Calls for “continuous improvement” in California’s K-12 education system are central to current discussions about school improvement in the state. PACE research in this area is focused on defining continuous improvement and building knowledge about what it looks like in practice and how policy can support implementation at scale.
Preparation for college and career is critical for both individual and societal economic prosperity. In this topic area, PACE researchers investigate students’ educational trajectories and the state and local endeavors to decrease disparities in access to educational opportunities and improve student success.
Considerable research shows that children attending high-quality preschool programs receive significant benefits. PACE’s work related to early childhood education is designed to help policymakers understand the challenges in current state policies and develop paths forward toward a high-quality, aligned early childhood system that benefits all California children.
Measuring student and school performance is critical for understanding and improving outcomes and achieving higher levels of equity in our systems. However, it is equally important to bring evidence to bear in solving problems of practice when they are revealed by data. To this end, PACE research in this topic area is focused on developing evidence to support understanding, measuring and improving student outcomes.
The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) introduced an approach to school finance that promotes greater equity in the distribution of resources while also providing districts autonomy over their budgeting. However, per-pupil spending in California remains consistently below the national average. PACE research in this area is focused on building and advancing the evidence base on how to achieve equitable and adequate funding that leads to improved outcomes.
A “whole child” approach is designed to ensure that all students in California, particularly those who are historically underserved, have the opportunities and supports they need to thrive academically, socially and emotionally, and in college, career, and life. PACE’s work in this topic area is aimed to better understand social-emotional learning measurement and to provide guidance for how schools can better serve students needs in this area.
Educator quality is the most influential school-based factor that contributes to student outcomes. However, efforts to find qualified teachers has become more challenging in California, as the number of emergency teaching credentials has more than doubled since 2012-13. PACE's work in this area is designed to highlight the problems and help the state work toward evidence-based solutions to building a stronger teacher workforce.
California has brought greater discretion over local decision making in public education. These changes were intended to support both equity and system improvement in California’s schools. PACE research in this area is designed to support the continued development of these systems, and strengthen educational governance at all levels.