' academic status and monitoring funds allocated for ELs' needs are vital. These policy suggestions aim to address EL education challenges amidst the pandemic, stressing equity, resources, and inclusivity in education.

Our Children’s Education Should be a Priority as California Recovers from Coronavirus

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Summary

PACE Executive Director Heather Hough cautions that COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted California's education system, highlighting the state's low funding and the substantial financial shortfall necessary to meet educational objectives. Recent research indicates a need for an additional $26.5 billion annually in K–12 education to reach state achievement goals. Decades of underinvestment have left districts financially vulnerable, compounded by the economic challenges triggered by the crisis. The dependence on personal earnings for school funding could result in severe cuts, impacting critical student services and potentially leading to layoffs. School closures have underscored their role beyond education, serving as community hubs crucial for student well-being, safety, and essential services. The pandemic exacerbates existing inequalities in learning opportunities among California students. The urgent call is to recognize schools as central to communities and the state's well-being, emphasizing the necessity for significant post-crisis investments in public education as a priority for California's recovery.

Evidence to Inform Recovery

PACE’s Response to COVID-19
Summary

COVID-19's closure of California's educational institutions has profoundly impacted learning, equity, and access. Efforts now concentrate on remote learning support, essential non-instructional services, and aiding students with special needs. PACE seeks to bolster these initiatives, gather best practices, and provide real-time research for informed decision-making. Anticipating challenges upon students' return, especially those facing trauma, PACE plans to focus on data collection, student support, system capacity, and resource allocation. This includes addressing learning loss, supporting vulnerable populations, fostering engagement, integrating services across agencies, and seeking adequate funding amid economic strains. PACE intends to employ diverse approaches—reviewing existing research, collecting new data, testing innovations, and analyzing policy options—to aid educators, policymakers, and the public in navigating this crisis and leveraging education for recovery

Summary of the 2020 PACE/USC Rossier Poll Results Presentation

Commentary author
Dan Silver
Summary

The 2020 PACE Annual Conference unveiled the latest PACE/USC Rossier Poll results, showcasing California voters' views on key education-related issues. Presenters emphasized the poll's value in understanding voter concerns. Key findings revealed growing pessimism about school quality, a preference for across-the-board teacher salary increases, and concerns about college affordability and fairness in admissions. Voters also stressed addressing gun violence in schools. The panel discussed the state budget, highlighting the need for enhanced higher education accessibility, increased teacher salaries, and a more nuanced approach to education funding. They debated the governor's budget's alignment with voter priorities, noting the need for more support in higher education and teacher salaries and a more effective approach to recruiting teachers.

The Double Disappointment of QEIA

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Summary

The California Teachers Association's preliminary assessment of the Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) showed positive outcomes, yet it is a disappointing occasion for two key reasons. Firstly, QEIA's implementation coincided with severe budget cuts in California, limiting its intended significant boost for struggling schools to merely shielding them from the fiscal crisis rather than driving transformative change. Secondly, QEIA's evaluation, designed as a quasi-experiment, lacks the essential randomized assignment of funds, hindering any conclusive understanding of the impact of these resources. The evaluation's ongoing focus on case studies won't offer substantial insight into QEIA's effectiveness, portraying it as a missed chance for impactful educational improvement.

Welcome to Conditions of Education in California

Commentary authors
Summary

For nearly three decades, PACE has facilitated discussions on California's education policies by integrating academic research into key policy challenges. Traditionally, this involved publishing policy briefs, organizing seminars, and producing the annual 'Conditions of Education in California' report, offering comprehensive data and analysis on the state's education system. The launch of "Conditions of Education in California" as a blog marks a shift to engage a wider audience and enable ongoing updates. This platform, authored by PACE-affiliated researchers across California, aims to share new data, compelling research findings, and insights on current legislation and policies. The objective remains fostering informed discussions on education policy challenges in California, now extending the conversation to policymakers, educators, and citizens. This inclusive dialogue is crucial to drive the necessary policy understanding and momentum for improving the state's education system.

Getting Down to Facts

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Summary

"Getting Down to Facts" is a new research initiative commissioned by Governor Schwarzenegger's Committee on Education Excellence, state Democratic leaders, and Superintendent Jack O'Connell. Led by Susanna Loeb, a Stanford Graduate School of Education Professor and PACE codirector, this project seeks to explore California's school finance and governance systems. Its objective is to provide comprehensive insights essential for assessing the effectiveness of potential reforms. The initiative addresses three key questions: the current state of school finance and governance, optimizing existing resources for improved student outcomes, and evaluating the need for additional resources to meet educational goals. The studies from this project are expected to be available by January 2007.