Monthly Archives: September 2009

Leaders for California’s Schools

A new PACE policy brief presents an overview of the current state of school leadership in California. Susanna Loeb and Jon Valant from Stanford University examine the challenges that California must overcome to recruit, hire, train, and retain strong and talented principals, with a particular focus on the limitations of current state and district policies.  Loeb and Valant note that California principals are underpaid relative to their colleagues nationwide, and many report feeling overworked, constrained by state policies, and doubtful that they will remain in the principalship until retirement. The authors propose a set of actions that policymakers can take in order to ensure that great principals are providing leadership in all of California’s schools.

Leaders for California's Schools

Effects of the California High School Exit Exam on Student Persistence, Achievement, and Graduation

A new PACE policy brief summarizes the findings from a study investigating the impact of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) on California’s lowest performing students. Utilizing longitudinal data from four large urban school districts, Sean Reardon from Stanford and Michal Kurlaender from UC-Davis compare students scheduled to graduate just before (2005) and after (2006-07) the exit exam became a requirement for graduation from California high schools. They find that the CAHSEE requirement had no positive effects on students’ academic skills, and a large negative impact on graduation rates that fell disproportionally on minority students and on female students. The authors conclude that policymakers should reevaluate the utility of the high school exit exam in California’s accountability system.