Navigating the Education Budget Crisis Following COVID-19

How the State and Districts Can Make Smart Cuts
Commentary author
Michael Fine
Summary

California faces a massive budget gap next year due to reduced tax revenues, with schools expected to see a shortfall of $19 billion. Though there are proposals to impose across the board cuts, each district has different needs and resources that should be carefully assessed to come up with the best plan for each.

Understanding, Measuring, and Addressing Student Learning Needs During COVID-19 Recovery

Commentary author
Summary

Students re-entering the classroom following the COVID-19 crisis will likely experience severe learning loss and emotional challenges arising from their time out of school. Schools will need to develop tools for assessing students’ varied needs along with the resources, clear guidance, and flexibility to address them. This commentary is modified from testimony delivered to the California Assembly Budget Committee on April 28, 2020.

Moving Forward from COVID-19

Voters’ Opinions on Educational Equity Initiatives in California
Commentary author
Summary

COVID-19 and its concomitant school closures are affecting students in many ways; there is good reason to expect the pandemic will adversely impact educational equity. New PACE research uses data from the 2020 PACE/USC Rossier annual voter poll to report on CA voter attitudes towards educational equity policy initiatives. A majority of voters supported a focus on ending racial inequality in educational outcomes and specific initiatives to do so, suggesting that voters may also support a targeted approach to mitigating the pandemic’s adverse effects on CA students who have been hardest hit.

Why Funding California Schools Is Crucial to the State's COVID-19 Recovery

Transcript of CASBO Podcast
Commentary author
Summary

In this podcast (transcribed) for the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), Heather Hough highlights research and perspectives related to the fundamental importance of public education, school funding levels and policies, and proactive approaches that should be on the table as California plans its recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

As Funding for Schools Plummets, California Leaders Face a Fiscal Reckoning

Commentary author
Summary

The coming months and years will be painful for the California economy in general and especially for school funding, which is overly dependent on volatile state tax revenues. California leaders should respond to this pandemic-induced fiscal crisis as a kickstart to finally reimagine and fully fund our schools—not just for this challenging moment but also for the future.

UC Regents Should Consider All Evidence and Options in Decision on Admissions Policy

Summary

As the UC Board of Regents approaches an important decision on the use of SAT/ACT in admissions, a task force report meant to inform has instead mischaracterized key issues. This commentary and its accompanying analyses seek to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the options and urge the Regents to consider wider perspectives. Our goal is to support an evidence-based and responsible decision.

In Pandemic’s Wake, California Needs to Rethink System of Support for Schools

Commentary author
Summary

When the coronavirus emergency abates, what happens to California’s disrupted education system and how might policymakers respond now? The double blow of fewer resources and greater needs promises a perfect storm for education in California after the pandemic. When the pandemic has run its course, all of California’s schools and districts will need help to get back on their feet, and the current system of support will need to be rethought in order to respond to new needs.

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

Commentary author
Summary

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed California and the nation into uncharted waters, especially with the impact on our schools. With the economy in decline and unemployment on the rise, school funding is likely to dip, triggering cuts across the system. This financial impact will come when our schools need more money, not less, to serve our state’s children. As we look toward recovery, Californians should make the kind of significant investments in our public schools that reflect their true importance to our students, families and future.

Supporting Online Learning in a Time of Pandemic

Commentary author
Karen Symms Gallagher
Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed almost all school systems in the U.S. online with little or no preparation. To be responsive in this time, USC Rossier faculty members have worked rapidly to prepare a report with immediately useful resources and concrete advice. Bringing together the expertise of faculty who have decades of experience teaching in virtual learning environments, as well as deep knowledge of teacher education pedagogy and educational psychology, this report provides recommendations that can serve as a practical guide for all educators during this difficult and complex time.

Distance Learning Playbook for California School Districts

Commentary author
Sam Olivieri
Summary

At this time of unprecedented challenge, districts have to both manage a rapid response to the current school closures and also prepare for the possibility of supporting students remotely for longer periods ahead, a process for which there is no roadmap. Learning Apart, Staying Connected: A Distance Learning Playbook was created for California school districts to support the development and roll-out of distance learning plans across the state.

Current Circumstances Accentuate the Need to Educate the Whole Child

Commentary author
Roman Stearns
Summary

This moment of disruption is an opportunity to stop and ask how best to educate the whole child. There are important lessons to be learned from the Scaling Student Success community, in which school districts have engaged community stakeholders to create a Graduate Profile – a succinct, one-page document defining the skills, competencies, and mindsets necessary for future success in college, career, and civic engagement.

Evidence to Inform Recovery

PACE’s Response to COVID-19
Summary

The closing of California’s physical learning spaces has significant implications for educational equity and access. In the coming weeks and months, PACE’s efforts will be focused on supporting real-time crisis response and helping the state build toward recovery. This commentary, the first in a new series designed to raise up evidence quickly to inform crisis response and recovery, details our approach.

Summary of the 2020 PACE/USC Rossier Poll Results Presentation

Commentary author
Dan Silver
Summary

This commentary provides a summary of a session at the 2020 PACE Annual Conference in which the results from the PACE/USC Rossier 2020 Poll were presented.  Topics discussed included findings on voter perceptions of schools generally, and also their perceptions on issues related to teacher salaries, college affordability and admissions, gun violence, and school funding.

Data and Evaluation

Spotlight on Chronic Absenteeism Toolkit
Commentary author
Summary

PACE research is featured in a repository on chronic absenteeism created by the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE). The collaborative offers toolkits, materials and other resources.

Early Childhood Education in California Takes a Step Forward

Commentary author
Summary

Early Childhood Education in California Takes a Step Forward. After eight hearings, countless hours of meetings, collaboration with stakeholders, a survey of over thirty organizations and a robust 2-year discussion by a diverse, inclusive Commission including community members and elected officials, the California Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education (BRC) released its draft recommendations.

Can Social-Emotional Skills Drive Continuous Improvement?

Commentary author
Summary

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has become a pillar of innovative learning.  In California, we have started a thoughtful conversation on how managing emotions, setting positive goals, showing empathy for others, and maintaining positive relationships connects to overall educational success.

California’s Dashboard Data Will Guide Improvement

Commentary authors
Summary

After more than a decade of strict federal mandates and measures of school success, a new education law is inviting policymakers across the country to rethink “accountability.” The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) takes a more comprehensive approach to assessing school quality than the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), moving beyond NCLB’s focus on annual test performance to also consider factors like student academic growth, graduation rates, and rates of proficiency for English language learners.

Single Score Is a Misleading Way to Judge California’s Schools

Commentary author
Summary

magine 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.

Pre–K Policymakers Need to Wake from Nap Time

Commentary author
Summary

Early childhood education has changed in California.  Now, every child transitioning from early learning education to kindergarten needs to wake up from nap time and start meeting state standards.  And to help them, state policy makers need to wake up, too.

The PACE Perspective on 'The California Way'

Commentary author
Summary

This is one of the most exciting, daunting and critically important moments in California's education policy history. We are all in uncharted territory.Policymakers and educators at all levels of the system are wrestling with the virtually simultaneous implementation of four radically new and promising policy initiatives.

Strategic Student Teaching Placement

Commentary authors
John Krieg
Roddy Theobald
Summary

A considerable body of evidence suggests that the market for educators is “local” in the sense that teachers are more likely than other professionals to be hired into schools near their original hometowns.  Evidence from New York State shows teachers are likely to begin their teaching careers near their homes a phenomenon referred to as the “draw of home.”  This draw of home appears to be a combination of preferences of prospective teacher candidates to apply to and accept jobs from districts near their homes as well as a negative preference that districts show towards hiring applicants originating from far away.

Testing the Causal Links Between School Climate, School Violence, and School Academic Performance

Commentary author
Rami Benbenishty
Summary

Many studies show that positive school climate and low levels of student bullying and violence are associated with improved academic performance. Currently, scientists and policy makers interpret this robust finding as evidence that climate improvement and violence reduction cause academic improvement. Nevertheless, this causal link has rarely been tested.