ASCD California


  • 08/09/2019 7:42 AM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    A first look at school spending statewide under the Local Control Funding Formula


    AUGUST 8, 2019


    Kindergartners during recess at Redwood Heights Elementary School in Oakland.

    Former Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature law, the Local Control Funding Formula, has frustrated researchers and advocacy groups that have wanted to verify how much of the extra money intended for targeted students has actually gone to the schools they attend — and how the funding was used.

    Consistent with his view of local control, Brown insisted that district offices, not schools, should control money under the formula, and he fought efforts to make it easy to compare spending across schools and districts.


    24 Ideas For Improving The Local Control Funding Formula

    Now a researcher from the Public Policy Institute of California appears to have cracked the code, at least on a macro level of data, and has published the first statewide look at differences in spendingamong high- and low-poverty schools under the formula. His findings are both reassuring and concerning and may renew calls for clarity in tracking funding formula dollars at the school level and for the Legislature to give more direction on how dollars should be used.

    Click here for the full article

  • 08/02/2019 10:21 AM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Study: California schools earn low grades compared to nation

    Posted: 12:32 PM, Jul 29, 2019


    Updated: 12:32 PM, Jul 29, 2019

    By: Allison Horn

    school bus text

    Kids in school

    (KGTV) - As parents and children prepare for a new school year, a study shows California schools do not earn top grades compared to other states.

    California ranked 38th among the 50 states and District of Columbia in 29 categories, according to the Wallet Hub study.

    Data considered to measure quality included graduation rate, dropout rate, math and reading test scores, Advanced Placement exam scores, student-teacher ratio, and SAT and ACT results.

    Safety was measured by number of school shootings, share of high school students who were armed, participating in violence, or access to illegal drugs, school safety plans, youth incarceration rates, and safety grades of roads around schools.

    California was 4th best for the percentage of threatened or injured high school students. The state came in last for its student-teacher ratio.

    Other key rankings: 

    • 44th – Math Test Scores
    • 38th – Reading Test Scores
    • 32nd – Median SAT Score
    • 16th – Median ACT Score
    • 22nd – % of Licensed/Certified Public K–12 Teachers
    • 34th – Dropout Rate
    • 7th – Bullying Incidence Rate

    Top states for education included Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, and Vermont. The worst states were West Virginia, Mississippi, Arizona, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

    Posted: 12:32 PM, Jul 29, 2019

    Updated: 12:32 PM, Jul 29, 2019

    By: Allison Horn

  • 07/17/2019 4:47 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    California Department of Education News Release

    Release: #19-53
    July 11, 2019

    Contact: Scott Roark
    Phone: 916-319-0818

    State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces New Report for College-Going Rates of California High School Students

    SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has announced the release of a first-of-its-kind report that provides detailed information on California students that enroll in college after completing a public high school. 
    The College-Going Report (CGR) features data showing college enrollment broken down by student group and postsecondary institutions at the state, county, district, and school levels. The CGR is available on the California Department of Education’s DataQuest site and includes downloadable files for the 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, and 2017–18 academic years.

    “I am pleased that we are able to provide this information for the first time, and that it gives us a great metric to show the progress our students are making as they advance to college and career,” Thurmond said. “This data is especially helpful for districts and schools, who can evaluate their programs to increase college-readiness and work towards closing the achievement gap as we address major issues such as college affordability, improved reading levels, reduced absenteeism, and increased access to STEAM and computer science programs.”

    According to the CGR report, in 2017–18, there were 439,211 California public high school students who completed high school, of which 282,740 enrolled in college within 12 months of completing high school for a college-going rate of 64.4 percent. Of the high school completers in 2017–18, students identified as Asian had a college-going rate of 83.9 percent, followed by white at 70.4 percent, African American at 59.7 percent, Pacific Islander at 58.7 percent and Hispanic/Latino at 57.6 percent. Students who identified as two or more races showed a college-going rate of 69.5 percent.

    One highlight of the report shows the importance of California Community Colleges for students statewide. In 2017–18, more than 35 percent of all California high school completers enrolled at a community college, while approximately 12 percent enrolled at a CSU campus from high school and approximately 7 percent enrolled at a UC campus.  

    Similar to other recent DataQuest reports, the new CGR reports also include expandable filter sections. Within those sections, users will find the following sub-sections that include a number of useful report options and data filters: 
    Report Selection: Within this area, users can change the report, select a county, district, or school, and change the report year.

    • Data Type Options: Within this area, users can choose how the data are configured or viewed within the report; either by Race/Ethnicity, Student Group, or Multi-Year. The report default is by Race/Ethnicity.
    • Report Filters: Within this area, users can apply a variety of school type filters (i.e., charter/non-charter and alternative/regular schools), demographic and student group filters, high school completer type filters, and college enrollment time frame filters.
    • Display Options: Within this area, users can change data displayed by default as number to be displayed as percentages.

    The new CGR report was made possible thanks to a collaboration between the CDE, the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis). The CSAC contributed a one-time funding allocation of $200,000 for the purchase of National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) data used in the CGR reports.

    UC Davis, as part of a five-year research partnership with the CDE, has released the first of several reports using the NSC data. The report is published by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) and is entitled “Where California High School Students Attend CollegeExternal link opens in new window or tab..”

     The CDE will provide summary reports directly to districts in order to show how graduates are matriculating in post-secondary institutions around the country. To find the new CGR reports, go to the CDE’s DataQuest website.

  • 06/17/2019 1:12 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Study: More than half of California high schools lack computer science courses

    Increase seen in schools offering computer science reflecting push by the State Board of Education


    JUNE 17, 2019

    California has the highest number of technology workers in the country. But many students in the state lack access to the computer science courses that may set them up for those career opportunitiesa new study shows.

    More than half (61 percent) of high schools in California do not offer computer science courses, according to a study released Monday by the Kapor Center, a nonprofit that focuses on equity and access in technology, and Computer Science for California (CSforCA), a campaign that promotes access to computer science education in California.

    The high schools that do offer computer science courses are more likely to be in high income or urban areas.  Students of color and students in rural and low income areas are least likely to have access to computer science courses, the study found.

    Only 3 percent of California’s 1.9 million high school students were enrolled in a computer science course in the 2016-17 school year, according to the report. In 2018, only 1 percent took an Advanced Placement computer science course, which can offer students college credit.

    “We have made progress in the state, but overall we have a lot of work to do to ensure that all kids in California have access to computer science,” said Allison Scott, a report author and chief research officer at the Kapor Center “It’s a critical moment.”

    The report also highlights several promising trends, including how the availability of computer science courses in California has been steadily increasing in recent years. Thirty-nine percent of California high schools now offer computer science courses, up since 2014, when about 24 percent of high schools offered them.

    For full article please click link

  • 06/14/2019 2:05 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Pension relief, special education funding highlight Gov. Newsom's budget

    Governor gets most of what he wanted in his first go-round


    JUNE 14, 2019


    Democratic Assemblywomen Cottie Petrie-Norris, o

    f Laguna Beach, left, Buffy Wicks, of Oakland, center, and Jacqui Irwin, of Thousand Oaks, right, huddle before the Assembly passed the state budget bill on Thursday.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first education budget, which the Legislature passed on Thursday, remains his budget. After negotiations with legislative leaders, Newsom’s spending priorities remain largely intact and signal the directions his administration will take over his first term.


    Gov. Newsom Proposes To Chip Away At Mountain Of Pension Liability And Ease School Districts’ Burden

    Education leaders largely praised the education budget when Newsom released his initial budget in January and the revision in May, and were still on board this week.

    “The governor successfully held true to principles he laid out in January and got significant wins across the board,” said Kevin Gordon, president of Capitol Advisors Group, an education consulting firm. “He found creative ways to address crucial issues that educators statewide are articulating.”

    Funding for K-12 schools and community colleges is determined by a complex formula  laid out in Proposition 98, which voters passed in 1998. It’s roughly 40 percent of the state’s budget, varying a bit from year to year.

    Newsom funded the minimum increase required by Prop. 98, which will raise the level by $2.9 billion, to $81.1 billion in 2019-20. For additional money, Newsom turned to the General Fund, where K-12 had to compete with health care, housing, homelessness and legislators’ own priorities .

    The final budget provides about $3.5 billion beyond Prop. 98. By far the biggest piece is the $3 billion that will relieve districts from escalating school pension costs. Next is $300 million in one-time money to fund facilities for districts to transition to full-day kindergarten — half of what Newsom had requested.

    For full article please click link

  • 06/10/2019 6:08 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Students in California log on in record numbers to take online state tests


    JUNE 6, 2019


    Despite a new science test that has increased demand on the internet capacity of schools, this spring hundreds of thousands of California students went online to take standardized tests aligned to new academic standards without experiencing major technical problems.

    The peak testing session for Smarter Balanced in 2019 so far occurred on May 7, when 683,673 California students logged in to take the tests from their laptops and tablets — a record number. In 2017, about 500,000 students went online at the peak of testing. That was still well below the capacity of the system, which can handle 1.75 million simultaneous users, according to state officials.

    The testing window opened on Jan. 8 and will close on July 15 and most students have already started or completed the exam. As of June 4, about 3.1 million students had completed the Smarter Balanced tests out of an eligible 3.3 million.

    The successful administration of the test reflects investments of tens of millions of dollars in recent years in upgrading the internet capacity of California’s schools. 

    However, a small number of schools, especially smaller ones in rural areas, are still having difficulties getting online to access the system. Educators there have to stagger test times to make sure they are not overloading their broadband capacities. 

    This is the fifth year that California students in 3rd to 8th and 11th grade are taking standardized tests aligned with the Common Core that school districts are required to administer by state and federal law. The new tests were the first online statewide assessments in California. The previous tests, known as the California Standards Tests, were aligned with the old standards and were all paper and pencil tests.

    At the time Smarter Balanced testing began, many districts worried not only whether students would be prepared to take the tests, but whether they had adequate technology and broadband access in order to administer the online tests successfully. This year California added another online test, the California Science Test, putting additional pressures on the state’s online testing capacity. The science test is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, which are new science standards adopted by the state in 2013.

    Today, most schools have the bandwidth they need to administer the online test. At least 92 percent of California students have access to the minimum internet speed that test developers recommend, according to an official from the K-12 High Speed Network, a state project funded by the California Department of Education to help expand high-speed internet to schools.

    Click below on link for entire article.

  • 06/10/2019 6:04 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    California Content Standards

    State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has announced the release of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) first-ever mobile app for the California Content Standards, a powerful tool that provides quick, targeted access to standards related to the arts, computer science, health education, history–social science, and mathematics.

    Content standards are utilized by educators to design the knowledge, concepts, and skills that students should acquire for subject areas at each grade level. The California Standards app, designed entirely by CDE staff, can search, filter, and sort content standards to isolate specific content, identify standards that are common across disciplines, and inform decisions around instruction and assessment.

    You can download the app from the Content Standards Mobile Application website at

    You can access the internet-based searchable database of California Content Standards at

    Read the full CDE press release at

  • 05/28/2019 2:45 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    California governor and lawmakers at odds over new special education funding

    It’s not the amount, which is big, but how to spend it.


    MAY 28, 2019


    A child with Down Syndrome draws a picture.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders agree that the state should significantly increase funding for students with disabilities. But, in one of the biggest disagreements over next year’s state budget, they head into negotiations far apart on how they would spend the new money.

    Newsom is proposing an additional $696 million in ongoing funding for special education in his budget for next year. Last week, the Assembly Budget Committee rejected outright the new formula that the Department of Finance has proposed for divvying up that additional money. The 21 percent increase for students with special needs would be the largest in decades. But critics — and they are numerous — point out fewer than a quarter of the state’s school districts would qualify for any of the new money and once they get it, they could spend it however they want.


    Special Education Funding Is A Morass; Straightening It Out May Not Be Cheap Or Easy

    Instead, the Assembly committee’s proposal for an additional $593 million instead would pay for services for students with disabilities in preschool — an age group that currently gets no state funding — and equalize funding for the regional special education agencies that administer funding and services on behalf of school districts and charter schools. This is the approach that a past state task force on special education urged and the Coalition for Adequate Funding for Special Education and associations representing school boards and school administrators are endorsing.

    The Legislative Analyst’s Office also panned Newsom’s new program in its review of the May revision of the state budget and the Senate Budget Committee has created a united front for negotiations by making funding equalization and preschool funding of special education its priorities, too. However, it would attach restrictions not in the Assembly’s version.

    Districts bear bulk of costs

    Newsom’s program wouldn’t affect the current funding system, in which the state funnels its portion of special education funding through the 134 agencies that work with districts and charter schools, called Special Education Local Planning Agencies, or SELPAs. Funding for the agencies is based on the total number of students, not just students with disabilities, enrolled in the districts served by SELPAs. SELPAs are funded at disparate rates per student under a 40-year-old, outdated formula, creating further inequities.

    The federal government’s share of special education funding has declined significantly over the past decade and the state’s share stagnated under Gov. Jerry Brown, who made funding of the Local Control Funding Formula, governing K-12 spending that is separate from special education, his top priority. As a result, the state and federal government contribute less than 40 percent of the $13.2 billion in special education spending in California, with school districts paying the rest out of their general budgets.

    For full article please click link

  • 05/24/2019 10:07 AM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    California considers overhauling test of reading instruction for teachers in training

    Test's high failure rate contributes to teacher shortage, say some critics


    MAY 23, 2019


    California is considering overhauling a test intended to measure whether prospective teachers are prepared to be effective reading instructors.

    That’s because the test, known as the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment, or RICA, is outdated, and there is no evidence that it contributes to more effective instruction. On top of that, although would-be teachers can take the test multiple times, it costs nearly $200 each time. That may discourage some from entering the profession at a time when the state is experiencing teacher shortages in several subject areas, and in schools with many high-needs students.

    A passing score on the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment, meant to measure a teacher’s ability to teach reading, is required to get a credential to be an elementary school or special education instructor.

    But the test hasn’t been revised since 2009 when it was aligned to the English Language Arts-English Language Development Framework put in place two years earlier to guide instruction in classrooms. Frameworks are blueprints for teachers and schools to use to implement state-adopted content standards in different subject areas.

    When a new English Language Arts framework was adopted in 2014 the test was never revised to reflect the changes.

    “In failing to align with the current standards and framework, the RICA does not reflect current research and instructional best practices in literacy,” said Mimi Miller, a professor from Chico State University, who is part of a literacy expert group convened by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to offer recommendations on the skills and knowledge prospective teachers need to teach reading and literacy.

    For full article please click link

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