• CA Education Policy News Update   john mockler   | 3 years 7 weeks ago

    It is the May Revision. Not a "revise" That is because it is a noun not a verb. And you hold yourselves out as "researchers" best john

  • Access for English Learners: Revising Identification and Reclassification Policies - Part 3   Jennifer Weisbart-Moreno   | 3 years 9 weeks ago

    English Learners should have access to the full curriculum but they should not be just thrown into a curriculum in which they are completely lost. I am a math teacher researching on how to prepare students with special needs (including EL students) for success in higher ed. For five years I taught at an alternative high school for recent immigrants who were at level 1 or 2 English, School of Language Development in Fontana USD. Students took math, social studies, English, ELD, health, technology, and Spanish (except non-Spanish speakers). Most of our students were Mexican or Central American. Many students lacked one or more years of education.
    No full study was done, and I know there was a lot of areas it could have used improvements, but during the first three years of the schools development I believe it was on track towards success. During those first three years, the goal was to prepare each student to successfully go the regular high school in one year. Each class was taught in English using regular curriculum materials, but teachers were allowed to adapt it to make it most beneficial for our students. During the second and third year it was pointed out that more EL students at our school were passing CAHSEE than higher level EL students at the regular high schools in our district. I've also heard of some our students there later going on to college.
    During the fourth year of the school's development the district and school's administrators changed attitude and teachers were told they were required to follow the regular curriculum map like classes at the regular high schools. The schools production decreased from then on and then closed down after its 6th year of existence.
    Yes, EL students should have access to the full curriculum, but I caution about forcing EL students into the regular curriculum without adapting the curriculum based on the students needs. All of our students in the US are different in so many ways. In the last decade, US education policies have created the picture and the rules that all students must learn the same content, same amount of content, at the same speed, by the same teaching settings. Yes, we should have common standards, but we should adopt the curriculum and settings to meet the students' different needs so they can reach those common standards rather than force them into a general curriculum that makes no sense to them in which they will be lost and not succeed.

  • Shared Instructional Services   Ray Reinhard   | 3 years 12 weeks ago

    Regional Occupational Centers and Programs, it seems to me, are a good example of shared instructional resources. When the cost of instruction (including capital) is very high and/or there are too few students to justify a program at a single school site, ROC/Ps are a cost-effective alternative. The differences between ROC/Ps and what you describe are that (1) ROC/P ADA is funded directly by the state whereas your proposal would presumably be funded by the participating district(s), (2) ROC/Ps may be located at a site other than a school, and (3) ROC/Ps have their own teachers. I don't think that any of these are insurmountable obstacles. I know of no reason why a low-demand program must be located somewhere other than a school site. I may be missing something, but I think the biggest obstacle may be getting the participating districts to agree on the amounts that each should pay.

  • The New Culture of Learning: Dewey Redux   Charles Taylor Kerchner
    Claremont Graduate University
      | 3 years 13 weeks ago

    Thanks, Richard, for your kind comment. Best wishes.

  • The New Culture of Learning: Dewey Redux   Richard Moore   | 3 years 13 weeks ago

    Professor Kerchner thinking demonstrates wisdom and the advantages of having seen educational failures and successes. Listen to him. He is that rare professor who knows what works and what fails. BRAVO Professor.

  • Notes from the Big Easy…   Brad Olsen   | 3 years 14 weeks ago

    Way to go, Ms. Beckett! I like your thinking...

  • Notes from the Big Easy…   Ms. Beckett   | 3 years 14 weeks ago

    "So what?" How the theoretical discussions are going to change the current state of education?
    This question from the audience member in the last session you attended is helpful to keep academics aware of the applied nature of their work. Although, at the same time, I think it can do a disservice to educational researchers and/or engaged scholars. If we don't utilize our resources (e.g. theory) as scholars to seriously grapple with the social conditions of our study, how would it be possible to mount an intelligible response to the dilemmas we face without falling into a trap of being reactionary? I see this critique as misdirected to antagonizing theory. Instead we should be asking, how can we translate these theoretical discussions into meaningful practice? Why is that not happening? And how can we productively engage scholarship to be in conversation with real life?

  • The New Latin   David Plank   | 3 years 15 weeks ago

    A couple of thoughts in response to some terrific comments. To begin with, I fully endorse the idea that all students (including students in Economics at CSU) need some working acquaintance with basic mathematics, including not only the knowledge and skills ordinarily taught in Algebra I but also familiarity with statistics and probability. Many students (apparently including students in Economics at CSU) don't acquire this now, which is likely to be a major handicap in their lives as workers and citizens. This leads to two additional questions. First, what can we do to better ensure that ALL students master these knowledge and skills? Scott's observations on middle school math can provide some useful guidance as we move toward an answer to this question. Second, where do we draw the boundary between the mathematics that all students need to master and the more specialized topics that are necessary for success in STEM fields, economics, and finance? In California college readiness requires satisfactory performance in Algebra II, and admission to elite colleges including UC effectively requires completion of a course in calculus. As the policy conversation increasingly moves toward the adoption of "college for all" as a consensus goal I think it's worth asking whether we really believe that factoring polynomials or solving differential equations are foundational skills, essential for all students, or whether the effort that now goes into moving students through more and more mathematics might better be devoted to ensuring that they master some basic knowledge and skills.
    One additional point: Jennifer Weisbart-Moreno is absolutely correct that good mathematics instruction is important not only because it teaches students mathematical knowledge and skills, but because it introduces them to critical and logical thinking and problem-solving skills. Interestingly, at least the first half of this argument was also made in defense of keeping Latin in the curriculum--mastery of Latin was assumed to be essential to abstract thinking and the pursuit of higher knowledge.

  • Shared Instructional Services   Peggy Ericson   | 3 years 15 weeks ago

    CTA is the elephant in the room. Time will force the issue of shared instructional resources with online education as parents are a key partner in their child's choice and success. The results of the survey showing that no single district was found to share instructional resources does not reflect what takes place in rural regions in California where fiscal resources are significantly lower and where declining enrollment promotes collaboration amongst districts superintendents.

  • The New Latin   Jennifer Weisbart-Moreno   | 3 years 15 weeks ago

    When taught and assessed appropriately, mathematical abilities does not only represent pure mathematics, but also critical and logical thinking and problem solving skills. These skills are important no matter what one's college major or occupation is.

  • The New Latin   Scott Hill   | 3 years 15 weeks ago

    David's important reflections are manifest in California's current policy debate on middle grades mathematics. Various inputs--8th grade Algebra being primary amongst them--suggest our collective hyper sensitivity to whether state education policy encourages a college-ready agenda for all students.

    But we also know that this is a far more complicated matter. Teacher capacity and preparation for teaching mathematics is a crucial under-investment by the state. A state data system that provides far better and deeper longitudinal data about students and their year-over-year performance could yield finer-grained decisions about each student's readiness for the next year's mathematics content. Better alignment between K-12 academic standards and expectations from institutions of higher education and industry--including technical and professional schools--could satisfy David's concerns about the REAL needs students have for mathematics in their academic and professional careers.

    There are signs that California is ready for a new discussion, and that's encouraging. I would suggest three areas of progress. First, the recent EdSource report on California's students and success (or lack of) in 8th grade mathematics provides a far more refined examination of the state's education policy for middle grades math. Second, the state's adoption of the Common Core standards should result in a more refined approach to mathematics content and instruction. Finally, it appears that California, along with many states, is finally ready for a mature conversation about how the unfolding revolution on digital learning--whether it be online, accessing core content, supplemental materials, or open source--can help the state satisfy its obligation to support all students. Nice work, David.

  • The New Latin   Jennifer Imazeki   | 3 years 16 weeks ago

    "hardly central to the lives or job performance of most Americans" - hmmm, I may have to disagree with you here, David. Of course, I also spent two hours today working with college students who have a seriously questionable grip on basic algebra so maybe I should wait a couple days before commenting :-). But while I understand why many people think math is not 'central' to their lives, I actually think basic numeracy is much more important than is commonly recognized. Certainly not all students need to know calculus but on any given day, newspapers are reporting stories about scientific studies, or polling results, or changes in the unemployment rate and part of being an informed citizen is being able to understand what these stories are really saying. And of course, comfort, if not proficiency, with math and numbers is a prerequisite for success in many of the technology-related fields that are growing fastest.

    What I WILL take issue with is the way math is taught. It seems that it is a rare math teacher who can get students to see the USEFULNESS of math, who can actually show students WHY they need math. I won't blame it on standardized tests since I think math has probably been taught in the same way for decades. But part of the problem I see with my college students is that even when they can do the algebra, they are really not used to "X" actually meaning something they might care about. So I would argue that it isn't so much that our need to be less concerned with student performance in math in general but perhaps we need to be less concerned with whether students can do *meaningless* math problems and more concerned with whether students have solid numeracy skills.

  • Shared Instructional Services   David Plank   | 3 years 16 weeks ago

    I think you're absolutely right, Rekha. The costs of moving toward shared instructional services may well exceed the immediate benefits, and the incentives facing local leaders (including the obstacles posed by labor contracts, state regulations, and parental expectations that I noted in my original post) generally argue against dramatic changes in traditional classroom arrangements. Conceding both points, though, I am still struck by a couple of things.

    First, the move to shared instructional services is already happening, and the pace of change is accelerating. Colleges and universities are moving aggressively to develop and market on-line courses for students around the world. The rapid expansion of home-schooling and "virtual charters" has been supported by a variety of shared instructional services ranging from curriculum frameworks to on-line lectures. The emergence of "blended" instructional models in California and elsewhere depends on the opportunity to share instructional services, both within and across sites. Many school districts are already consumers of on-line services produced by others (including AP classes, for example) and their apparent reluctance to take a more active role is troubling.

    Second, zero is a remarkable number. As we watch the number of instructional days fall and the number of students per classroom rise, it's worrisome that sharing instructional services across districts is not even under consideration. If this is a policy failure (and not just a failure of imagination) it would be useful to think through how the state might act to change the costs and incentives facing districts that now impede change.

  • Learning 2.0: Time to Move Education Politics from Regulation to Capacity Building (Part II)   Charles Taylor Kerchner
    Claremont Graduate University
      | 3 years 16 weeks ago

    Thanks, Jennifer, for your thoughtful comments. Teachers all over the country tell similar stories, and I think that these are beginning to be understood in the halls of power...but don't hold your breath.

    The batch process mode of teaching has persisted largely because it is practical for bureaucracies to organize this way. Having everyone cover the same material at the same time looks neat and having them tested at the same time seems vaguely fair. Individualization is hard, and many teachers lack the skills to pull it off. But technology may be a help in allowing greater individualization, and decoupling testing and instruction could allow teachers to center their work on working directly with students. If you (and others) haven't seen it, I recommend looking at Sal Kahn's little speech at TED. It's posted on my web site: www.mindworkers.com. He tells how allowing students to move at their own pace allows many of them who were thought "behind" to zoom ahead once they gained mastery.

  • Learning 2.0: Time to Move Education Politics from Regulation to Capacity Building (Part II)   Jennifer Weisbart-Moreno   | 3 years 16 weeks ago

    I highly support the ideas in this article, especially 1 through 4. For #5, I strongly agree that the way standards are currently used, they are 'dangerously narrowing learning', however, the redefinition was a bit unclear. This autumn during a PLC meeting, I requested for a few extra days to teach a topic, but the principal of our school said that we were too far behind the curriculum guide and all teachers in our group must test at the same time and then reteach. All teachers in our PLC group ended with low scores. I believe the ideas in the article would bring us to so much more successul learning.

    Based on my studies and experiences teaching a broad range of students, K-14, socioeconomically and general ed/special ed/ELL, I have emphasized for years that each student shoud have an individual education plan. The current policies pressure that all students learn the same things at the same pace at the same age. But different students have different learning styles, learn at different paces, have different interests, and so many other differences. Rather than pressuring for education to be the same for all students, schools as a whole and teachers especially, should focus on designing education for each individual student so as to support students to master common standards and reach individual goals. Of course the student and parents should be involved in planning their individual education plan. I believe if education was designed for each individual student, students would be much more motivated. I also think we should eliminate the K-12 grade system and measure students' level of progress by mastery of common standards.

    And yes, students should be able to learn and be tested in different time blocks to meet their different learning paces. Based on current standard policies, all students are introduced to concepts with little practice and than tested. There is very little time for deep learning in which the students get a true understanding of the concept. Currently, in many classrooms, students are being tested when it is fairly clear that the majority of the students have not mastered the skills. Instead, teachers should be given more time so students can learn concepts and skills better, such as through project-based learning as mentioned in idea #1; and students should not be formally tested until that there are signs through informal assessments that the student(s) have learning the concept(s), or even better when the student thinks they are ready to be tested, whch goes with idea #3 above. Students who do not meet the standards when tested, rather than pushed to the next level/concept, should be given another opportunity to learn it in a different style. However, if there was more time to learn in the first case and students were not tested until signs of mastery was evident, there would be musch less reteaching required.

  • Shared Instructional Services   Rekha Balu
    Stanford University
      | 3 years 17 weeks ago

    Two intertwined questions underlie the strategies we observe districts adopting: What cuts deliver the biggest savings for districts and what incentives do the districts face to pursue different savings strategies? Despite the efficiency, savings and learning benefits from shared instructional services that David outlined, districts may not necessarily see short-term rewards. Shared instruction may not deliver enough savings to warrant the coordination effort and time associated with it. Although shared instructional services are more common for special ed or vocational ed districts, K-12 labor contracts may not allow for consolidation of positions or classes so readily. In addition, joint powers agreements often relate more to transportation than to instruction. And the flexibility around use of categorical funds or contracting doesn't necessarily support shared instruction.
    If the state were able to incentivize the use of shared instructional services, or more union contracts included clauses to allow for shared instructional services or collaboration for online learning, it would be interesting to see what strategies districts pursue. In addition, if districts simply had more time to react to state budget cuts and explore creative use of resources, reorganization of services through approaches like shared instruction might be easier to implement.

  • Reflecting on Contemporary Trends of Diversity in Education   Paul Muench   | 3 years 18 weeks ago

    I'd appreciate a concrete example of what you mean.

  • Sharpening the Reform Vision   Scott Hill   | 3 years 19 weeks ago

    So I enjoyed reading Alan’s post, and it’s made me think a bit about our collective understanding approach to supporting both school sites and districts. For context, I work with School Innovations & Advocacy; we work with over 600 school districts in California (our clients) and more directly with over 4,000 school sites.

    Alan’s post asks us to consider our collective understanding of school improvement. I am not familiar with the San Diego reform model and certainly do not challenge Alan’s understanding of it. In fact, in reading his post, I was concerned to read about the different instructional strategies encouraged site by site.

    Still, I do want to offer some insights we’ve gained by our work with districts and sites as well as the work I’ve done in and out of state government in fashioning the current approach to program improvement districts.

    Our work with school sites and districts reveals that very focused and limited agendas based at the school site can lead to improvement. It is our experience that when we are working with sites on improvement (our work focuses on improving student instructional time and attendance), we locate our work with the practitioners who must execute the improvement plans: teachers and principals. We find that establishing a site-based culture; improving communications; developing measurement tools and analysis; and focusing improvement on very specific and narrow strategies are key to success.

    While there are some terrific stories emerging from the state’s experience with District Assistance and Intervention Teams, the overwhelming stories have not revealed success. The notion that improvement strategies fixed at the district office can be transformative is still not apparent.

    I recognize that school districts remain important in establishing a broader culture, distributing and sharing resources, and as a local accountability structure. With that said, it is our experience that focusing on sites is the most direct route to improvement.

  • Sharpening the Reform Vision   Merrill Vargo   | 3 years 19 weeks ago

    Alan Daly’s post raises – again – the question of the role of school districts in improving teaching and learning. Do school districts matter? At Pivot Learning Partners, we first asked this question a decade ago, and the answer came back a resounding yes. Here’s what we did: we looked at test score data for schools across the state, controlling for issues like poverty and language status and all the other important variables we could think of. Here’s what we found then, and what we keep finding every time we repeat the analysis: those schools that are “beating the odds” – producing higher-than-expected gains in student learning – are not randomly distributed across the state. There are some exceptions, but these kinds of schools are found, over and over again, to be clustered in particular school districts: places like Long Beach and Garden Grove, but also lesser-known districts like Rowland Unified in Southern California or Elk Grove in Sacramento or Oak Grove in San Jose. Clusters like these argue persuasively for a “district effect” on student achievement.
    Why , then, does the question keep coming up about whether districts matter? I think there are two reasons. One is that the story of the crusading, independent, heroic principal who succeeds in spite of the interference of inept bureaucrats from downtown appeals to something in the American psyche. We love David and Goliath stories, and this is one version. And it is not wrong: such principals do exist. But they are the exception, not the rule. The more important reason why the question “do districts matter” persists is that school districts, and especially large urban districts, have been forced by a welter of state and federal regulations into playing the inept bureaucrat role. People keep asking “do districts matter?” because, while districts CAN make a positive difference, many do not.
    Some would argue that the solution to this situation is to dismantle both the compliance rules and the district as well. We at Pivot Learning Partners would argue that this cure has the potential to be as bad as the disease. California badly needs an equitable system of schools in the state – a system that can guarantee a good school in every neighborhood, a good teacher in every classroom. Whose job is it to create this system? State policymakers can lay the foundation for it: a solid set of standards and assessments, an adequate flow of resources that follow the children that need them, a system for training teachers….. these are the conditions that state policymakers can and should create. But whose job is it to translate that into the guarantee of a good school in every community? This is not a task that can be assigned to principals – they are responsible for their school. Granted, school districts have not always either embraced this equity role or carried it out effectively. But this is emphatically a local responsibility and it must reside with the district. There is no one else to do it.
    So the bottom line is that districts not only can matter – if we are to create the school system that California needs, they must. Kudos to San Diego for taking this on.

  • Missing the Point   Miles Myers   | 3 years 20 weeks ago

    I was very saddened by the poor quality of your report on the LA Times release of teacher names based on test scores. I have read the Colorado report and it reported its research exactly as you reported it. What you seemed to have missed is the main point----do we have data that justifies this kind of report in the LA Times. The issue was validity rather than statistical reliability. You tossed off a question at the end, but you lost the main point by telling us too much about your knowledge of statistics. I have trusted PACE for a long time, and your report put a huge dent in that trust. Bob Linn would have been sad to read that report, and you owe an apology to the folks in Colorado. Miles Myers

  • Learning 2.0: Time to Move Education Politics from Regulation to Capacity Building (Part I)   David Plank   | 3 years 20 weeks ago

    This appears right on time, Chuck, as the State Board of Education and others are considering decisions about implementing common core standards that will play out over the next decade or so. We may hope that they'll make decisions that move us in the direction you're sketching out here, at least keeping the doors open to Learning 2.0 rather than slamming them shut. The choices that will tell the tale are being made right now.

  • Be Careful of What You Wish For   Jerry Brown   | 3 years 20 weeks ago

    So what will really happen is the "best" teachers will teach to the test. In fact they will be
    insentivized to get copies of the test, do nothing but teach to the test, cheat, and hide from other teachers their "best practices" with other teachers who will be competing for incentive. Have we learned nothing about the free market in the last few years. Evidently not.

  • NCTQ along with U.S. News and World Report Seeks to Rate over 1400 Teacher Education Programs in the U.S.   Brad Olsen   | 3 years 22 weeks ago

    Elizabeth,

    That's a useful question you ask. I think that it's hard to make direct comparisons between how business evaluates performance and how teachers might be evaluated. This is because the inputs and outputs in most business contexts are more straightforward. Manufacturers calculate how much money and time it costs to produce x number of widgets. Salespeople are often evaluated on the financal amount of business they bring in during a financial quarter. Of course, it's not quite this simple, and businesses are always employing systems of supervisor review, peer- and self-evaluation, and other more open-ended models. But education is a different beast altogether. We can't agree on what a successfully educated student looks like or what the primary purposes of education are. Students enter schools each day with so many facets to their learning landscape, and multiple factors always mediate how classroom teaching and learning unfolds. Teachers, too, are multidimensional professionals whose work is affected by many variables, from their professional training and teaching styles, to the leadership of their schools, to the resources and ethos of their community, to the curriculum and assessment procedures their district adopts, and the student populations they serve. This complicates straightforward evaluations of teachers, teaching, or teacher preparation programs complicated!

  • NCTQ along with U.S. News and World Report Seeks to Rate over 1400 Teacher Education Programs in the U.S.   David Plank   | 3 years 22 weeks ago

    Elizabeth,

    PACE published a policy brief on value-added measures last October. You can find it here: http://pace.berkeley.edu/2010/10/18/value-added-measures-of-education-pe.... One of the reasons we've moved toward more complex ways of evaluating teachers is that the apparently straightforward ways don't give us very much information. Value-added measures have their problems, but using them together with other kinds of measures can give us a fuller picture of how teachers are doing.

  • NCTQ along with U.S. News and World Report Seeks to Rate over 1400 Teacher Education Programs in the U.S.   Elizabeth Colemenares   | 3 years 22 weeks ago

    I don't really understand all the challenges of value-added, but it seems to me that assessing teachers is just getting more and more complicated. How do other businesses do this? Why can't teachers/teacher education be evaluated in more straight-forward ways?

  • Be Careful of What You Wish For   Rugby   | 3 years 25 weeks ago

    So the other day my brother and I were wondering about this. I'm going to pass this post along, tweeting it now. Thank you for the excellent post and the happy coincidence.

  • Tierney and Garcia on the Early Assessment Program   Scott Hill   | 3 years 25 weeks ago

    In addition to David's thoughtful comments, I would add that a signficant challenge for the EAP itself is the nearly uniform passive integration of it into the K-12 system. For many reasons--again as David suggests, these reasons are pragmatic and politically astute--EAP was purposefully added on to the existing standards-based accountability system. If EAP had been used as the "destination" for K-12 students and K-12 educators, we might indeed be having a different conversation.

    The inherent tension that EAP brings to the fore in California educaiton policy is: how much reform is necessary for change?" As the California Diploma Project dealt with this issue, we looked across a landscape of failed comprehensive reform efforts. No matter how grand, eloquent, and comprehensive, Getting Down to Facts, the GCEE Report, "Students First," and the Superintendent's P-16 Council Report all reached dust-collecting status because of their scope and vision. The strength of EAP--which the study correctly points out is also an underlying weakness of overall policy design in California's K-12 system--is that it is NOT a comprehensive redesign of standards, assessments, courses, graduation requirements, etc.

    The potential, therefore, for the new Common Core standards and assessments to do the job that EAP on its own has not been able to do, is enormous. Namely, California may see a system that is purposefully designed to produce and be defined by college and career readiness. That's the change we need.

  • Response to "STUDENT TEST SYSTEMS NEED CAREFUL ANALYSIS"     | 3 years 29 weeks ago
  • Response to "STUDENT TEST SYSTEMS NEED CAREFUL ANALYSIS"     | 3 years 30 weeks ago

    Patricia's post reminds me of a story that I was told by one of my Michigan State colleagues, which ended with a parent shouting at a teacher: "What are you trying to do, put ideas in her head?" Recognizing that better assessment policies require the support of teachers and parents makes it clear that new assessments must produce the kinds of information that they find both valid and useful. This is not happening with our present system, but there is no reason to think that it will happen automatically with a new set of assessments. David Plank

  • STUDENT TEST SYSTEMS NEED CAREFUL ANALYSIS     | 3 years 32 weeks ago

    Thanks, Rob. There are two issues in play in this debate. The first is strategic, and here we're in general agreement. CA needs to figure out the best way to press one or both of the consortia to address the critical assessment issues that we face, which include appropriate accommodations for ELS and a meaningful measure of readiness for students who do not plan to pursue four-year degrees as well as the Algebra I questions. One way to do this, as you suggest, is to dig in with one of the consortia and seek to influence their direction from the inside. The other, which Scott and I prefer, is to defer a choice and see which of the consortia moves to address CA's issues. Our reservations about the first approach are purely pragmatic: to exert influence from the inside CA would need to bring some real firepower into the conversation, and we're not convinced that our state is ready to do that. If we are, though, working from the inside is probably the stronger strategy. The second issue is substantive, and here we may disagree. The question is which of the consortia is better suited to address CA's issues, based on their initial proposals, and here we see PARCC's rejection of computer-adaptive assessments as a major blunder. We're doubtful that internal pressure will move them to reverse this choice, so from our point of view it makes sense for CA to wait and see whether SBAC is a viable alternative to PARCC.

  • STUDENT TEST SYSTEMS NEED CAREFUL ANALYSIS     | 3 years 32 weeks ago

    Thanks David and Scott for raising this issue and I look forward to reading more from this blog. Figuring out where the state is heading on assessments will be a critical issue for Gov. elect Brown. But, I disagree with your proposed wait and see approach. It is hard to believe that either or both of the testing consortia would develop their assessments to specifically meet the needs of California if they were unsure whether California would commit to use their assessment in the long run. It is already too late for the state to become one of the “governing states” for either group. But by its sheer size California could influence the process. This will be especially important around the approach to math and when and how to test algebra. Waiting on the sidelines and hoping that they head in the right direction seems like a bad strategy. Instead, Gov. Brown should choose one of the two groups and get engaged. Of course this will require that the Gov. take two additional steps. First, he must figure out what he wants out of these assessments. And second, he must find and hire the staff that can help him meet those objectives. Rob Manwaring

  • A researcher’s plea to CDE: don’t stop collecting data!     | 3 years 32 weeks ago

    It's hard to imagine that the development of CALPADS could actually make things worse!

  • Capitalizing on California-Nurtured Talent: Undocumented Students and The California Dream Act   David N Plank   | 3 years 40 weeks ago

    For me, at least, Will’s post raises the broader question of how we seek to persuade one another that the education of other people’s children should matter. 

    Policy scholars generally make use of two arguments to accomplish this goal, and Will deploys both in his post. The first is a social justice argument: through no fault of their own, the children of undocumented residents are being deprived of educational opportunities that are rightfully theirs. We’ve heard this argument, and its echoes, from before the time of Brown v. Board of Education and the first ESEA. It lives on in discussions of resource inequities and achievement gaps at all levels of the education system.

    The second is a human capital argument: the payoff to California from ensuring that these young people are permitted to enroll in post-secondary education will greatly exceed the cost. This argument has been common at least since the publication of A Nation at Risk. Among many others, researchers at PPIC have proclaimed, loudly and often, that California will face a large and economically damaging shortage of college graduates by 2025, and Rick Hanushek has argued that the long-term cost to the US economy of relatively poor educational performance amounts to trillions of dollars.

    These arguments have become familiar almost to the point of tedium, and neither one seems any longer to provide the level of rhetorical firepower required to conjure up broad public engagement on issues of educational policy. The question for me is whether either of these arguments has sufficient resonance outside the true church of educational reformers to instigate a serious public conversation about what it would take to greatly improve the performance of California’s schools, especially for those children (including the children of undocumented residents) with the most to gain from the state’s education system.