Monthly Archives: May 2009


May 22 Seminar Podcast

pace seminarAn audio broadcast of our recent seminar “What Now? Improving Schools Within Budget Constraints” featuring W. Norton Grubb of the University of California, Berkeley.

As California continues to wrestle with the challenge of providing sufficient funding for our state’s schools, understanding the relationships among school funding, effective school resources, and outcomes is essential. In this seminar Norton Grubb addressed four principal questions: (1) What kinds of school resources make a difference to outcomes? (2) Why is the relationship between spending per student and outcomes so weak, and how can that help California schools in a time of fiscal crisis? (3) Why are outcomes so inequitable, including the role of race and ethnicity? (4) What should California do now, in both school finance and other areas of school policy, to avoid further damage to the state’s education system?

W. Norton Grubb is a professor and the David Gardner Chair in Higher Education at the School of Education, the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent book is The Money Myth: School Resources, Outcomes, and Equity, published in 2009 by the Russell Sage Foundation, New York. The speaker was introduced by PACE’s Executive Director David N. Plank.

Download Professor Grubb’s Powerpoint presentation.

Listen to the audio of this seminar:

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May 8th Seminar Podcast

pace seminarAn audio broadcast of our recent seminar “Designing Categorical Grants to Support Student Learning” featuring Lawrence O. Picus with comments by John Mockler is now available.

As part of the Legislature’s February 2009 budget revisions, school districts were granted more flexibility in the use of some categorical grants. These actions offer an exceptional opportunity to reform California’s confusing system of categorical grants. Flexibility in the use of categorical grant funding creates a paradox because categorical programs are established to focus school resources on high priority programs. Allowing alternative use of these funds is both counter-productive and suggests lack of focus in the mix of categorical programs available. This session provided an overview of the purposes of categorical grants, discussed issues pertaining to local v. state control over the use of educational resources and described Picus’ recent research on ways to structure categorical grants to improve student performance. Picus offered suggestions for ways California’s myriad of confusing categorical programs can be reformed to focus on student learning. John Mockler offered some comments on Picus’ presentation.

Lawrence O. Picus is professor of education at the USC Rossier School of Education. His research focuses on school finance and the allocation and use of educational resources to improve student learning. He has conducted school finance adequacy studies in a number of states, and helped design the school funding systems in Wyoming, Arkansas and North Dakota. Ohio is currently considering a funding system based on his work.

John Mockler is the president of John Mockler and Associates, Inc., a consulting firm in Sacramento. He is the former Executive Director of the California State Board of Education and the former Interim Secretary for Education for the State of California. The speaker was introduced by PACE’s Executive Director David N. Plank.

Listen to the audio of this seminar:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download this audio file to your computer (zip)