1987–88 Evaluation Report
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This report presents findings from the third annual evaluation of the Partnership Academy Programs in California. These are high school-based, state-funded programs selected through a grants competition conducted by the state Department of Education. They are based on SB 605, passed during the 1987 legislative session. During the 1987–88 school year, there were twelve academies operating in the state two original Peninsula Academies, in the Sequoia Union High School District in Redwood City, begun in the fall of 1981; eight replications begun in the fall of 1985, four of which are in the Bay...
Issues and Options for Early Childhood Programs
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The growing demand for compensatory education and for child care has generated a rash of federal legislation; many states have enacted new early childhood programs, most of them located within schooling systems, and many others are considering their options. This article examines the basic policy issues governments confront in early childhood education, including the content of programs, their financing, and the inevitable trade-off between cost and quality. The final section of the article outlines the available policy options. This article was originally published in the American Journal of...
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A comprehensive inventory of formal staff development activity and costs in 30 California districts yields a portrait of locally organized opportunities for teachers and reveals the policy stance taken by districts toward teachers and their professional development. Present patterns of resource allocation consolidate the districts' role as the dominant provider of teachers' professional development; other sources, including the university or the larger professional community of teachers, are less visible. Expenditures reflect a conception of professional development based almost exclusively on...
An Exploration of the Debate on School District Size
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Like a lady "of a certain age," school districts of a certain size have sometimes been considered to be, well, not the most desirable. The "wrong" size, for the last half century at least, has been size small. How small? That depended on the researcher: some felt that a thousand was big enough; some preferred ten thousand; and some never quite specified. But for a long time in America, the only good school districts were said to be large school districts. As with most educational issues, the pendulum is swinging back on the subject of district size. During the period from World War II to the...
Chapter Highlights
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This report is an attempt lo assemble a set of social indicators that suggest an overall portrait of the quality of California's children. It synthesizes material not readily available to policy­ makers; points out gaps In available data; and where appropriate, offers limited policy recommendations. Data are included on physical and mental health, physical safely, sexual behavior, and academic achievement. Because children are largely dependent upon settings and services controlled by adults, the report also attempts to evaluate the conditions of the settings in which children develop—families...
Broadening the Vision of School Labor-Management Relations: A First-Year Progress Report
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The purposes of the Trust Agreement Project are: 1) to develop new forms of school organization and new patterns of relationships among teachers and school administrators, and 2) to expand the range of labor-management discussions in education from the technical, procedural work rules that are the traditional purview of collective bargaining to substantive areas of educational policy. The 1987–88 Trust Agreement Project was a collaborative effort of the California Federation of Teachers and the California School Boards Association, under the auspices of Policy Analysis for California Education...
Looking Backward and Forward
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The first wave of school reform has crashed upon the education beach, but are other waves now forming out at sea? The year 1983 is generally regarded as the beginning of the current cycle of state education reform. The Nation at Risk report was released that year, but many states had sponsored education legislation before the report came out. The last states to engage in legislation on education—Washington, Indiana, and Iowa—joined in 1987. The spread of this reform is very impressive, and its consistency in concept qualifies it as one of the hallmarks in state policymaking. The 1986 report of...
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In early November 1987, Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig issued two pages of charts and accompanying narrative entitled The Average Costs of a California School 1985–86. This document presented a brief, composite picture of California school expenditures for fiscal year 1985-86 (the most recent year in which full fiscal information was available) in order to provide a "clearly understandable picture of California schools and how they spend their resources." In summary form, this analysis divided school expenditures into four categories, or cost centers (Chart 1). The description...
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Can broad state-level initiatives for school reform actually improve local schools? Using data collected in California, this article answers that question affirmatively—but it also reminds readers that successful local implementation of state-level initiatives depends on several factors. Since 1983, when publication of A Nation at Risk touched off a national desire to reform education, many states have enacted comprehensive legislation intended to improve their schools. Such legislation typically increases high school graduation requirements, encourages a more substantive curriculum, defines...
1986–87 Evaluation Report
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In the fall of 1985, 10 academy programs were established by the State of California as replications of the Peninsula Academies. Policy Analysis for California Education evaluated these 10 academies in 1985–86. This report presents findings from a second evaluation covering the academies' 1986–87 school year.
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This is the fourth edition of Conditions of Education in California. It is the most extensive and inclusive issue yet. It has been altered in both content and format. The content has been expanded. In addition to previously appearing components such as enrollments, curriculum, governance, human resources, student performance, and finance, a special features section has been added. This year, education reform processes are the topic of this new section. Next year we will select a different topic on which to concentrate. Of course, we continue in this edition to include the sections on the...
Part I: Study Findings
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In 1983, California enacted a comprehensive bill (Senate Bill 813) containing dozens of education reform provisions. The scope of the proposed changes had no previous parallel. The bill's many ideas for school improvement, if implemented, potentially could have altered the curriculum and instructional practices of virtually every school in the state. However, despite the bill's sweeping scope, and the large accompanying revenue increases, it included neither a proven effective reform philosophy nor a cohesive school change strategy. At the most fundamental level, Senate Bill 813 represented a...
Part II: Background and Technical Appendices
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In the early 1980s, a study of California secondary students' pathways through high school documented an erosion in secondary school curriculum. Electives had replaced academic courses; student exposure to sound mathematics, science, and U.S. history had dropped; and courses taken to graduate from high school had failed to aggregate into a clear body of knowledge. In 1982, the California Business Roundtable proposed a series of reforms to remedy these system declines. Also in 1982, Bill Honig, then a member of the State Board of Education, won election to the office of superintendent of public...
Bridging the Gap Between Policy and Research
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People in Education Evaluation and Research (PEER), prepared by the Phi Delta Kappa Center on Evaluation, Development, and Research, introduces Kappan readers to individu­als who make exemplary contributions to research, or who make effective, practi­cal applications of research in the ad­ministration of public schools. Michael Kirst is featured in this PEER column be­cause of the exemplary way in which he is bridging the gap between policy and research in California. With his colleague James Guthrie, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, Kirst created and now co­directs...
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In February 1985 PACE convened a group of attorneys representing teacher organizations and school districts. Joining them were education policy experts from legislative and executive offices and from education and private organizations. Our purpose was to explore the effect of Senate Bill 813 on teacher dismissal. SB 813, California's omnibus school reform legislation of 1983, changed the process by which teachers are dismissed for cause. Senate Education Committee staff had posed the questions: Does SB 813 facilitate the dismissal of teachers? Is there an empirical record demonstrating the...
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Two years ago, in the midst of a heated debate in the California legislature over whether to eliminate the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, a proponent of the proposal stood up, waved a red, white, and blue publication, and declared: "PACE says eliminate this." Leaping to his feet, a supporter of the commission waved his own copy of the re­port and shouted: "No it doesn't!" The incident exemplifies the growing role that PACE—Policy Analysis for California Education—has played in the often vigorous debates waged on school issues in California since its creation in 1983. At a time when many...
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California's systems of higher and lower education are inadequately coordinated, to the detriment of both sectors. Mounting evidence attests to the need for forging closer links between the two, for example, the disruptive effects on high schools of uncoordinated changes in university admission requirements, the negative effect on teacher quality resulting from the low status of teacher training at universities, and the.irrelevance of most academic education research to classroom and teaching needs. Inadequate coordination is a result of many factors. In part, the problem can be traced to...
The Next Needed Education Reform
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The quest for equality of educational opportunity, which dominated education policy agendas in the U.S. from 1955 to 1980, has now receded in the face of rising national concern for greater school productivity. Early returns from a few states suggest that the recent reform efforts are having a positive effect. Although no dramatic increases in student achievement have been recorded and dropout rates remain unacceptably high, more students are now enrolled in academic courses, pub­lishers are feeling pressure to develop more rigorous textbooks, and many institutions of higher education have...
Evaluating Omnibus Education Reforms in the 1980s
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In this study, the authors investigate curricular changes in California compre­hensive high schools from 1982–83 to 1984–85. During this period, a number of educational reforms occurred, all aimed at bolstering the academic demands of secondary schools. Senate Bill 813 mandated more extensive statewide graduation requirements for high schools, while California state universities and the University of California altered their entrance requirements. In addition, a number of na­tional reports found U.S. high schools lacking in academic rigor. Although it is difficult to ascertain the precise...
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Continuing growth and sustained progress on educational reform characterize California's public schools, but the Gann spending limit, which potentially restricts state dollars for education, and projected shortages of highly qualified teachers dampen prospects for continued educational improvements. Indications of important educational progress in California, which PACE documented in Conditions of Education in California, 1985, continue on many fronts. This is particularly true when compared to the recent decade of serious decline in California's public school system. In 1986, student...
Recent Research on the Federal Role in Education
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The federal government has always been a junior partner to state and local agencies in financing and operating U.S. schools. The impacts of federal policies on the nation's classrooms, however, continue to fascinate researchers, policymakers, and the public. Interest and concern about this role intensified during the 1960s and 1970s, motivated in part by expanding expenditures as well as by the increasing directiveness of most new federal policies. Through the 1970s, the federal role emphasized securing extra services for traditionally under­ served students, promoting innovation, and...
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Until about 1980, the issues surrounding public school finance remained the same. They were fiscal in nature and included spending inequalities related to differences in school district property wealth per pupil; technicalities related to various state equalization formulas; funding structures that recognized higher costs for special student populations; and, in some in­stances, state/local tax levels and burdens by income class. The major concern was how equitably to finance education in general. Stimulated largely by legal action mandating change, school fi­nance reform with respect to these...
The Link Between Assessment and Financial Support
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Public school policy mak­ing is embedded in a complex societal matrix. It is not possi­ble to consider the future of U.S. schools without examining the size and distribution of future populations; the future state of the economy and its ef­fect on funds available for the schools; and the political context within which decisions will be made. The public school system is a "dependent variable" of larger social and economic forces. This article was originally published in the Phi Delta Kappan by Phi Delta Kappa International and Journal Storage (JSTOR).
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Less than three years have elapsed since the release of A Nation at Risk and the accom­panying calls to improve U.S. public schools. Yet a number of state legislatures have already acted on the basic recommendations of that and oth­er, similar reports. Indeed, the educa­tion reform movement has moved faster than any public policy reform in modem history. All the states have expanded their school improvement programs; nearly all have increased high school graduation requirements; most have stiffened college admission require­ments; many are deepening the content of course offerings; and many...
Waivers and School-Based Program Coordination Under AB 777
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Enacted in 1981 as part of AB 777, the waiver authority provides school districts relief from the prescriptive nature of California's voluminous Education Code. If a particular law or regulation conflicts with a local situation, school districts may seek alternatives by requesting a waiver of state requirements, subject to local and state review (State Board of Education). Each school district must justify the need for a waiver. However, waivers are automatically approved unless the State Board of Education finds grounds for denial. "Not meeting student needs," "jeopardizing parental...