Monthly Archives: February 2008

Meeting the Challenge: Performance Trends in California Schools

Jennifer Imazeki of San Diego State University analyzes recent performance trends in California’s education system in Meeting the Challenge: Performance Trends in California Schools, a new PACE Policy Brief. Imazeki shows that California students have generally held steady or improved their academic performance across grades and subject areas in recent years, in spite of growing financial and demographic challenges in the state’s schools. Per pupil spending in California is well below the national average, and the ratio of adults to children in the system is lower than in almost any other state. A majority of California’s students are poor, and nearly one quarter are English learners. Despite these challenges, scores on state and national assessments have been rising, not only on average but for poor and minority students as well. The number of students taking advanced courses in math and science has increased, and so has the number of students satisfying the “a-g” requirements for admission to the University of California or California State University. Performance levels in California’s schools continue to fall short of the state’s ambitious educational goals, and the need for systemic reforms remains urgent, but the performance gains that Imazeki documents testify to the commitment and hard work of the California’s educators.

February 1, 2008 Seminar

“Untangling School Governance”
Dominic Brewer – University of Southern California

Dominic Brewer’s research on educational policy issues has included work on charter schools, class-size reduction, and teacher labor markets, among other subjects. Dr. Brewer contributed a wide-ranging study of California school governance to “Getting Down to Facts,” which evaluated the state’s governance system on five key criteria: stability, accountability, responsiveness, transparency, and efficiency. In this seminar, Dr. Brewer reviewed the main findings from his study, and identifed strategies that might strengthen California’s school governance system over time.

Our apologies, but this seminar predates our audio recording feature

Building an Information System to Support Continuous Improvement in California Public Schools

A PACE Policy Brief by Susanna Loeb, Tara Beteille and Maria Perez of Stanford University explains why California must accelerate its efforts to create an effective data system for collecting and using vital school information. Building an Information System to Support Continuous Improvement in California Public Schools highlights the elements of an effective data system, with a particular focus on issues related to data collection. It reveals that despite efforts to improve California’s education data system, the state continues to lag behind other states in data collection and management, in policy evaluation and data use and in funding for local school districts to support the collection and maintenance of reliable education data. The authors show that valuable lessons can be learned from the high quality data systems that have been created in other states, and in organizations in both the public and private sectors. They argue that data, if used wisely, can help to transform California’s education system.