This report updates previous research on California's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) using a 2019 poll of California voters. Despite increased awareness, over half of voters are unfamiliar with LCFF. Support for the policy remains high but has decreased. Participation in LCFF engagement has increased but remains low, particularly among low-income voters. Low-income communities may not be meaningfully engaged in LCFF decision-making.
This brief analyzes the 2018 update of the California School Dashboard, examining improvements and areas for continued enhancement. Using data from the 2019 PACE/USC Rossier poll, the author characterizes use of and support for the Dashboard, finding low use, equity gaps, but high support and preference for the new Dashboard.
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.
In "Absent from School," PACE Executive Director Heather J. Hough analyzes student absenteeism using data from California's CORE districts. She explores the differences in absenteeism rates among students and schools, comparing them to other performance indicators. Dr. Hough also examines how schools' performance on chronic absence metrics corresponds to other accountability measures, highlighting the implications for reporting school-level measures of chronic absenteeism.
This report is the companion account of principal survey results from the Local Control Funding Formula Research Collaborative's (LCFFRC) fall 2018 surveys of stratified random samples of California superintendents and principals. The superintendent results were published in June 2018 in Superintendents Speak: Implementing the Local Control Funding Formula.
California's education system aims to provide all public school students with a broad course of study consistent with state standards. However, many educators feel that the state's funding system does not provide adequate resources to meet these expectations. While funding levels have improved, they remain below those of many other states. An adequacy study estimated that providing an adequate education would have required California to spend $25.6B more in 2016-17. The study also found that larger gaps between actual spending and adequate costs were associated with lower student performance.
Effective data use is crucial for continuous improvement, but there is confusion about how it differs from data use for other purposes. This report explains what data are most useful for continuous improvement and presents a case study of how the CORE data collaborative uses a multiple-measures approach to support decision-making.
Getting Down to Facts II reveals California's limited progress in reducing achievement and opportunity gaps for Black, Latino, low-income, and/or English language learners. The state's education reforms have relied on good intentions rather than specific accountability and enforcement, resulting in below national average outcomes. This paper examines equity in teaching, learning, finance, and accountability and concludes with a broader conception of equity for the future, whole child equity, to tackle this nearly intractable problem.
California's 1.3 million English learner (EL) students have diverse needs, and many lack access to grade-level content instruction, with English language development falling short. Bilingual and dual immersion programs benefit ELs' academic, linguistic, social, and life outcomes, but reclassification policies are currently in flux. Early-career teachers may not be adequately prepared to teach ELs, and funding mechanisms are weak. EL outcomes are complex to interpret as students move in and out of the subgroup, and education sectors are not aligned to address ELs' needs.
California has implemented new academic standards for English, math, and science, and changed how school districts are funded and held accountable. Educators face challenges implementing these standards, requiring changes in teaching, learning, and instructional materials. Teachers need professional development, improved instructional support, and collaborative learning opportunities. School principals play a key role in implementation and depend on district support. Despite positive perceptions, progress requires staying the course to let the standards take root.
California's education system faces challenges in leadership development, with defunded professional development programs leading to inexperienced and high-turnover principals, particularly in high-poverty schools. Studies show that effective principals improve student learning, but current professional development opportunities are insufficient. Many principals seek more support, with rural areas receiving less coaching and development. Promising results have been seen from stronger state standards for administrator education programs.
Public education in California shows progress, yet challenges remain in providing equal opportunities for all students. Poverty rates persist, and schools are highly segregated by race, ethnicity, family income, and language. While student outcomes are improving, significant achievement gaps exist, and California students perform worse than their peers in other states. Career technical education programs provide opportunities for diverse students, but there are gaps in tracking students' educational trajectories.
The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) shifts control of education dollars to local districts, enhancing resource allocation practices. However, inadequate base funds may constrain progress. Stakeholder engagement is evolving yet remains challenging, and school board involvement is typically modest. LCFF communication and accountability mechanisms receive mixed reviews. County offices of education have expanded their role but will need to increase their capacity. Public awareness of the LCFF lags, but it enjoys substantial support.