January 26, 2018 - In this post, we answer many questions legislators and others commonly ask about K-12 education in California. We begin by providing information on the main components of California’s public school system. We then review the state’s K-12 accountability system. Lastly, we explain the basics of school finance in California.
January 31, 2020 - In response to concerns over K‑12 student achievement gaps, the Legislature tasked our office with convening a work group on the topic and submitting a report. The required report needed to: (1) examine data on K‑12 student achievement gaps, (2) identify funding provided for disadvantaged and low‑performing students, (3) assess existing state efforts to serve these students, and (4) develop options for better supporting these students. This report responds to these requirements.
January 21, 2015 - Presented to: Senate Education Committee
May 14, 2018 - In this report, we analyze the 2018-19 May Revision education proposals. We first provide an overview of Proposition 98 funding and then focus on the Governor’s major proposals for K‑12 education, child care and preschool, community colleges, universities, and student financial aid. In the pages that follow, we offer many specific recommendations for the Legislature to consider. Our package of recommendations includes adopting some proposals, modifying others in certain ways, rejecting others but inviting better proposals next year, and rejecting some proposals in their entirety.
February 19, 2003 - We identify several areas where the Legislature could reduce the assessment burden on school districts while maintaining the state's emphasis on academic content and performance standards: the NRT portion of the STAR program, the primary language test, the Golden State Exams, and the physical fitness test.
January 20, 2015 - This report examines Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs) for 50 school districts to evaluate whether they reflect thoughtful strategic planning and meet statutory requirements. We find that fulfilling all of the statutory LCAP requirements is a challenging undertaking for districts. Requiring districts to cover every area required in statute—regardless of local conditions—reduces the time and energy districts can spend on areas in need of greatest attention. We recommend the Legislature allow districts to focus their plans on their highest priority areas rather than require them to address all eight state-specified priority areas. We also find that the information in districts’ LCAPs related to the services they will provide to EL/LI students is often unclear and difficult to understand. We recommend several changes that would improve the quality of this information. We also recommend the Legislature clarify the metrics districts can include in their plans. Additionally, we recommend the state disseminate model LCAPs to help districts improve their plans moving forward.
March 8, 2016 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance
March 10, 2015 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance
March 18, 2014 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance
April 16, 2015 -
The state authorizes six types of alternative schools to provide educational options for students who could benefit from an environment different from their traditional schools or who cannot stay at traditional schools because of behavioral issues. These schools often are designed as short-term interventions to get these students back on track to graduate.
Currently, the state does not have sufficient information to determine how well alternative schools are educating students. We recommend the state collect better performance data for alternative schools and then use this information to set performance expectations, monitor their progress toward meeting those expectations, and support underperforming schools.
(5/13/15: Correction made to Figure 1 regarding number of opportunity and juvenile court schools.)
February 9, 2017 - An analysis of the Governor’s overall 2017-18 Proposition 98 budget package as well as his specific spending proposals for K‑12 education, including a summary of our recommendations.
December 20, 2017 - The Supplemental Report of the 2017-18 Budget Act required our office to examine how much existing funding and support is provided to these students and identify options for increasing that funding and support. This report fulfills this requirement.
June 16, 2008 - Most students who enter California Community Colleges (CCC) lack sufficient reading, writing, and mathematics skills to undertake college–level work. Thus, one of the CCC system’s core missions is to provide precollegiate “basic skills” instruction to these students. In this report, we find that a large percentage of students do not overcome their basic skills deficiencies during their time at CCC. We identify a number of state policies that we believe stand in the way of student success, and recommend several structural and systemwide changes designed to help increase preparedness and achievement among community college students.
February 21, 2001 - Analysis of the 2001-02 Budget Bill, Education Chapter
March 1, 2021 - The Commission on State Mandates recently found new requirements to offer feminine hygiene products in certain public school restrooms to be a reimbursable mandate. In this post, we provide background on state mandates and the recent decision, share our assessment, and provide an associated recommendation.