Publications

2020 Vision: Rethinking Budget Priorities Under the LCFF

PACE. Policy Analysis for California Education. April 2014

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.

Building Systems Knowledge for Continuous Improvement: Early lessons from the CORE districts

Michelle Nayfack, Vicki Park, Heather Hough, Larkin Willis. Policy Analysis for California Education. November 2017

In California, recent policy shifts have created a high degree of local control with the expectation that school districts will think differently about school and district improvement. However, many districts lack the individual expertise and organizational capacity to support these changes at scale. In large part, this is due to a lack of a shared understanding of the routines, structures, and supports needed for school systems to develop and implement change ideas that dramatically improve student outcomes.

Continuous Improvement in Practice

Heather Hough, Jason Willis, Kelsey Krausen, Sylvia Kwon, Laura Steen Mulfinger, Sandra Park. Policy Analysis for California Education. November 2017

Calls for “continuous improvement” in California’s K-12 education system are central to current discussions about school improvement in the state. Yet, definitions of continuous improvement vary, and knowledge of what continuous improvement looks like in practice is limited. To advance the conversation, this brief helps to define continuous improvement both in theory and in practice.

Promising Practices in School District Budgeting Under LCFF

Mark Murphy. Policy Analysis for California Education. October 2017

The implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula presents local education leaders with the power and flexibility to use resources in new and different ways. Taking full advantage of this opportunity requires leaders to adopt budgeting practices that highlight the tradeoffs among system goals and facilitate the reallocation of scarce resources to support their top priorities. In this brief Mark Murphy reviews the experiences of three California school districts with budget tools that increase their ability to meet their students’ needs.

The Antelope Valley: Over the hill and out of sight

Laura Steen Mulfinger, Allison Carter, Hannah Melnicoe. Policy Analysis for California Education. October 2017

The typical image of California is one of coastal cities and urban centers. But this picture leaves out much of the state and many of its residents. For large numbers of policymakers, foundations, and education leaders, these parts of our large and diverse state are “invisible.” Over the past two decades, however, these communities have emerged as some of the fastest growing and neediest parts of our state.

Challenges and Choices: A Multidistrict Analysis of Statewide Mandated Democratic Engagement

Julie A. Marsh, Michelle Hall. American Educational Research Journal. October 2017

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) mandating civic engagement in district decision-making. Drawing on democratic theory, empirical literature, and data from 10 districts, we find 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.

Expanding Learning: A Powerful Strategy for Equity

Katie Brackenridge, Jessica Gunderson, Mary Perry. Policy Analysis for California Education. October 2017

The disparity in educational outcomes between student populations is one of the most serious challenges facing our public education system. Gaps in test scores, graduation rates, and college readiness pose  a fundamental problem that school officials must solve.

Exploring Improvement Science in Education: Promoting College Access in Fresno Unified School District

Jorge Aguilar, Michelle Nayfack, Susan Bush-Mecenas. Policy Analysis for California Education. June 2017

California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) requires districts to report multiple measures of student performance that reflect success in the goal of preparing students for college, career, and citizenship. As they engage in the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) process, they are expected to use state and local indicator data from California’s School Dashboard to monitor student progress.

Surprising Strengths and Substantial Needs: Rural District Implementation of Common Core State Standards

Thomas Timar, Allison Carter. Policy Analysis for California Education. June 2017

In August 2010, the California State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Three years later, the president of the State Board, Dr. Michael Kirst, noted that CCSS “changes almost everything,” including what teachers teach, how they teach, and what students are expected to learn (Kirst, 2013). Echoing his sentiments, Dr.

Building Intersegmental Partnerships

Elizabeth Friedmann. Policy Analysis for California Education. June 2017

California’s education system is highly fragmented. K-12 schools, community colleges, and the two university systems (CSU and UC) operate under entirely separate governance structures, and rely on distinct sources of funding. As a result these different "segments" of the education system generally operate independently of one another, developing policies and practices to serve their own students with little or no effort to consult with other segments. In fact, however, addressing many of the educational issues that face our state successfully will require action by more than one segment.

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