Implications for Equity, Practice, and Implementation
In 1996, CA launched a $1 billion class size reduction (CSR) initiative to improve early literacy. The initiative provides $800 per student to schools reducing class size to 20 or fewer in first, second, and/or third grade, and kindergarten. CSR was funded due to a state revenue surplus and the belief that smaller classes would enhance early literacy. CA ranked second to last in national reading tests in 1994, and class sizes averaged around 28.6 students per K-3 classroom. While educators and the public show enthusiasm, the success of CSR in enhancing academic achievement is yet to be seen.
This study compares the post-secondary experiences of graduates from California Partnership Academies with their matched comparison groups. The findings show that Academy graduates are doing equally well as comparison students in the first year or two after graduation, indicating that Academy programs have not achieved higher graduation rates at the expense of lower success rates after high school. However, there may be more subtle differences between the two groups that are not detectable by simple measures.