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As the Year of Education draws to a close, PACE is reviving its signature publication, Conditions of Education in California, in order to sustain focus on the long-term comprehensive educational reforms that California needs. In this edition of Conditions of Education in California six of California’s leading policy scholars provide analysis of the urgent educational challenges facing our state. The six authors provide baseline data on the current performance of California’s schools and students, and make specific recommendations for policy changes that will support long-term improvement. PACE...
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...
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.
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In a PACE document prepared for the Convening on California Education Policy on October 19, 2007, Julia E. Koppich and Amy Gerstein present a set of policy recommendations that address issues related to human capital and personnel in California’s education system. They offer nine specific recommendations under three main headings: Differentiated Roles and Compensation, Evaluation and Accountability, and Making Successful Practices Visible.
Acquisition, Deployment, and Barriers
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The principal's leadership is viewed as pivotal under a variety of reform models. Policies that aim to raise efficiency by moving discretion down to principals, limiting labor contracts, or awarding fresh resources to schools and/or districts rest on principals' capacity to deploy fungible dollars and human resources. However, little is known about the range of monetary and human resources that principals acquire and influence, how they allocate these resources, and what barriers they confront in acquiring and deploying resources inside their schools. This study attempts to provide a better...

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The cost of education can be defined as the minimum amount of money that a school district must spend in order to achieve a given educational outcome, such as reading at a grade-appropriate level. Costs generally differ across school districts for reasons that are outside the control of local school boards or state governments, such as the number of children with special needs. All else equal, districts with higher costs will need to spend more than districts with lower costs in order to achieve any given outcome. While many states, including California, have some adjustments for cost factors...
What Are Their Effects, and What Are Their Implications for School Finance?
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This work was conducted for the California school finance and governance project, Getting Down to Facts: A Research Project to Inform Solutions to California’s Education Problems. California and states across the nation are attempting to meet the challenge of staffing classrooms with high quality teachers. Each state has designed and implemented a web of policies targeted at teachers—from regulations on teacher education programs and certification to salary structures and recruitment and retention incentives. Despite the plethora of teacher policies, little is known about the variation in the...
Painting a Picture of Revenues and Expenditures in California’s School Districts
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PACE Co-Director Susanna Loeb has published a report analyzing the revenues and expenditures of California schools districts. The report, entitled “District Dollars: Painting a Picture of Revenues and Expenditures in California’s School Districts” was co-authored by Jason Grissom and Katharine Strunk. It was released in March 2007, along with the other “Getting Down to Facts” studies. In their report the authors examine spending and revenues across districts and across time, and compare the patterns that they observe in California to patterns in other states. Among other things, they find that...
Rekindling Reform
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Crucial Issues in California Education, 2006 provides the education community with an overview of key policy topics grounded in lessons learned from recent research and practice. Authors locate issues within the context of the state’s standards and accountability system and current fiscal realities. Each chapter includes demographic and historic perspective, data and analysis, and proposals for long-term structural remedies. Crucial Issues serves as a dynamic reference volume for anyone interested in today’s education policy landscape.
California's High Priority School Grants Program
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Thomas Timur is an Associate Professor of Education at U.C. Davis. He has spent much of his career focusing on education policy and governance, and school finance. He is the author of a new study which examines how schools spent High Priority Schools Grant (HPSG) Program funds.

Full Report
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As policymakers have struggled to make informed decisions about effective ways of strengthening the state’s teacher workforce, the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning’s Teaching and California’s Future initiative (TCF) has provided California policymakers with objective and timely data. The TCF initiative publishes a report each year that provides detailed data on the teacher workforce and labor market and describes teacher development policies, with a focus on how they impact teacher quality and teacher distribution.
The Influence of Preschool Centers on Children’s Development Nationwide
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Young children, at least among those from poor families and within the domains of cognitive growth and school readiness, benefit from exposure to preschool or childcare centers. Carefully controlled experiments, exemplified by the Perry Preschool or the Abecedarian Project, have long shown sustained effects on cognitive growth for children from poor Black families. Even beyond these so-called “boutique programs,” larger public initiatives, such as the Chicago Child-Parent Centers, show encouraging results, as do center programs of naturally varying quality spread across different states. What...
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...
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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...
Educators Respond to Accountability
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Across the nation and in California in particular, it is impossible to ignore the increased emphasis on accountability and its impact on public school policies and practices. Account- ability policy has gained wide support among state policymakers, in response to concerns that public schools were failing to meet the needs of all students. California’s Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA) holds schools and the educators within them accountable for meeting and sustaining high levels of student achievement. A system of standardized testing, curriculum standards, and rewards and sanctions...
California’s Teaching Force, 2004: Key Issues and Trends
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This report, which compiles secondary data from various state agencies and analyzes these data, consists of chapters on Teacher Supply and Demand, Teacher Preparation and Recruitment, and Teacher Induction and Professional Development. Key findings follow: The state’s teaching force is aging, and an impending bulge in teacher retirement is likely to create significant new demand for teachers. Our projections indicate that the gap between teacher supply and demand will peak in 2012-13 at around 52,000 teachers. Even including interns in the supply of teachers, the gap will still be 38,000...
Summary Report
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This report was produced by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning in consultation with our cosponsors—California State University, Office of the Chancellor; Policy Analysis for California Education; University of California, Office of the President; and WestEd. The report is based on research conducted by SRI International. California has gone through political upheaval, and now new leadership is facing enormous fiscal problems. There is a palpable public demand for more responsive government, and a cacophony of voices clamoring to be heard in a system where the rules of governing...
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The mid-1990s found California worried about the education its students were receiving. Standardized tests provided evidence that the state’s students were losing ground compared to their counterparts across the country. The results of the 1994 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released in 1995 only reinforced the concern—California’s fourth graders had tied for last place in reading among the 39 states that participated in NAEP. A task force assembled by the California Department of Education called for, among other reforms, smaller classes—a move strongly favored not only by...
Mothers and Young Children Move Through Welfare Reform
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Policy leaders in Washington and the states are engaging a new debate over an old question: How can society best aid jobless mothers and enrich their children’s lives? The dramatic reform of family welfare policies in 1996, aided by robust economic growth, has moved millions of women into low-wage jobs. But how to build from this success? Would stiffer work requirements raise more families above the poverty line? Could educational opportunities for mothers strengthen parenting? How adequate is the current supply and quality of childcare? As these and other policy options are debated, one fact...
Mothers and Young Children Move Through Welfare Reform: Executive Summary
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Policy leaders in Washington and the states are engaging a new debate over an old question: How can society best aid jobless mothers and enrich their children’s lives? The dramatic reform of family welfare policies in 1996, aided by robust economic growth, has moved millions of women into low-wage jobs. But how to build from this success? Would stiffer work requirements raise more families above the poverty line? Could educational opportunities for mothers strengthen parenting? How adequate is the current supply and quality of childcare? As these and other policy options are debated, one fact...
Year 1: Qualitative Implementation Study
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This report on the implementation of San Francisco County’s CARES program (SF CARES) provides guidance and lessons for policymakers, program administrators, childcare advocates and others who are planning similar initiatives to improve retention. To conduct the study, PACE held a series of focus groups to collect responses from program planners, stipend recipients, and other members of the childcare community. Feedback was gathered on aspects of the entire planning and implementation process, such as the key players involved in the program’s launch; the decisions about who would be eligible...
Year 1: Qualitative Implementation Study
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This report on the implementation of Alameda County’s Child Development Corps program provides guidance and lessons for policymakers, program administrators, childcare advocates, and others who are planning similar initiatives to improve retention. To conduct the study, PACE held a series of focus groups to collect responses from program planners, stipend recipients, and other members of the childcare community. Feedback was gathered on aspects of the entire planning and implementation process, such as the key players involved in the program’s launch; the decisions about who would be eligible...
Findings from 1999–2000 and 2000–01
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This third report on our ongoing evaluation of California’s Class Size Reduction (CSR) program brings us up through the 2000–01 school year. We update our previous findings on the implementation of the CSR program in Grades K–3 and on how the program has affected the qualifications of teachers, curriculum and instruction, student achievement, and special populations. In most cases, this report adds two years of data to the findings contained in our second CSR evaluation report. It also provides updated information on how districts and schools have allocated resources in support of CSR, a topic...
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...
Executive Summary
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PACE is pleased to have been a part of this massive effort to develop the 2000–2004 California State Plan for Vocational and Technical Education. In crafting the plan, PACE attempted to go beyond the mere requirements of the federal legislation and present a document which speaks directly to the complex California education scene and which links vocational and technical education to other aspects of California education in elementary and middle schools, high schools, ROC/Ps, and community colleges. The view that education is a continuum—that all education services from preschool to graduate...