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The 2018-19 Budget: Proposition 98 Education Analysis


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K-12 Education in Context

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.

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[PDF] Implementation of LCFF and LCAPs

January 21, 2015 - Presented to: Senate Education Committee

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[PDF] The 2018-19 Budget: Analysis of the May Revision Education Budget Proposals

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.

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Assessments

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.

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[PDF] Review of School Districts' 2014-15 Local Control and Accountability Plans

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.

Handout

[PDF] Overview of Local Control Funding Formula and New State Accountability System

March 8, 2016 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance

Handout

[PDF] Overview of the Local Control Funding Formula and Local Control and Accountability Plans

March 10, 2015 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance

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California Public Higher Education: Funding Supplemental Services for Low-Income and First-Generation Students

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.

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[PDF] Overview of California's Academic Content Standards and Assessments

March 18, 2014 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance

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[PDF] Next Steps for Improving State Accountability for Alternative Schools

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.)

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The 2017-18 Budget: Proposition 98 Education Analysis

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.

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[PDF] Back to Basics: Improving College Readiness of Community College Students

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.

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[PDF] Analysis of the 2001-02 Budget Bill, Education Chapter

February 21, 2001 - Analysis of the 2001-02 Budget Bill, Education Chapter

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English Learners

February 21, 2007 - Data from several statewide assessments show a significant gap between the academic achievement of English learner (EL) students and their English-speaking peers. We recommend the Legislature fund the evaluation of the EL best practices pilot program established by Chapter 561, Statutes of 2006 (AB 2117, Coto). We also recommend the Legislature fund an evaluation of best practices in preparing teachers of EL students. In addition, we recommend improving the state’s assessment system so EL student progress can be measured and tracked.

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Improving High School: A Strategic Approach

May 9, 2005 -
This paper summarizes our recent report on the success and shortcomings of high schools in California. High school represents a critical phase in the educational development of K-12 students. Our report examines high schools through the lens of three groups of high school students.

Our Findings
Dropouts (Students Who Fail to Graduate). About 30 percent of the entering ninth grade class fails to graduate on time. Research and data suggest that the factors leading to student dropouts are in place by the time students enter ninth grade. Despite decades of trying, research has not identified programs or services that consistently reduce dropout rates.
The "General" Track (Students Who Graduate Without Qualifying for a Four-Year University). This includes about 45 percent of entering ninth grade students. About one-half of this group attends college after graduation and the other one-half enters the labor force. Research and data indicate that many in this group do not have clear postgraduation goals, which prevents these students from using high school most effectively to make a smoother transition to adult life.
The "University" Track (Students Who Graduate and Qualify for Admission to the State’s Public Four-Year Universities). These students account for about one-quarter of entering ninth grade students. Entering college freshmen frequently lack the English or mathematics skills required for study at the university level. Higher education admissions and placement policies contribute to the problem, as they fail to clearly communicate the skill levels needed for success in college.
Our Recommendations
Despite considerable differences in the problems facing these groups, several themes emerge in our recommendations that are consistent across the groups. Our recommendations address the problems experienced by high school students by strengthening accountability, improving information, and increasing flexibility.
Accountability
We recommend the Legislature "fine tune" accountability programs by:
  • Adjusting existing accountability programs to focus more attention on the needs of students who are likely to drop out of school.
  • Establishing accountability for improving student transitions to college and work.
  • Aligning K-12 and higher education standards by using Standardized Testing and Reporting scores as admissions data for the University of California and the California State University.
Information
We also suggest several ways the Legislature could employ information to help make high schools more responsive to student needs by:
  • Obtaining accurate dropout data by school and district within two years.
  • Evaluating state supplemental instruction and social promotion programs for elementary and middle school students.
  • Providing additional information and choices to help parents and students use high school to reach student goals for work and school.
Flexibility
Flexibility also is a theme of our report. Improvements could be made by:
  • Encouraging schools to provide a greater range of curricular options that respond to the needs and interests of students.
  • Giving districts greater latitude to use existing state and federal resources effectively to meet the needs of students.
The Bottom Line
While many critical factors are outside of the state’s control, we think our recommendations provide a strategic approach for how the state can contribute to improving high schools.