Abundant Hopes, Scarce Evidence of Results: Executive Summary
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Summary
It’s difficult to find anyone who is happy with public education. From your neighbor to our political leaders, everyone is eager to reform the schools. Polls show that even if we are satisfied with our elementary school down the street, we are distressed about the quality of public education overall. This is where the consensus begins and ends. Contention arises immediately over the next question: What’s the best strategy for improving the public schools? What policies and long-term institutional changes can be implemented that will steadily boost children’s learning? This PACE report focuses...
Abundant Hopes, Scarce Evidence of Results
Published
Summary
It's difficult to find anyone who is happy with public education. From your neighbor to our political leaders, everyone is eager to reform the schools. Polls show that even if we are satisfied with our elementary school down the street, we are distressed about the quality of public education overall. This is where the consensus begins and ends. Contention arises immediately over the next question: What's the best strategy for improving the public schools? What policies and long-term institutional changes can be implemented that will steadily boost children's learning? This PACE report focuses...
A Reappraisal
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Summary
Two stylized facts dominate current educational policy thinking in the U.S. The first is that public schools are ineffective. The second is that they are ineffective because they are not accountable for producing high academic achievement. At one extreme, these stylized facts are interpreted to mean that public education cannot be made more efficient. According to this view, the public sector is structurally incapable of delivering high quality educational services to the diverse student populations in schools. It is too bureaucratic, too unionized, and a monopoly. Improving schooling requires...
How Do Local Interests and Resources Shape Pedagogical Practices?
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This reports argues that much of what actually occurs in bilingual education depends on the discourse and resulting policies at the school district level, and that is one reason why the construction of "bilingual education" varies so greatly and can be seen so positively or so negatively by the very clientele it is supposed to serve. Not surprisingly, within each school district the very definition of second language education centers on interpretations of bow to deliver it—specifically on whether and how to recruit bilingual teachers and whether to implement curricula that are at all oriented...
A Study of Eight States and the District of Columbia
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This report provides findings from a study titled "How Are School Districts Responding to Charter Laws and Charter Schools?" This research aimed to identify: (1) the impact of charter schools on school districts; (2) the ways school districts had responded; and whether districts had experienced systemic change as a result of charter laws and the opening of charter schools. The study was conducted in 1997, six years into the nation's experiment with charter schools. It focused on eight states and the District of Columbia and included case studies of 25 school districts affected by charter...
Implications for Equity, Practice, and Implementation
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Summary
In July 1996, California embarked on its largest ever education reform: a nearly $1 billion class size reduction effort to improve literacy in the primary grades. Now in its second year, the Class Size Reduction (CSR) initiative provides $800 (up from $650 the first year) per student to schools that reduce class size to 20 students or fewer in first grade, second grade, and then third grade and/or kindergarten. The impetus for CSR came from several factors. A revived state economy created a revenue windfall. Under Proposition 98, a minimum amount of this surplus must be allocated to education...
Uneven Faith in Teachers, School Boards, and the State as Designers of Change
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Summary
For nearly two centuries, cantankerous debates over the quality of public education have recurrently preoccupied parents, civic activists, and political leaders. Today, the future of public schooling is the issue that most worries voters in California and nationwide, according to recent polls. In sum, political leaders and candidates have put forward a variety of school reform proposals. A new election season is underway. Politicians and civic activists are eagerly responding to the public's concern over how schools can be effectively improved. In February, PACE and the Field Institute...
California Families Face Gaps in Preschool and Child Care Availability
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This report details stark inequities in how preschool and childcare opportunities are distributed among four California counties, across communities situated within these counties, and among the state's 200 localities with the most families receiving welfare benefits. Despite spending $1.2 billion each year on preschool and childcare programs, no single state agency has been able to assess the overall supply of these programs or the distribution of supply. Over half of California's 3.3 million preschool-age children (age 0–5 years) live in households with a working mother. Half these...
Standards and Assessments
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Paper prepared for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL, March 24, 1997 (revised April 1, 1997). This case study traces the evolution of California's curriculum-related reforms, especially those which have influenced mathematics and science, and examines such reforms within the larger framework of the state's shifting political and policy context. Central to this study is the question of what role the California Department of Education played in relation to other state agencies and actors in developing curriculum policies. Although...
Results of the PACE 1996 Poll
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Summary
In February 1996, PACE conducted a statewide poll on Californians' views on and expectations for the public schools. In particular, the poll was designed to gain insight into the alignment of the public's views with current directions in education policy. Conducting a poll among Californians is especially relevant because no comprehensive public poll has been conducted in recent memory and because poll results can serve to inform the wide range of policy discussions underway at the state level. State policymakers, for example, are in the process of redesigning a statewide assessment system (AB...
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This is the ninth edition of Conditions of Education in California. In this volume, PACE has compiled information on current critical issues in state education policy and presented them within the context of major policy developments. "Evolving Context" introduces the current issues in the state and sets the stage for the remaining chapters, which are Assessment and Achievement, Finance, Teachers and Teaching, Integrated Children's Services, Child Care and Development Services, and School-to-Work.
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This PACE paper provides information regarding the number and types of private schools in California, as well as their enrollments, size, and geographic distribution. It also summarizes current state regulations for private schools and highlights areas in which information gaps exist. Finally, the paper suggests possible ways in which existing private schools might expand or new private schools might enter the marketplace.
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This is the seventh edition of Conditions of Education in California. Since 1984, PACE has endeavored to compile a continuing picture of education in the state by analyzing data about enrollment trends, student achievement, fiscal conditions, human resources, education governance, and the politics of education. These analyses have been limited to comparisons of California with itself over time. The 1991 version represents a shift. Beginning with this edition of Conditions of Education, PACE will analyze California education dimensions by placing California state­ specific data within multi...
Publication authors
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This study compares the post-secondary experiences of members of the first two graduating classes of a number of the California Partnership Academies with their matched comparison groups. It examines experiences related to school and work for these graduates. A description of the Academy model is presented, followed by a summary of the prior in-school evaluation findings. The procedures in this follow-up study are described, with one strong caution: The study deliberately examined only graduates, and because the Academy groups are known to have had lower dropout rates than their comparison...
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Many of the major problems faced by California's education system originate outside the schoolhouse walls. Public schools are pinned inside an iron triangle of shifting demographics, declining economics, and intensifying poli­tics. The historic escape route of local decision initiatives and property taxation has been substantially narrowed by popu­list initiatives such as Proposition 13 and the Gann limit. Examples of excellence and professional commitment persist in various local school districts and previously enacted state initiatives. Under current circumstances, however, it is unlikely...
Connecting Labor Relations and School Reform: A Report on Year Two of the Trust Agreement Project
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Since September 1987, twelve California school districts and their teachers' unions have been experimenting with a new form of labor accord called an Educational Policy Trust Agreement. The Trust Agreement Project is designed to enable teachers, as represented by their union, and school management to develop agreements on professional issues which fall outside the traditional scope of collective bargaining or which appear better negotiated in this new setting. The project is a cooperative effort of the California Federation of Teachers, the California School Boards Association, the California...
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Summary
This is the fifth edition of Conditions of Education in California. Over time, the content and format have changed in keeping with suggestions made by readers. This publication is based upon compilations and syntheses of information collected by other agencies and individuals. These sources are noted throughout the text. We wish here to express our appreciation to these others upon whose efforts we depend so heavily. Also, PACE undertakes a substantial amount of original data collection and analysis. We make specific mention of this throughout the text.