Research Center Celebrates a Quarter Century as Leader in Legislative Policy Analysis
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When PACE was founded in the early 1980s, California's schools were in turmoil following the passage of Proposition 13, which indirectly limited public education funding. The good news is that PACE has grown significantly in size and stature since then-Graduate School of Education Professor James Guthrie (who taught in the GSE for 27 years), Stanford Professor Michael Kirst; and then-chancellor of the California Community Colleges Gerald Hayward founded PACE (originally called Policy Alternatives for California Education). And the other good news is that the independent policy center has...
School Finance and Governance in California
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Getting Down to Facts is the largest independent investigation ever of how California governs and funds public education. It was commissioned at the request of a bipartisan group of California leaders, including the governor’s Advisory Committee on Educational Excellence, the president protem of the California Senate, the speaker of the California Assembly, the superintendent of public instruction, and the state secretary of education. The purpose of this unprecedented project was to describe California’s school finance and governance systems, identify aspects of those systems that hinder the...
Continuous Improvement in California’s Education System
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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. They...
Data Systems and Policy Learning
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In a PACE document prepared for the Convening on California Education Policy on October 19, 2007, Susanna Loeb and David N. Plank present a set of policy recommendations aimed at supporting continuous improvement in California’s education system. Their recommendations address the essential features of a comprehensive education data system, and also the design and implementation of educational policies to support careful evaluation and organizational learning at all levels of the education system, from the classroom to the California Department of Education.
A Survey of California Teachers’ Challenges, Experiences, and Professional Development Needs
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Listening to Teachers of English Language Learners is the product of collaboration among PACE, the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning (the Center), and the University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute (UC LMRI). Founded in 1983 as a cooperative venture between the schools of education at UC Berkeley and Stanford University, PACE is an independent policy research center whose primary aim is to enrich education policy debates with sound analysis and hard evidence. From issues around pre-schooling and child development, to K–12 school finance, to higher education...
Successes, Challenges, and Opportunities for Improvement
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Accountability for student performance is on the minds of everyone in U.S. education—from policymakers to district administrators to principals. While the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) has claimed center stage in the national accountability debate, California’s own results-based accountability system was set in place several years prior to NCLB. In 1999, California legislators passed the Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA), establishing specific performance targets for schools, a system of rewards and sanctions for meeting those targets, and assistance for low-performing...
Publication authors
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The recent approval of the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) changes the landscape for evaluating school success. In addition to requiring student testing in math and reading for all students in Grades 3–8, a major component of the new law mandates that all states determine, and schools and school districts demonstrate, “adequate yearly progress” toward state proficiency goals. All students—regardless of race or socioeconomic status—must be held to the same academic expectations, and all students—regardless of race or socioeconomic status—must have their academic progress measured using a newly...