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

Commentary author

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

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

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.

January 29, 2019 | Stanford Radio: School's In

When it comes to implementing policies that will shape education, research is a critical starting point, says Heather Hough, executive director of Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), a nonpartisan center led by faculty members at five universities in California...

January 8, 2019 | Capital Public Radio

Gavin Newsom is officially California’s 40th governor. During his electoral campaign and inaugural speech, he made several promises to provide services and representation to different communities across the state. Advocates for early childhood development, housing policy and the LGBTQ community...

November 26, 2018 | Fox & Hounds

One Stanford University study says that California needs to spend billions more on the state’s PreK-12 public school system. Another Stanford study says that too-generous public pensions are robbing core government programs of needed funds. Will the two disparate ideas...

October 15, 2018 | GV Wire

Marshall Tuck, a candidate for state superintendent of public instruction, sat down with Louis Freedberg and John Fensterwald of EdSource to talk about his vision for California’s public schools. Tuck responds to the finding in the "Getting Down to Facts"...

October 13, 2018 | EdSource

This week, Louis and John interview Marshall Tuck, candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Tuck, a former school administrator, lays out his vision for the job and explains what he would do to strengthen the state’s limited education data...

October 5, 2018 | CISION

Child360, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting early learning from every angle, today announced the appointment of William (Bill) Sperling as Chief Executive Officer. He will lead as CEO effective immediately and will be the force behind Child360's vision to...

September 28, 2018 | Chapman University

Dr. Michelle Hall, Attallah College of Educational Studies’ Director of Program Assessment and Improvement, was one of the contributors to a major update to a key research project, Getting Down to Facts II (GDTF II), that examines the many facets...