Podcasts

Our most recent seminars have been recorded and are available for streaming or download. Older seminars are also listed, although audio is not available prior to November 2008. Upcoming seminars can be found on the Seminars page.


May 3rd Podcast – Getting down to facts: Five years later

This report commemorates the fifth anniversary of the Getting Down to Facts project, which sought to provide a thorough and reliable analysis of the critical challenges facing California’s education system as the necessary basis for an informed discussion of policy changes aimed at improving the performance of California schools and students. The report focuses on the four key issues that received emphasis in the Getting Down to Facts studies: governance, finance, personnel, and data systems.

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Getting Down to Facts: Five years later

May 3, 2012
1:00 – 3:00 PM

Welcome Jack O’Connell, School Innovations and Advocacy
Getting Down to Facts: Five years later
  Introduction Susanna Loeb, Stanford University
  Governance Richard Welsh and Dominic Brewer, University of Southern California
Presentation
  Finance Heather Rose, University of California – Davis
Presentation
  Teachers and Leaders Jennifer Imazeki, California State University, San Diego
Presentation
  Data Systems David Plank, Policy Analysis for California Education
Getting Down to Facts: Then and now
  Moderator: John Fensterwald, Silicon Valley Education Foundation
  Panelists: Susanna Cooper, Office of the President Pro Tem, California Senate
Erin Gabel, Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Rick Simpson, Office of the Speaker, California Assembly
Getting Down to Facts: Public opinion
  Mark Baldassare, Public Policy Institute of California
  Dan Schnur, University of Southern California

April 27th Podcast – School Inspections in a Strengthened Accountability System

Craig D. Jerald, President of Break the Curve Consulting

Policymakers in California have begun to look beyond the API and ask how to hold schools accountable based on a broader set of information about performance. One strategy for doing so is through a system of school inspections, a common accountability policy in many other countries. This seminar will discuss the benefits of school inspections and explore the main policy decisions for designing such a system, with a particular focus on England’s approach. How might California evaluate school performance on a broader range of evidence; leverage expert judgment rather than relying solely on mathematical formulas; and provide schools with better diagnostic feedback to support continuous improvement?

A link to the report is available here:
http://www.educationsector.org/sites/default/files/publications/UKInspections-RELEASED.pdf

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April 20th Podcast – Postsecondary and Career Readiness: Understanding Differences and Similarities Through the Lens of the Health Sciences

Andrea Venezia, WestEd

As California implements the Common Core State Standards and discusses ways to better link K-12 and postsecondary education systems, it is critical to understand how well the state’s current postsecondary and career readiness standards relate to each other and to the Common Core. The panelists will discuss initial findings from a project focused on whether college and career readiness standards in the Health Sciences (entry-level in postsecondary, entry-level in the workforce, and exit-level in high school) require the same levels and types of knowledge and skills.

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March 16th Podcast – Ready or Not? California’s Early Assessment Program and the Transition to College

Michal Kurlaender, University of California, Davis

The Early Assessment Program (EAP) is an academic preparation program developed jointly by the California Department of Education (CDE), the State Board of Education, and the California State University (CSU).

The purpose of the program, now in its eighth year, is to bridge the gap between K-12 educational standards in English and mathematics and the requirements and expectations of postsecondary education at the California State University. Has the EAP led to an improvement in college preparation among California high school students? We present new results from a statewide study of the impact of the EAP on both student and school outcomes. We discuss how schools have responded to the EAP, given the voluntary nature of the program, and present findings from a new study evaluating the effect of the EAP on students’ likelihood for remediation once they arrive at a CSU campus.

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February 17th Podcast – Centralization of State Aid During an Era of Unpredictable Revenues: What Policymakers Can Learn from School District Responses

Recent news headlines have drawn attention to budget cuts that districts pursue in response to the state’s revenue shortfalls. But policymakers and state agencies need to consider more than episodic revenue declines or relative rankings of districts. Instead, policymakers need to consider how state fiscal conditions are changing a given district’s performance over time. The state’s volatile tax base and centralization of school finance are associated with long-term unpredictability in state aid in California. Such unpredictability hamstrings district efforts to sustain large-scale policy reforms, retain teachers, and ultimately improve student achievement. This seminar reviews evidence from a 2010-11 survey that provides a snapshot of district responses to unpredictable state aid. The speaker suggests ways that policymakers can account for the revenue instability a district has faced when evaluating district fiscal and academic performance.

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January 20th Podcast – How CA Districts Respond to Fiscal Flexibility: Statewide Survey Results on District Decisions on Consolidated Categorical Aid.

Bruce Fuller, University of California, Berkeley; Jennifer Imazeki, San Diego State University; Julie Marsh, University of Southern California; Brian Stecher, RAND Corporation; Thomas Timar, University of California, Davis.

Since 2009 the Department of Education has allowed local school boards to reallocate $4.5 billion in previously regulated categorical aid, now folded into the Tier 3 ‘block grant’. The UC-RAND research team reported earlier on case studies of 10 districts’ response to flexibility. This second PACE seminar will feature the results of their statewide survey of district chief financial officers and their analysis of statewide expenditure data. To what extent were Tier 3 dollars swept into district general funds? Which programs were hit hardest as re-allocations occurred? Did district leaders share fiscal flexibility with their principals during tough budget times? How did a district’s fiscal health condition their decisions? These are the questions addressed by the research team’s final report at the end of their two-year study.

Reports
Deregulating School Aid in California: How Districts Responded to Flexibility in Tier 3 Categorical Funds in 2010–2011
Deregulating School Aid in California: Revenues and Expenditures in the Second Year of Categorical Flexibility

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December 9th Podcast – Expanding College-and-career Pathways for High School Students: What Does it Cost?

David Stern, University of California, Berkeley

To improve the preparation of California high school students for postsecondary education and careers, in 2006 the James Irvine Foundation launched a major initiative to develop what is now called the Linked Learning approach. The Foundation asked PACE to inform this effort by gathering evidence on the cost of Linked Learning programs. This seminar presents the results.

The Linked Learning strategy is based on previous studies, mainly on evaluations of career academies. Prior research found that combining academic and career-technical coursework in a small-school setting, with work-based learning related to classroom instruction, can produce positive outcomes for students during and after high school. A new report on California Partnerships Academies (CPAs) in 2009-10 provides additional positive evidence. This seminar will discuss both benefits and costs. David Stern of the University of California, Berkeley, will present results from the new study of CPAs and from the PACE study of costs.

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November 18th Podcast – Strengthening Assessment and Accountability for English Learner Success: Challenges and Choices Facing California

Robert Linquanti, WestEd

Educational assessment policy must produce measures of performance that are fair and accurate for all students in order to convey clear and helpful information to educators, parents, and the students themselves. Achieving these objectives is especially challenging when it comes to the nation’s 5 million K-12 public school English learners (ELs). English learners are linguistic-minority students not sufficiently proficient in English to be able to benefit adequately from regular classroom instruction and demonstrate their knowledge and abilities using English. In California more than half of the children now entering public schools come from households where the first language is not English, and nearly 1.5 million are currently English Learners.

In this seminar Robert Linquanti discusses how next-generation state assessment and accountability systems can be made more responsive to the needs and strengths of ELs. Linquanti argues that innovation must be grounded in a clear understanding of the EL population, as well as of English language proficiency and its relationship to academic subject matter learning and assessment. He explains how the common core standards “push the envelope” for ELs and educators, and argues that comprehensive assessment systems can and must strengthen teacher pedagogical practice with ELs. Finally, he suggests ways in which California educational leaders and policymakers can exert national leadership on these issues.

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