Publications

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.

Paving the way to equity and coherence? The Local Control Funding Formula in Year 3

Daniel C. Humphrey, Julia E. Koppich, Magaly Lavadenz, Julie A. Marsh, Jennifer O'Day, David N. Plank, Laura Stokes, Michelle Hall. Policy Analysis for California Education. April 2017

This report seeks to help policymakers and others better understand ways in which LCFF implementation is changing fundamental aspects of resource allocation and governance in California’s K-12 education system. The LCFF provides all districts with base funding plus supplemental and concentration grants for low-income students, English learners, and foster youth.

Using Surveys of Students' Social-Emotional Skills and School Climate for Accountability and Continuous Improvement

Heather Hough, Demetra Kalogrides, Susanna Loeb. Policy Analysis for California Education. March 2017

This report and accompanying policy brief show that there is good reason to pursue the measurement of social-emotional learning (SEL) and school culture/climate (CC) as a way to better understand student and school performance. Using data from California's CORE districts, we show that SEL and CC measures demonstrate reliability and validity, distinguish between schools, are related to other academic and non-academic measures, and also illuminate dimensions of student achievement that go beyond traditional indicators.

Continuous Improvement Series: Accountability for Alternative Schools in California

Jorge Ruiz de Velasco, Daisy Gonzales. Policy Analysis for California Education. February 2017

California’s alternative education options for youth vulnerable to dropping out of school have been established at different historical points and for different student age and target populations. For purposes of this brief, we define an “alternative school” as belonging to one of six legislatively authorized types of public (non-charter) schools that meet the definitions of the Alternative School Accountability Model (ASAM). These schools are operated by different local agencies – school districts, county school boards, or juvenile justice agencies and the courts –and governed by overlapping and sometimes legislatively superseded or otherwise inoperative portions of the state Education Code. Currently, the California Department of Education (CDE) is considering the development of a new accountability system for alternative schools that aligns with Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP) for all public schools.

An Effective Teacher for Every Student: Developing a Research Agenda to Further Policy Change

Katharine Strunk, Julie A. Marsh, Paul Bruno. Policy Analysis for California Education. January 2017

In nearly every state across the country there has been recent legislative or judicial activity aimed at amending policies that shape the quality of the teacher labor force (e.g., Marianno, 2015). At the heart of this recent legislative and judicial action is the desire to attract and retain a high-quality teacher for every classroom. That good teachers are critical to student success is not up for debate; over the last decade, research has shown that a high-quality teacher is the most important school-based input into students’ achievement and long-term outcomes.

Local Control in Action: Learning from the CORE Districts' Focus on Measurement, Capacity Building, and Shared Accountability

Julie A. Marsh, Susan Bush-Mecenas, Heather Hough. Policy Analysis for California Education. October 2016

California and the nation are at the crossroads of a major shift in school accountability policy. At the state level, California’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) encourages the use of multiple measures of school performance used locally to support continuous improvement and strategic resource allocation. Similarly, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reinforces this local control, requiring more comprehensive assessment of school performance and a less prescriptive, local approach to school support. These changes represent a major cultural shift for California schools and districts.

LCFF: How Can Local Control Keep the Promise of Educational Equity in CA?

. Policy Analysis for California Education and The Opportunity Institute. October 2016

Funding, resources, and effective teachers have been inequitably distributed across American schools for decades — contributing to vast opportunity and achievement gaps between high-need students and their more privileged peers.

Identity crisis: Multiple measures and the identification of schools under ESSA

Heather Hough, Emily Penner, Joe Witte. Policy Analysis for California Education. August 2016

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) makes sweeping changes to the way school performance is measured. Using the innovative measurement system developed by the CORE Districts in California, the authors explore how schools can be identified for support and improvement using a multiple measures framework.

Making Students Visible: Comparing Different Student Subgroup Sizes for Accountability

Heather Hough, Joe Witte. Policy Analysis for California Education. May 2016

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, California state policymakers are tasked with determining the subgroup threshold for school-level reporting. To inform this decision, this policy brief explores the implications of utilizing various subgroup sizes using data from the CORE Districts. The authors find that the 20+ subgroup size presents clear advantages in terms of the number of students represented, particularly in making historically underserved student populations visible.

Prek-3 Alignment in California's Education System: Obstacles and Opportunities

Rachel Valentino, Deborah J. Stipek. Policy Analysis for California Education. May 2016

Over the past several years, there has been much attention and advocacy around “PreK-3 Alignment,” both in California and nationwide. The push for alignment comes in the face of a growing body of research documenting the benefits of attending high quality preschool, along with concerns about the fading of the benefits of preschool by third grade that has been found in many studies. Supporters of preK-3 alignment note that child development is a continuous process, and that skills developed in one grade must be built upon and reinforced in later grades.

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