Early Implementation of California's Local Control Funding Formula
Publication authors
Published
Summary
California has taken the first steps down an historic path that fundamentally alters how its public schools are financed, education decisions are made, and traditionally underserved students’ needs are met. The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), passed with bipartisan legislative support and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on July 1, 2013, represents the most comprehensive transformation of California’s school funding system in 40 years. The LCFF significantly loosens the reins of state control over education. It all but eliminates categorical funding streams, substituting a base of...
What California's Beginning Teachers Experience
Publication authors
Published
Summary
In California as elsewhere, state policy anticipates that aspiring teachers will follow a uniform, multistep path into the profession. It assumes they will complete a preparation program and earn a preliminary credential, take a teaching job and be assigned probationary status, complete a two-year induction program (the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment System, or BTSA), earn a Clear Credential, and receive tenure following two years of satisfactory evaluations. Developed primarily during the 1990s and early 2000s, California’s policies for beginning teachers were designed to enhance...
A Report from the Field
Published
Summary
California’s State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in August of 2010. The CCSS have been adopted by 45 states across the country. They aim to articulate consistent, clear standards for what students are expected to learn and be able to do in mathematics and English Language Arts from kindergarten through Grade 12, and to focus educators’ attention on “fewer, higher, and deeper standards.” According to State Board of Education President Michael Kirst, “This changes almost everything.” The CCSS implicate every aspect of teaching, learning and assessment. In...
Using Existing Tools to Increase College-Readiness Now
Publication author
Published
Summary
The adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced assessments in mathematics are intended to provide all students in California with the knowledge and skills required to transition from high school to college-level coursework. This implementation will take time. Concurrent with these efforts, policymakers and educators can begin to increase college-readiness now, especially for community college-bound students, by using two existing tools – the California High School Exit Exam in mathematics and the Academic Performance Index to identify 10th-graders who...
Rethinking Budget Priorities Under the LCFF
Published
Summary
After years of painful budget cuts, new revenues will begin to flow to California school districts in 2014. Thanks to the voters’ approval of Proposition 30 and the adoption of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), nearly all districts can expect budget increases over the next several years. Districts that educate the most challenging students will see the largest gains. When the LCFF is fully implemented many schools and districts will receive 50 to 75 percent more revenue per pupil than they do now. The implementation of LCFF invites education leaders to look forward to 2020 rather than...
How Early Implementers are Approaching the Common Core in California
Publication authors
Published
Summary
California has embarked on a major new wave of curriculum reform with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the new English Language Development (ELD) standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The adoption of the CCSS builds a legacy of standards-based education reform in California that began with the development of curriculum frameworks in the 1980s and continued with the adoption of the California State Standards and the approval of the Public School Accountability Act. The environment for implementation of the CCSS has improved dramatically since the...
A Strategy Guidebook for Leaders
Publication authors
Published
Summary
The Common Core provides districts an opportunity to renew their focus on teaching and learning. But it also poses a number of design and implementation challenges for school districts, including how to: Build the capacity of teachers to equitably implement student-centered instructional strategies. Address gaps in curriculum in ways that foster creativity, address the local culture, scaffold achievement for diverse learners and increase motivation for teachers. Design formative and interim assessments that promote a new vision for 21st Century teaching and learning and target support for...
Results from the Third PACE/USC Rossier Poll
Published
Summary
California is in the midst of sweeping education changes. The state is rolling out the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and a new system of assessments. Voters approved a temporary statewide tax increase that will provide additional funding to schools after years of spending cuts. The Legislature adopted a new system for funding schools (the Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF) that shifts resources to school districts that enroll lots of poor students and English learners, while granting local districts tremendous control over their budgets and spending. After years of budget cuts and...
Publication author
Published
Summary
This article focuses on California's efforts to improve the alignment between K–12 and postsecondary schooling through the Early Assessment Program (EAP). Implemented in 2004, EAP was designed to give high school students information about their academic preparedness for postsecondary education and to encourage teachers to teach for college readiness. The article describes the EAP and its evolution and presence at California's community colleges. It then matches EAP and other test score data for California high school juniors to administrative data from California community colleges to...
Key Design Elements for Meaningful Teacher Observation
Publication author
Published
Summary
Teacher evaluation has emerged as a potentially powerful policy lever in state and federal debates about how to improve public education. The role of student test scores and “value-added” measures in teacher evaluation has generated intense public controversy, but other approaches to evaluation including especially classroom observations of teaching are certain to remain as essential features of any evaluation system. In this policy brief Jennifer Goldstein lays out four key design principles that should guide the observation-based assessment of teaching: Use standards-based instruments for...
A Multidistrict Analysis of Statewide Mandated Democratic Engagement
Publication authors
Published
Summary
This article seeks to deepen our understanding of the nature and quality of democratic participation in educational reform by examining the first-year implementation of California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which mandates civic engagement in district decision-making. Drawing on democratic theory, empirical literature, and data from 10 districts, it finds that even when district leaders committed to involving stakeholders in decision-making, achieving this vision was often constrained by power imbalances, deeply engrained institutional habits, and limited capacity. The article also...
Published
Summary
California has a unique opportunity to improve public education by strengthening instruction, providing targeted support for English learners and struggling learners, preparing students for the demands of the technology reliant 21st century, and expanding pathways for students to college and career. This opportunity is made possible by the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) which are designed to increase expectations to the level of other highperforming countries, go deeper into subjects, are based on research, and provide for a more active curriculum. The goals of the use of...
Publication authors
Published
Summary
In this policy brief Heather Hough and Susanna Loeb examine the effect of the Quality Teacher and Education Act of 2008 (QTEA) on teacher recruitment, retention, and overall teacher quality in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). They provide evidence that a salary increase can improve a school district’s attractiveness within their local teacher labor market and increase both the size and quality of the teacher applicant pool. They also provide evidence that targeted salary increases can increase the quality of new-hires. QTEA salary increases did not affect teacher retention...
The Magnitude of Student Sorting Within Schools
Publication authors
Published
Summary
Large urban school districts serve increasingly diverse student bodies. Although many studies have described racial segregation among schools, and the causes and consequences of such segregation, far fewer have examined the extent to which students are sorted across classrooms within schools by race and ethnicity, or by family income or achievement. Attendance at the same school does not ensure that students from different backgrounds will share classrooms or have equivalent educational experiences. In this study, we examine patterns of sorting across classrooms within schools in three large...
The Resurgence of Local Actors in Education Policy
Published
Summary
This article explores trends in intergovernmental relations (\GR) by analyzing recent education policies: No Child Left Behind Act, Common Core State Standards, and local empowerment policies. Identifying a resurgent role for local actors in education policy, the authors argue that recent federal efforts to exert more control have in many ways strengthened the influence of local actors by providing avenues for school districts and other local "non-system" players to challenge traditional governance arrangements. In a similar vein, because the federal government's ability to achieve its goals...
Publication author
Published
Summary

Internet-related technology has the capacity to change the learning production system in three important ways. First, it creates the capacity to move from the existing batch processing system of teaching and learning to a much more individualized learning system capable of matching instructional style and pace to a student’s needs. Second, technology can help make the learning system smart. Adaptive software responds to student activity, providing options, assistance, and challenges. It can also provide feedback to teachers, allowing them to intervene and adjust. Third, Internet-based...

Teacher Characteristics and Class Assignments
Published
Summary
Although prior research has documented differences in the distribution of teacher characteristics across schools serving different student populations, few studies have examined the extent to which teacher sorting occurs within schools. This study uses data from one large urban school district and compares the class assignments of teachers who teach in the same grade and in the same school in a given year. The article finds that less experienced, minority, and female teachers are assigned classes with lower achieving students than their more experienced, white, and male colleagues. Teachers...
This Changes Almost Everything
Publication author
Published
Summary

The full policy implications of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics and English Language Arts K-12 are just beginning to unfold across the 45 states (and DC) that are working to implement them. The CCSS will impact almost all key state education policies in fundamental ways. As we learned from the 1990-2005 era of systemic state standards-based reform, when academic standards change, so do policies related to student assessment and school accountability. Moreover, many other specific policies must be aligned and harmonized, including state curriculum frameworks...

How High Schools Can Be Held Accountable for Developing Students' Career Readiness
Publication authors
Published
Summary
College and career readiness is the stated goal of the common core standards that have now been adopted by almost all the states. The Obama administration’s proposed budget for 2013 included a new name for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act: “college and career ready schools.” There is widespread agreement on the goal of preparing every high school graduate both for postsecondary education and for a lifetime of fulfilling work. The days of distinguishing “college-bound” from “non-college-bound” students are over; instead, high schools aim to give all students a range of...
Can It Support California’s College and Career-ready Goal?
Publication author
Published
Summary
For decades, when California’s state leaders have wanted to see local school districts respond to shifts in policy and expectations they relied on the state-controlled school finance system to leverage local change. Through the use of categorical programs and earmarked funding, they created incentives for districts that complied and penalties for those that did not. The result: a school finance system that has been roundly criticized as irrational, inequitable, excessively complicated, overly centralized, and inefficient at allocating resources. In 2012, Governor Jerry Brown proposed to...
Publication authors
Published
Summary
The Academic Performance Index (API) is the centerpiece of California’s state assessment and accountability system. With the recent passage of SB1458 and the pending reauthorization of both state and federal accountability legislation, there is now an unprecedented opportunity to improve the API for next generation accountability in California. In this policy brief Morgan S. Polikoff and Andrew McEachin draw on their own previous work and more than a decade’s worth of research on effective accountability policy design to describe the lessons that have been learned and to propose policy changes...
Results from the PACE/USC Rossier August 2012 Poll
Published
Summary
California has long been viewed by the rest of the nation as leader in many areas, including education. The state’s K-12 and higher education systems were once the envy of other states. Of late, though, the news from the Golden State has not been so rosy. For the last three decades California has faced increased demands on public services while suffering through economic cycles that have had exaggerated effects on the state budget. The result has been increased competition for limited resources, budget uncertainty and steadily eroding state dollars for a local schools.
Strong Returns from a $19.5 Billion Investment
Published
Summary
Aiming to relieve overcrowded schools operating on multiple tracks, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has invested more than $19 billion to build 130 new facilities over the past decade. In a new PACE policy brief, William Welsh, Erin Coghlan, Bruce Fuller, and Luke Dauter from the University of California – Berkeley analyze the effects on student achievement of this massive initiative. Tracking thousands of students who moved from overcrowded to new facilities over the 2002-2008 period, the authors discovered robust achievement gains for many students. Elementary-school pupils...
Publication authors
Published
Summary
California cannot afford to ignore or postpone questions of how to support the academic success of English Learners (ELs) in the state’s K-12 education system. Language-minority students already represent more than 40 percent of the state’s K-12 public education students, and their share of enrollment is growing. How well California serves these students will help determine the vitality of the state’s economy and society in the years ahead.
Published
Summary
In the context of today's standards-based education reforms, where the goal is for students to achieve to high-performance standards, effective professional development is critical. In order for students to learn more, teachers must change what and how they teach. Though typical professional development has had little impact on teacher practice or student performance, effective professional de­velopment is considered by most a critical strategy for accomplish­ing today's ambitious student achievement goals. Research is beginning to link the key features of professional development programs...