• | EdSource

    As pressures grow on schools to address students’ physical and mental health, including the stress and trauma they may experience in their homes and neighborhoods, many California educators are acknowledging that they don’t have the resources they need to respond appropriately.

    California now ranks 39th nationwide in its school nurse-to-student ratio and its ratio of counselors to students is last, according to research by Columbia University economics professor Randall Reback that was published as part of the Getting Down to Facts II report series released in September.

     Reback found that less than half of California’s public-school students have regular access to physical health care — such as a full-time school nurse or an on-site health clinic — in their schools, and less than half of California’s elementary school students have access to mental health care in their schools.

  • | CALmatters

    California’s Legislature won’t reconvene until 2019, but on the first day of session, Democratic lawmakers introduced two major education bills, calling for nearly $40 billion more in state spending on schools. And Governor-elect Gavin Newsom publicly supports many of the same education initiatives being pushed by legislators

    As California rings rings in a new administration, CALmatters provides a guide to some of the education items lawmakers will likely debate next year to include: universal preschool, per-pupil spending, data systems, and the realities of funding new initiatives.

    Many education advocates and school officials point out that California’s per-pupil spending, when adjusted by cost of living, ranks among the bottom tier of states. Stanford researchers have found that the state needs to spend $25.6 billion more—a 38 percent increase—than it currently is for all California students to meet learning expectations.

  • | K - 12 Daily

    In order to improve long-term student outcomes, policymakers must establish a data system that connects K-12 schools to community colleges and four-year universities, according to a report released last week by the Public Policy Institute of California.

    “Right now, California’s education data systems are fragmented,” Jacob Jackson, a PPIC research fellow, said during a presentation on the report. “Without connecting this data across systems we don’t have a full picture of a student’s development.

    PPIC’s research is the second analysis from a major academic institute to reach the same conclusion after studying California’s school data systems.

    Earlier this year in a report published by a team of scholars affiliated with Stanford University, who found that the state’s cumbersome and unorganized data management system hinders the ability of policymakers to make even the most fundamental decisions regarding California’s school performance.


  • | East County Today

    Assemblymember Kevin McCarty Introduces a Robust Pre-K for All Legislative Package

    On Monday, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) introduced a trio of childhood education bills that would improve access to schooling for 3, 4 and 5 year olds.

    A report released in September, “Getting Down to Facts II” summarized the issue, “California’s children are behind before they enter Kindergarten. The system needs a continued focus on closing achievement gaps through multiple approaches including enhanced early childhood education.”

  • | CBS Sacramento

    Assemblyman Kevin McCarty introduced three bills supporting the California State Preschool Program on Monday.

    AB 123 would expand the California State Preschool Program to include 4-year-old’s who live in school attendance areas where 70% or more of the children are enrolled in free or reduced-lunch programs. The bill also aims to offer preschool classes for 3-year-old children who live in poverty.

    Assemblymember McCarty cited a September report “Getting Down to Facts II” which stated, “California’s children are behind before they enter Kindergarten. The system needs a continued focus on closing achievement gaps through multiple approaches including enhanced early childhood education.”

  • | Capital Public Radio

    Democratic Assemblymember Kevin McCarty of Sacramento introduced three pieces of legislation on Tuesday aiming to provide free preschool to about 100,000 more children from low and middle-income households in California.

    Stanford Professor Deborah Stipek has investigated the state of early childhood education in California and said the bill is a very good start for achieving quality pre-K. But she said that unlike other states, California doesn't collect enough information on schools to really say if current funds are being spent wisely.  

    “Until we have better data it's hard to be confident that we're getting what we're paying for,” Stipek said.

    Stipek said that bill , AB125, will ultimately benefit teachers.

    “People don't stay in the profession for very long on average,” Stipek said, “which means that children for the most part have relatively inexperienced teachers.” She says the bill will create a more stable and more experienced teacher pool.

  • | Capitol Public Radio

    Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom is promising universal preschool for the next generation, and with Democrats winning a supermajority in the state Legislature, education in California is likely to see some big changes.

    Newsom's plan includes preschool for all children, which estimated to cost around $2 billion a year.

    Susanna Loeb, an education scholar who’s investigated the state of pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education in California, says the state falls far behind others in providing consistent, high-quality early childhood learning. She thinks universal preschool will help.

  • | Fox and Hounds

    One Stanford University study says that California needs to spend billions more on the state’s PreK-12 public school system. Another Stanford study says that too-generous public pensions are robbing core government programs of needed funds. Will the two disparate ideas end up in a budget package?

    A Stanford University and Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) report entitled Getting Down to Facts II comes ten years after an initial look at California’s education system taking into account all the changes over the past decade. Most newsworthy out of the report was the finance item declaring the need for a 38% increase in education funding to make California students ready for college and careers.

    The dollar increase was pegged at about $25 billion, equivalent to about 19% of the state’s general fund.

  • | EdSource

    Alcalá will face twin challenges of running and rejuvenating the Department of Education, which must clarify its role for both supporting and holding districts accountable in the evolving era of local control. Gov. Jerry Brown did not appreciably increase the department’s budget during his last eight years in office. An analysis of the department in the Getting Down to Facts research project concluded that the department was understaffed and underpaid, making it difficult to attract and keep key personnel.

    The state board must approve Alcalá’s appointment. There are currently two deputy chief superintendents, Glen Price and Michelle Zumot.

  • | EdSource

    The alliance intended the website to serve as a guide for parents and the public that may be unaware of the significant shifts in policy under Gov. Jerry Brown and the State Board of Education that he appointed. To support its recommendations, the website frequently cited findings in the project Getting Down to Facts, three dozen studies that looked at the state of K-12 education and its needs.

    Not surprisingly, the alliance led its eight-step “journey to create a high-achieving public education system” with a call for substantially more funding to counter what the research nonprofit WestEd calls a “silent recession” facing districts due to rising teacher pension and special education costs, aging school buildings and, in many districts, declining enrollment. The alliance wants Newsom and the Legislature to set targets to raise per-student funding to the level of the top 10 states in the U.S. — a goal that would cost tens of billions of dollars more per year.

  • | Capitol Weekly

    Carol Kocivar, past president of the California PTA and current legislative advocate for the group, said the initiative is a “smart way” to raise money for the state’s schools.

    She pointed to the September study “Getting Down to Facts II” coordinated by Stanford University and disseminated by Policy Analysis for California Education which said that California was $25.6 billion short in 2016-17 of the money needed to meet goals set by the state Board of Education. While California spent about $12,204 peer student, the state needed $16,890 per student to meet the state board’s goals. Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts spend $16,890 per pupil.

  • | Napa Valley Register

    Newsom appeared to intuit this long before that report emerged. Newsom told the Oakland-based EdSource lobbying group California and the nation need “a new way of thinking about education as a lifetime pursuit. Our role begins when babies are still in the womb and doesn’t end until we’ve done all we can to prepare them for a quality job and successful career.”

    So far, Newsom has not proposed any specific programs to make his vision real, but it’s clear government spending on education can change outcomes. The Stanford-PACE report found that spending $1,000 more per student at the high school level produced “significant increases in high school graduation rates and academic achievement, particularly among poor and minority students.”

  • | Long Beach Unified School District

    A report by Harvard University researchers on teacher evaluation systems in California describes innovative practices in the Long Beach Unified School District.

    The report titled “Can Teacher Evaluation Programs Improve Teaching?” by Virginia Lovison and Eric. S. Taylor of Harvard University is part of the “Getting Down to Facts II” series of research projects focused on a wide array of California education issues.

    Long Beach was highlighted in the latest report for connecting individual teacher evaluation results with resources and strategies for improvement using the school district’s online myPD system for professional development.

  • | UC Davis School of Education

    Over the past decade, California’s PreK-12 education system has seen a variety of reforms— new academic standards and assessments, the Local Control Funding Formula, advancements in data systems—yet despite these changes, a new research project reports that California lags behind other states when it comes to important educational metrics. California’s students still face some of the largest achievement gaps in the nation, schools continue to see a lack of adequate funding and many young Californians miss out on high-quality early childhood education.

    School of Education researchers Michal Kurlaender and Sherrie Reed, along with graduate students in the Graduate Group in Education and Department of Economics, recently contributed to Getting Down to Facts II, a national collaborative research project led by Stanford University and Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE). The peer-reviewed project’s 36 technical reports and 19 research briefs provide education leaders and policymakers with an overview of how California’s PreK-12 education system is performing in the areas of student success, governance, spending and personnel.

  • | CALmatters

    Schools in California’s wealthier communities have been reaping far more local bond money than poorer districts, a CALmatters analysis shows—a reality that amplifies existing inequities for the state’s public school students.

    Districts with the lowest concentrations of students on free or reduced lunch, a poverty indicator, have averaged more than twice as many local bond dollars per student since 1998 as the most impoverished districts.

    And depending on where your children go to school, they could be benefitting from as much as $270,000 per pupil in local bond money over the past two decades, or as little as $838—or nothing.

  • | EdSource

    By 2020-21, when the seven-year phase-in period for higher rates ends, school districts’ pension contributions to CalSTRS will have more than doubled, from 8.25 percent to 19.1 percent of a teacher’s pay. This equals an average increase of $600 in spending per student for CalSTRS that districts otherwise could use for other purposes, according to calculations in a new study for the research project Getting Down to Facts (see graph). State contributions to CalSTRS from the General Fund, which were 4.5 percent of payroll in 2013-14, are projected to more than double to 10.8 by 2020-21.

  • | The Stanford Daily

    As California prepares to elect a new governor and superintendent of public instruction in November, a study released last month has drawn attention to major challenges the state faces when it comes to education.

    The study — coordinated by Stanford and conducted by the independent nonpartisan research center Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), located at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) — is one of the most comprehensive studies on California K-12 public education conducted in the past 10 years. Among the findings were evidence of an achievement gap prior to kindergarten and an estimate that an additional $25.6 billion, marking a 38 percent increase in spending, would be required to meet state education goals.

  • | Getting Down to Facts II
  • | Capitol Weekly

    The new comprehensive analysis of California’s PreK-12 education system, Getting Down to Facts II, revealed that the state is moving in the right direction with reforms put in place over the last decade, but more importantly it showed much more must be done to support student success.

    Many in education will argue in favor of one solution over another in terms of necessary actions to address California’s education challenges, but the one thing that we can all agree on is this: facts and solid evidence must be the foundation of productive policy development.

  • | Getting Down to Facts II