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
PACE
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
PACE
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.

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.

How Learning About Commonalities Can Improve Student-Teacher Relationships and Boost Achievement at School

Commentary author
Summary

Relationships to teachers are fundamental to the educational success of middle and high school students. Compared to those with more strained social connections, adolescents who have positive relationships with their instructors feel better about school, behave better in class, and achieve more in their studies. But improving teacher-student relationships poses a substantial challenge. Teens often lack the motivation to develop close personal ties with their teachers – and teachers often find themselves preoccupied with conveying the Common Core curriculum, prepping their charges for standardized tests, and administrative duties at school.

Two Types of Principals Who Exit Their Schools

Commentary authors
Alex J. Bowers
Jared Boyce
Summary

Principal turnover is an important national issue with as many as 18% of principals in the United States exiting their schools in a single year, and there is evidence that this rate has been recently increasing. Principal turnover is associated with lower student achievement, higher teacher turnover, various direct and indirect financial costs and decreased morale among teachers, staff, students, and parents. Researchers and policymakers in general have studied principal turnover using a predictive approach: can we identify the factors that are likely to predict whether or not principals are likely to leave their schools? Many studies have produced meaningful results toward answering this question; however, most of them are predicated on the assumption that there is only one type of principal who is exiting their schools.

A Bargain Half Fulfilled

Teacher Autonomy and Accountability in Charter and Public Schools
Commentary author
Zachary Oberfield
Summary

Public charter schools are theorized to succeed more than traditional public schools because of a bargain struck between schools and charter-granting entities: charter schools are given greater autonomy from the standard rules and regulations and, in return, are held more accountable. Early theorists expected that this dynamic would operate in two ways. At the system-level, charter schools would have the latitude to experiment with new approaches to education. If they performed well, they could maintain their charters; if they did not, they could lose them.

Highly Effective Teacher Retention Bonuses

Commentary authors
Matthew G. Springer
Walker A. Swain
Luis A. Rodriguez
Summary

Proponents of teacher evaluation and tenure reform often argue that if we could identify the least effective teachers in the profession and somehow replace them with teachers of average effectiveness, the improvements in student outcomes would be substantial. However in many of the lowest performing, highest poverty schools, where rates of teacher turnover are high across the board, the larger challenge may be identifying and retaining their most effective teachers, who are typically replaced by teachers whose measured effectiveness is well below average..

Establishing Equitable Policies for English Learners

Commentary author
Joseph P. Robinson-Cimpian
Summary

Current and former “English learners” (ELs) make up about 40 percent of California’s public-school student population. Establishing and implementing equitable policies and programs that simultaneously facilitate English proficiency and academic excellence for this group is of the utmost importance for the future wellbeing of California. In a new paper, Karen Thompson, Ilana Umansky, and I focus on what robust research suggests about effective policies concerning (1) EL reclassification, (2) use of native language, (3) access to the core curriculum, and (4) assessment and accountability. Here, I provide a brief overview of our policy conclusions.