Monthly Archives: January 2011


Two New Podcasts

January 12th Podcast – Redesigning Evaluation Processes: A Systems Approach to Improving Evaluation and Teacher/Principal Effectiveness.

January 21st Podcast – Experiments in Deregulating School Finance.

January 21st Podcast – Experiments in Deregulating School Finance

The podcast for our January 21st seminar, “Experiments in Deregulating School Finance”  is now available.  The presenters were Bruce Fuller, Professor of Education and Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley; Jennifer Imazeki, Professor of Economics, San Diego State University; Brian Stecher, Acting Director of Education Research, RAND Corporation; and Thomas Timar, Professor of Education and Director of  the Center for Applied Policy in Education, University of California, Davis.  The speakers were introduced by David N. Plank, Executive Director of PACE.

Since the 1980s, the governor and legislature have tried to balance statewide educational priorities against the desire for local flexibility, frequently expanding targeted categorical aid programs. Some argue that this approach to school finance undermines local educators’ efforts to devise coherent instructional initiatives and respond to accountability pressures. In the midst of the ongoing budget crisis, the legislature suspended requirements attached to approximately 40 “Tier 3” categorical aid programs. This represents a massive experiment in deregulating school finance, with districts potentially making new choices about how to spend $4.5 billion in 2009-2010 alone. The RAND Corporation, in collaboration with the University of California and San Diego State University, is conducting a 2-year study that explores district and school leader responses to the Tier 3 initiative and federal stimulus dollars. How are districts making use of this fiscal flexibility? What forces are shaping resource allocation decisions? The study team discussed qualitative data collected at 10 districts during the spring of 2010. Initial findings suggest that after one year, the Tier 3 flexibility is playing a critical role in helping districts to backfill budget gaps as the state crisis continues. At the same time, there is evidence that some district leaders are actively reworking existing spending patterns to better align with local educational needs and make strategic spending choices.

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To view a copy of Jennifer Imazeki’s slides, click here.
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January 12th Podcast – Redesigning Evaluation Processes

Redesigning Evaluation Processes: A Systems Approach to Improving Evaluation and Teacher/Principal Effectiveness

On January 12th, Pivot Learning Partners, Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) and Full Circle Fund sponsored a one-day conference for school district teams with an interest in redesigning their teacher/principal evaluation systems in the larger context of strengthening teacher/principal effectiveness. In addition to listening to a panel of experts, team members had  the opportunity to network with other district leaders from across the state. For biographies of the speakers, please click here

Introduction
Judith Warren Little
, Dean of Education, UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Education
The Policy Context: What’s Driving the Interest in Teacher and Principal Evaluation?

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The Policy Context: What’s Driving the Interest in Teacher and Principal Evaluation?
Johanna VanderMolen,
Pivot Learning Partners 
Merrill Vargo, Executive Director, Pivot Learning Partners

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Framing the Issues: What Should Be Driving Our Work On?
Jim Brown
, Pivot Learning Partners
Teacher and Principal Evaluation

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Discussion Panel – Perspectives from Policy and Research
David N. Plank,
Panel Moderator. Executive Director, Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE).
Katharine Strunk, Assistant Professor of Education and Policy, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California.  
What We Know (and Don’t Know) About Teacher Evaluations.

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To view a copy of Katharine Strunk’s  slides , click here.

Michael Egan, Assistant Executive Director of the California Teachers Association.
Union Perspective on the Components of an Effective Teacher Evaluation Procedure.

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To view a copy of Michael Egan’s handout, click here.

Julia Koppich, President, J. Koppich & Associates.
Making Evaluation Work.

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To view a copy of Julia Koppich’s slides, click here.  For her activity sheet, click here.

December 17th Podcast – Learning from L.A.: Policy Levers for Institutional Change

The podcast for our December 17th seminar, “Learning from L.A.: Policy Levers for Institutional Change” is now available.  The speaker was Charles Taylor Kerchner, Research Professor, Claremont Graduate University.

The history of the Los Angeles Unified School District over the past five decades, reveals an organization pulled up from its early 20th Century Progressive Era roots.  Decades of reform efforts have provided a lively audition for what a new institution of public education could look like. But public policy and the surrounding political system have created an atmosphere of continuing crisis rather than a new institutional stability. In this seminar Charles Kerchner reviews the recent history of LAUSD, drawing from the recent book, Learning from L.A.: Institutional Change in Public Education. He shows how successive reform efforts have outlined the design of a more effective educational system, and identifies some policy levers that can help to create a new institutional structure for public education, in L.A. and for all of California and beyond. The speaker is introduced by David N. Plank, Executive Director of PACE.

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View Charles Kerchner’s presentation slides.