Our most recent seminars have been recorded and are available for streaming or download. Older seminars are also listed, although audio is not available prior to November 2008. Upcoming seminars can be found on the Seminars page.

School districts throughout the country are facing mounting accountability pressures to improve student achievement and turn around failing schools. In response to these pressures more than 20 major cities have adopted the portfolio management model of school governance. In this seminar, Katharine Strunk and Julie Marsh will explore how portfolio management is working in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)’s Public School Choice Initiative (PSCI).

The sequence of math courses that students take in their middle school years, and the degree to which they master critical math knowledge and skills in those courses, are strong predictors of how well students will do in high school and of how likely they are to complete California’s A-G requirements.

San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) provides English Learner (EL) students with a variety of instructional program options, including English Immersion programs, Bilingual Programs, and Dual (Two-way) Immersion Programs. Moreover, the district has a very diverse EL student population, with 40 percent of Latina/o, 40 percent Chinese, and 20 percent from a wide range of other language/ethnic backgrounds.

The Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA), one of California’s most ambitious intervention programs for low-performing schools, is now in its sixth year of full implementation in nearly 400 schools across the state. From its inception in 2007-08, the California Teachers Association (CTA) has funded an independent, multi-year study of QEIA schools and has released the first two installments of a five-part publication series detailing the implementation and impacts.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) targeted substantial School Improvement Grants (SIGs) to the nation’s “persistently lowest achieving” public schools. Eligible schools could receive grants of up to $2 million annually for three years. Schools that accepted grants were required to implement one of four federally prescribed school-reform models: Turnaround, Restart, School Closure, and Transformation. In this seminar Tom Dee presents findings from his study of the effects of SIG-funded whole-school reforms in California.


U.S. states vary widely in their students’ performance on national and international tests. Part of these differences can be explained by compositional differences among states in students’ social class and racial/ethnic backgrounds, but part may also be due to differences in the quality of state school systems. At the same time, it appears that the performance of low, middle and high social class students in mathematics and reading has improved in all states over the past two decades.

The policy system designed for beginning teachers that California has in place assumes that most new teachers complete a preparation program and earn a preliminary credential, take a job and assume probationary status, complete a two-year induction program and earn a Clear Credential, and are tenured after two years of satisfactory evaluations. In fact, however, California’s teacher policies do not match the actual career trajectory that most new teachers follow.

Many low-income children in California continue to lack access to high-quality, well-resourced schooling opportunities. This lack of equal opportunity ties youth in poverty to low-wage jobs or creates situations where they are “disconnected” from both school and work. In this seminar Daniel Solorzano and Amanda Datnow will present findings from a five-year, mixed-methods design study focusing on young adults in poverty, many of whom are enrolled in community colleges.


A panel discussion on the state and future of higher education in California with a focus on the issues of cost and quality.

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 options for postsecondary education and technical training that will lead to rewarding careers.

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