Publications

  • Charter Competition and District Finances: Evidence from California

    Paul Bruno. Policy Analysis for California Education. May 2019

    Charter schools enroll a growing share of public school students, leading to concerns about the financial implications of charter schools for traditional public schools. Using detailed expenditure data for school districts in California, this paper exploits variation in charter school enrollment across time and between districts to evaluate how district spending and overall financial health change as nearby charter sectors expand.

  • The Challenges of Employee and Retiree Health Benefit Costs for California Districts

    Paul Bruno. Policy Analysis for California Education. May 2019

    Researchers in the Getting Down to Facts II project showed that while the financial picture has improved in recent years for California’s school districts, several important challenges remain. This policy brief explores one of these challenges in greater detail: the costs of health and welfare benefits for district employees.

  • Promising Practices in Local Stakeholder Engagement in School Governance

    Mary Perry, Beth Higbee, Danny Kanga, Celia Jaffe, Geordee Mae Corpuz. Policy Analysis for California Education. April 2019

    Community engagement remains one of the most challenging expectations of California’s Local Control  Funding Formula, so much so that state leaders have funded an initiative to support regional networks focused on engagement. This brief shares insights from a session where a lead administrator from the San Bernardino County Office provided an update on that initiative. Other speakers shared their on-the-ground experiences working with educators, parents, and students to create the relationships needed for community stakeholder engagement to be consistent, meaningful, and productive.

  • Voter Awareness, Support, and Participation in California’s Local Control Funding Formula

    Taylor N. Allbright, Julie A. Marsh. Policy Analysis for California Education. March 2019

    In this brief, we update previous research on the implementation of California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) with the results from a 2019 poll of California voters. Results show that while public awareness of the LCFF has increased, more than half of voters remain unfamiliar with this state finance and accountability policy. However, voter support for the policy remains high, though it has decreased since last year. Participation in LCFF engagement has increased, but remains low, despite a majority of voters reporting desire to be involved in decisions about local education.

  • Predicting College Success: How Do Different High School Assessments Measure Up?

    Michal Kurlaender, Kramer Cohen. Policy Analysis for California Education. March 2019

    The Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC), implemented in California in 2014–15 as part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, is designed to evaluate students’ levels of college and career readiness. Student scores on the Smarter Balanced Assessment are currently used for both accountability and school improvement purposes. Aligned with Common Core State Standards for college readiness, student performance on the Smarter Balanced Assessment may also predict students’ success in college in a manner similar to other commonly used assessments for predicting college success.

  • Roll Call: Describing Chronically Absent Students, the Schools they Attend, and Implications for Accountability

    Heather Hough. Harvard Education Press. February 2019

    Student absenteeism has recently entered the national spotlight with its emphasis in the Every Student Succeeds Act, and here in California with its inclusion in the School Dashboard. Yet many questions remain about who chronically absent students are and how they are concentrated within schools. In chapter 1 (of the edited book, Absent from School), the author uses data from the CORE districts—which serve nearly one million students in over 1,000 schools in California–to better understand differences across students and schools, comparing these measures to a broader set of school performance indicators. First, the author describes attendance at the student level and how it varies by student characteristics. Then, she shows how schools perform on this metric, by school type, by subgroup, and across time. Finally, she describes how schools’ performance on chronic absence metrics corresponds to other accountability metrics and the related implications for reporting school-level measures of chronic absenteeism.

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  • Gauging the Revised California School Dashboard

    Morgan S. Polikoff. Policy Analysis for California Education. February 2019

    Late in 2018, the California Department of Education rolled out an updated version of the California School Dashboard. This revision altered the look and feel of the Dashboard and added new indicators based on newly available data. This brief updates a 2018 analysis of the Dashboard. First, I examine whether the state’s revisions are in line with the suggestions made in the 2018 report. I find that the state has made some improvements to the system, but that there is room for continued improvement.

  • The Governor’s Budget Proposal and Getting Down to Facts II: Evidence to Inform Policy

    Heather Hough, Jeannie Myung. Policy Analysis for California Education. February 2019

    Governor Newsom’s first Budget Proposal increases funding for education in California. There are areas of substantive overlap in the Budget Proposal and research findings from the Getting Down to Facts II (GDTFII) research project, released in September 2018, which built an evidence base on the current status of California education and implications for paths forward. As the Budget moves from proposal to reality, it is critical that the evidence from GDTFII continues to inform the policy process.

  • Californians and Public Education: Views from the 2019 PACE/USC Rossier Poll

    Morgan S. Polikoff, Heather Hough, Julie A. Marsh, David N. Plank. Policy Analysis for California Education. February 2019

    With a new governor, state superintendent and legislators in Sacramento and a diminished federal role in education, there is an opportunity for California’s leaders to take stock of recent educational reforms and make necessary improvements. There are also a host of new and looming issues in K-12 and higher education. As California’s leaders confront these and other issues, where do California voters, including parents, stand on education and education policy? The newest edition of the USC Rossier/PACE Poll shares voter perspectives on a wide range of education issues.

  • Addressing Absenteeism

    Michael A. Gottfried, Ethan L. Hutt. Policy Analysis for California Education. February 2019

    Addressing student absenteeism continues to permeate education policy and practice. California and a majority of other states have incorporated “chronic absenteeism” as an accountability metric under the Every Student Succeeds Act. It is therefore a crucial time to take stock of what we know on the research, policy, and practice to better understand the measurement of student absenteeism and how to reduce it. To further this goal and spark a broader conversation about student attendance as a valuable policy lever, we wrote the first book centered on the issue of school absenteeism.

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