Meeting the Challenge
Performance Trends in California Schools
Jennifer Imazeki of San Diego State University analyzes recent performance trends in California’s education system in Meeting the Challenge: Performance Trends in California Schools, a new PACE Policy Brief. Imazeki shows that California students have generally held steady or improved their academic performance across grades and subject areas in recent years, in spite of growing financial and demographic challenges in the state’s schools. Per pupil spending in California is well below the national average, and the ratio of adults to children in the system is lower than in almost any other state. A majority of California’s students are poor, and nearly one quarter are English learners. Despite these challenges, scores on state and national assessments have been rising, not only on average but for poor and minority students as well. The number of students taking advanced courses in math and science has increased, and so has the number of students satisfying the “a-g” requirements for admission to the University of California or California State University. Performance levels in California’s schools continue to fall short of the state’s ambitious educational goals, and the need for systemic reforms remains urgent, but the performance gains that Imazeki documents testify to the commitment and hard work of the California’s educators.