Policy Briefs

  • Leaders for California’s Schools

    Susanna Loeb, Jon Valant. September 2009.

    A new PACE policy brief presents an overview of the current state of school leadership in California. Susanna Loeb and Jon Valant from Stanford University examine the challenges that California must overcome to recruit, hire, train, and retain strong and talented principals, with a particular focus on the limitations of current state and district policies.

  • The Quality Teacher and Education Act in San Francisco: Lessons Learned

    Heather Hough. July 2009.

    This policy brief, Heather Hough from Stanford University reviews the recent experience of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) with the development and approval of Proposition A. Proposition A (also known as the Quality Teacher and Education Act, or QTEA) included a parcel tax mainly dedicated to increasing teachers’ salaries, along with a variety of measures introducing flexibility to the current salary schedule and strengthening accountability for teacher performance.

  • The Development of a Teacher Salary Parcel Tax: The Quality Teacher and Education Act in San Francisco

    Heather Hough. April 2009.

    In June 2008 San Francisco voters approved Proposition A, a parcel tax initiative dedicated to improving teachers’ salaries in the San Francisco Unified School District. Proposition A also provided funding for a number of innovative teacher compensation programs, including extra pay for teachers in difficult-to-staff schools and difficult-to-fill subject areas.

  • Collective Bargaining Agreements in California School Districts: Moving Beyond the Stereotype

    Katharine Strunk. February 2009.

    In a new PACE Policy Brief, Katharine Strunk from the University of California-Davis analyzes the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) negotiated between school districts and local teachers’ unions in 464 California school districts. She shows that CBAs vary widely across districts, which suggests that school boards and unions are taking advantage of the flexibility inherent in contract negotiations to develop creative solutions to specific local problems.

  • Learning What Works: Continuous Improvement in California’s Education System

    Susanna Loeb, David N. Plank. August 2008.

    In a new PACE Policy Brief, Susanna Loeb and David N. Plank argue that to raise student performance and satisfy public expectations California’s education system must be transformed into a continuously improving system that encourages innovation, carefully measures the impact of different policies and practices, and—most importantly—learns from experience. Loeb and Plank identify the essential features of a continuously improving system, which include clear and specific goals, timely and reliable data, strong capacity to support change, decision-making flexibility, and aligned incentives.

  • Reshaping Teacher Policies to Improve Student Achievement

    Julia E. Koppich. March 2008.

    In this PACE Policy Brief, Julia E. Koppich puts forward a set of policy recommendations aimed at improving the quality of teaching in California’s schools. She argues that California can help to bring about sustained improvement in teaching and learning by experimenting with new policies in several areas, including professional development, evaluation, compensation, and the structure of teachers’ careers. Her policy brief includes descriptions of innovative programs in each of these areas that are now being implemented in school districts across the U.S.

  • Building an Information System to Support Continuous Improvement in California Public Schools

    Susanna Loeb, Tara Beteille, Maria Perez. February 2008.

    A PACE Policy Brief by Susanna Loeb, Tara Beteille and Maria Perez of Stanford University explains why California must accelerate its efforts to create an effective data system for collecting and using vital school information. Building an Information System to Support Continuous Improvement in California Public Schools highlights the elements of an effective data system, with a particular focus on issues related to data collection.

  • Meeting the Challenge: Performance Trends in California Schools

    Jennifer Imazeki. February 2008.

    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.

  • Beyond Access: How the First Semester Matters for Community College Students’ Aspirations and Persistence

    Anne Driscoll. August 2007.

    A new PACE Policy Brief by Anne Driscoll of the University of California at Davis explains why California must do more than expand access to community college if our state is to prepare the workforce needed to remain economically competitive in the 21st century. Beyond Access: How the First Semester Matters for Community College Students’ Aspirations and Persistence shows that fewer than half of the young high school graduates who entered California community colleges with the goal of transferring to four-year colleges in 1998 made it through their first semester with their goals intact.

  • Making Sense of Career-Technical Education: Options for California

    Norton Grubb, David Stern. April 2007.

    A PACE Policy Brief by W. Norton Grubb and David Stern. Career-technical education (CTE) is back in the policy spotlight, as Governor Schwarzeneggger and key legislators seek strategies to strengthen California’s much-criticized high schools. Some forms of CTE that integrate academic with occupational content could usefully be expanded to provide high school students with multiple pathways to college and careers.


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