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A new PACE policy brief summarizes the findings from a study investigating the impact of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) on California’s lowest performing students. Utilizing longitudinal data from four large urban school districts, Sean Reardon from Stanford and Michal Kurlaender from UC-Davis compare students scheduled to graduate just before (2005) and after (2006-07) the exit exam became a requirement for graduation from California high schools. They find that the CAHSEE requirement had no positive effects on students’ academic skills, and a large negative impact on...
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...
Understanding California's High School Dropouts
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Six of California’s largest urban school districts have joined together in the Partnership for Urban Education Research (PUER), to address the most pressing issues in urban education. The six PUER districts have agreed to work together to increase data availability, enhance internal research capacity, and promote collaboration and information sharing across district lines for the benefit of their students. PUER seeks to build a partnership in which participating districts can use their collective research capacity to carefully evaluate their own instructional programs and practices. In a new...
How the First Semester Matters for Community College Students’ Aspirations and Persistence
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A new PACE Policy Brief by Anne Driscoll of the University of California at Davis explains why California must do more than expand access to community college if our state is to prepare the workforce needed to remain economically competitive in the 21st century. Beyond Access: How the First Semester Matters for Community College Students’ Aspirations and Persistence shows that fewer than half of the young high school graduates who entered California community colleges with the goal of transferring to four-year colleges in 1998 made it through their first semester with their goals intact. One...
Options for California
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A PACE Policy Brief by W. Norton Grubb and David Stern. Career-technical education (CTE) is back in the policy spotlight, as Governor Schwarzenegger and key legislators seek strategies to strengthen California’s much-criticized high schools. Some forms of CTE that integrate academic with occupational content could usefully be expanded to provide high school students with multiple pathways to college and careers. This strategy, which we call “CTE/multiple pathways,” is more feasible and desirable for California high schools than other approaches to CTE — including the traditional vocational...
Options for California
Publication authors
Published
Summary
Career-technical education (CTE) is back in the policy spotlight, as Governor Schwarzenegger and key legislators seek strategies to strengthen California’s much-criticized high schools. Some forms of CTE that integrate academic with occupational content could usefully be expanded to provide high school students with multiple pathways to college and careers. This strategy, which we call “CTE/ multiple pathways,” is more feasible and desirable for California high schools than other approaches to CTE—including the traditional vocational education of the past century, the “dual” systems developed...
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In its 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education, California became the first state to adopt an explicit public policy extending college opportunity to every adult who could benefit from it. The primary responsibility for implementing this vision was assigned to the California Community Colleges, a system that has since become the foundation of college opportunity in the state. Too few people realize the critical role that the community colleges have played in making California’s tripartite higher education system a national and world leader for over four decades. Although the equality of...
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PACE presents three working papers on the inadequacies and difficulties of successful transition from high school to college. These papers are derived from The Bridge Project, a six-state study of K–16 issues. These three papers do not attempt to cover all aspects of K–16 and transition issues. Consequently, the policy implications at the end are based solely on these studies. While the media has focused a disproportionate amount of its attention on the highly selective University of California system, these studies provide fresh perspectives on the issues of college preparation, transition...
New Education Policies
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Senior slump is part of American high school culture. High school seniors, from the top of the class to the bottom, view much of senior year as a time they have "earned" for nonacademic pursuits, including fun, internships, and paid work. For the best-performing students, senior slump may begin in the fall, the day after they are accepted to college under early admissions. For other college-bound students, senior slump often begins soon after they have filed their college applications. For students not planning to attend college immediately after high school, senior slump may begin the moment...