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  • 05/15/2023 10:26 AM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Related Resources

    Citation

    Leung-Gagné, M., Wang, V., Melnick, H., & Mauerman, C. (2023). How are California school districts planning for universal prekindergarten? Results from a 2022 survey. Learning Policy Institute. https://doi.org/10.54300/109.432

    In 2021, California committed to providing universal prekindergarten (UPK) for all 4-year-olds and income-eligible 3-year-olds by 2025–26. UPK includes several early learning programs, including transitional kindergarten (TK), the California State Preschool Program (CSPP), Head Start, and expanded learning opportunities to provide full-day early learning and care. TK is the only program that is free and universally available as part of California’s public education system. Offered by local education agencies (LEAs), TK currently serves all 4-year-olds who turn 5 between September 2 and December 2 and will expand to all 4-year-olds by 2025–26. The legislature also made new investments in CSPP, a program for income-eligible 3- and 4-year-old children. Funding for CSPP is provided by the state through grants to both LEAs and community-based organizations.

    This report provides a snapshot of 1,108 LEAs’ initial plans for UPK expansion through the analysis of a survey administered by the California Department of Education in August 2022. Key findings provide insights into LEA plans for service delivery models, facilities and transportation, instruction and assessment, workforce development, school leader development, and technical assistance needs.

    Universal Prekindergarten Delivery Models

    Over one third of LEAs plan to expand TK eligibility faster than the legislated rollout schedule. A majority of LEAs report plans to offer TK at all elementary school sites, full-day TK options, and expanded learning and care. California LEAs are planning to implement UPK through various combinations of TK, CSPP, Head Start, and expanded learning programs. There was no common model for how LEAs planned to structure TK classes—while many are planning stand-alone TK classes, many others plan to combine TK with kindergarten, CSPP, and/or locally funded preschool.

    Facilities and Transportation

    About two thirds of LEAs indicate having sufficient facility space to meet projected TK enrollment, though more than half of LEAs intend to update their buildings and grounds to accommodate young learners. Many LEAs also express a need for facilities funding and guidance. Although not required by law, just under half of LEAs plan to provide some form of transportation for TK students.

    Instruction and Assessment

    A majority of LEAs plan to offer English-only instruction with home-language support for multilingual learners and/or dual language programs; however, almost one fifth have no plans to provide language supports. Most LEAs plan to assess children’s learning using locally based assessments in TK and kindergarten, while fewer than a third plan to use established preschool assessments.

    In 2021, California committed to providing universal prekindergarten (UPK) for all 4-year-olds and income-eligible 3-year-olds by 2025–26. UPK includes several early learning programs, including transitional kindergarten (TK), the California State Preschool Program (CSPP), Head Start, and expanded learning opportunities to provide full-day early learning and care. TK is the only program that is free and universally available as part of California’s public education system. Offered by local education agencies (LEAs), TK currently serves all 4-year-olds who turn 5 between September 2 and December 2 and will expand to all 4-year-olds by 2025–26. The legislature also made new investments in CSPP, a program for income-eligible 3- and 4-year-old children. Funding for CSPP is provided by the state through grants to both LEAs and community-based organizations.

    This report provides a snapshot of 1,108 LEAs’ initial plans for UPK expansion through the analysis of a survey administered by the California Department of Education in August 2022. Key findings provide insights into LEA plans for service delivery models, facilities and transportation, instruction and assessment, workforce development, school leader development, and technical assistance needs.

    Universal Prekindergarten Delivery Models

    Over one third of LEAs plan to expand TK eligibility faster than the legislated rollout schedule. A majority of LEAs report plans to offer TK at all elementary school sites, full-day TK options, and expanded learning and care. California LEAs are planning to implement UPK through various combinations of TK, CSPP, Head Start, and expanded learning programs. There was no common model for how LEAs planned to structure TK classes—while many are planning stand-alone TK classes, many others plan to combine TK with kindergarten, CSPP, and/or locally funded preschool.

    Facilities and Transportation

    About two thirds of LEAs indicate having sufficient facility space to meet projected TK enrollment, though more than half of LEAs intend to update their buildings and grounds to accommodate young learners. Many LEAs also express a need for facilities funding and guidance. Although not required by law, just under half of LEAs plan to provide some form of transportation for TK students.

    Instruction and Assessment

    A majority of LEAs plan to offer English-only instruction with home-language support for multilingual learners and/or dual language programs; however, almost one fifth have no plans to provide language supports. Most LEAs plan to assess children’s learning using locally based assessments in TK and kindergarten, while fewer than a third plan to use established preschool assessments.

    Workforce Development

    Approximately four fifths of LEAs report not having enough qualified staff to teach TK. LEAs plan to use a variety of strategies to develop their TK and CSPP workforce; common strategies include partnering with local institutions of higher education or county offices and offering advising.

    Supporting School Leaders

    Almost all LEAs indicate plans to provide principals and site leaders with professional development to prepare them to educate young learners. The most common topics LEAs plan to provide for school leaders include academic and social-emotional development, inclusive settings, and curriculum.

    Technical Assistance Needs

    LEAs express broad interest in all forms of technical assistance: program planning; partnerships; facilities; curriculum, instruction, and assessment; workforce recruitment and development; and professional development. The area of greatest interest is professional learning.

    Large District Approaches to UPK


    In 2021, California committed to providing universal prekindergarten (UPK) for all 4-year-olds and income-eligible 3-year-olds by 2025–26. UPK includes several early learning programs, including transitional kindergarten (TK), the California State Preschool Program (CSPP), Head Start, and expanded learning opportunities to provide full-day early learning and care. TK is the only program that is free and universally available as part of California’s public education system. Offered by local education agencies (LEAs), TK currently serves all 4-year-olds who turn 5 between September 2 and December 2 and will expand to all 4-year-olds by 2025–26. The legislature also made new investments in CSPP, a program for income-eligible 3- and 4-year-old children. Funding for CSPP is provided by the state through grants to both LEAs and community-based organizations.

    This report provides a snapshot of 1,108 LEAs’ initial plans for UPK expansion through the analysis of a survey administered by the California Department of Education in August 2022. Key findings provide insights into LEA plans for service delivery models, facilities and transportation, instruction and assessment, workforce development, school leader development, and technical assistance needs.

    Universal Prekindergarten Delivery Models

    Over one third of LEAs plan to expand TK eligibility faster than the legislated rollout schedule. A majority of LEAs report plans to offer TK at all elementary school sites, full-day TK options, and expanded learning and care. California LEAs are planning to implement UPK through various combinations of TK, CSPP, Head Start, and expanded learning programs. There was no common model for how LEAs planned to structure TK classes—while many are planning stand-alone TK classes, many others plan to combine TK with kindergarten, CSPP, and/or locally funded preschool.

    Facilities and Transportation

    About two thirds of LEAs indicate having sufficient facility space to meet projected TK enrollment, though more than half of LEAs intend to update their buildings and grounds to accommodate young learners. Many LEAs also express a need for facilities funding and guidance. Although not required by law, just under half of LEAs plan to provide some form of transportation for TK students.

    Instruction and Assessment

    A majority of LEAs plan to offer English-only instruction with home-language support for multilingual learners and/or dual language programs; however, almost one fifth have no plans to provide language supports. Most LEAs plan to assess children’s learning using locally based assessments in TK and kindergarten, while fewer than a third plan to use established preschool assessments.

    Workforce Development

    Approximately four fifths of LEAs report not having enough qualified staff to teach TK. LEAs plan to use a variety of strategies to develop their TK and CSPP workforce; common strategies include partnering with local institutions of higher education or county offices and offering advising.

    Supporting School Leaders

    Almost all LEAs indicate plans to provide principals and site leaders with professional development to prepare them to educate young learners. The most common topics LEAs plan to provide for school leaders include academic and social-emotional development, inclusive settings, and curriculum.

    Technical Assistance Needs

    LEAs express broad interest in all forms of technical assistance: program planning; partnerships; facilities; curriculum, instruction, and assessment; workforce recruitment and development; and professional development. The area of greatest interest is professional learning.

    Large District Approaches to UPK

    California’s four largest districts—educating over 800,000 students (14% of state enrollment)—are planning to roll out TK quickly and comprehensively. All plan to offer early admittance TK, full-day TK, and dual language programs, and they all plan to use established early childhood assessments. However, all indicate a need for more qualified TK teachers and plan to partner with local institutions of higher education. Additionally, the four large districts plan to maintain or expand other UPK options such as CSPP.

    These findings may help policymakers and practitioners identify areas for additional investments and supports during UPK implementation, although we note several data limitations and caution that initial UPK plans may have shifted over the course of the 2022–23 school year. As California moves forward with the expansion of universal prekindergarten, more research and data collection will be needed.

    How Are California School Districts Planning for Universal Prekindergarten? Results From a 2022 Survey by Melanie Leung-Gagné, Victoria Wang, Hanna Melnick, and Chris Mauerman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

    This research was supported by the Ballmer Group, Heising-Simons Foundation, and David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Additional core operating support for LPI is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Sandler Foundation, and MacKenzie Scott. We are grateful to them for their generous support. The ideas voiced here are those of the authors and not those of our funders.


  • 05/15/2023 10:24 AM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Report questions future of the California public education system

    WEDNESDAY
    MAY 11, 2022
    8:58 AM
    KAREN D'SOUZA

    REPUBLISH

    The sustainability of the state’s public education system is questioned in a new report from the Berkeley Institute for Young Americans. Part of the California 100 initiative, administered by the Goldman School of Public Policy, the report finds that long-term structural challenges in the state’s finance system, combined with flaws in education governance, threaten the long-term outlook of public education. 

    The analysis examines how California manages and funds the early care and education (ECE), K-12, and higher education systems, to assess the strengths and shortcomings of the system. Two main structural issues in the finance system emerge. These include the inadequacy of the formula to determine funding levels in ECE, K-12, or higher education and the instability of the education finance system, which may falter during recessions, fueling dramatic losses. 

    “California has historically underinvested in all parts of the education system, and we all begrudgingly live with the results – not enough subsidized child care seats, low levels of academic achievement in K-12, and rising tuition across higher education institutions,” said Erin Heys, the principal investigator of the project. “Lawmakers today are trying to make up for past underinvestment by using multi-year state budget surpluses to better fund each sector. The problem is that much of the new funding is one-time rather than ongoing, which means that the new money schools and colleges have now will be at risk in a future downturn. This rollercoaster of funding has gone on for far too long. To secure the longevity and success of public education in California, lawmakers must invest in the adequacy and sustainability of the finance system.”

    Looking ahead, the rise of alternative education models must also be grappled with, researchers suggest.

    “As California sits at the crossroads of change, this report is intended to be a conversation starter for stakeholders to consider what education might look like in California a century from now,” said Sarah Swanbeck, executive director of the Berkeley Institute for Young Americans and co-author of the report.  “Alternative education models are taking root in California today that put into question the longevity of the public system, but there are important tradeoffs that need serious consideration. We encourage readers to consider how student equity, education quality, and the democratic purposes of education are represented in different models and what reforms, if any, may be necessary to steer the system towards a brighter future.”


  • 04/20/2023 3:04 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    National wave of anti-CRT measures trickles into California schools

    UCLA researchers expect more measures limiting instruction on race and racism this year

    RACE AND EQUITY

    APRIL 20, 2023
    DIANA LAMBERT

    REPUBLISH

    CREDIT: ALLISON SHELLEY FOR AMERICAN EDUCATION

    A middle schooler walks by a Black History Month display on her way to class.

    A national conservative movement to limit the teaching of race and racism is finding its way into California schools, leading to worry that teachers are being muzzled.

    Elected officials nationwide introduced at least 563 measures to restrict teaching about race in 2021 and 2022, and 241 of those passed, according to “CRT Forward: Tracking the Attack on Critical Race Theory,” a recently released report from the UCLA School of Law. Almost all the measures impacted K-12 education, and 70% sought to control teaching and curriculum in the classroom. The most common consequence for a breach was withholding funding.

    “We are now living in a country where books and ideas can be banned in the name of freedom and censorship can be applauded as a means to combat indoctrination, and teachers can be fired for trying to teach any idea that someone deems divisive,” said Cheryl Harris, vice dean for community, equality and justice at UCLA Law during a webinar last week.

    Sixty percent of the anti-CRT measures were adopted in conservative, or red states, according to LaToya Baldwin Clark, a co-author of the report.

    California remains solidly blue, but arguments over the teaching of so-called critical race theory can be heard in some red areas of the state.

    In California Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified, Visalia Unified, Paso Robles Joint Unified, Temecula Valley Unified, Ramona Unified and Newport-Mesa Unified collectively passed seven measures restricting instruction about race. Four additional measures were introduced in California school districts but not approved.

    The state and local measures almost always invoke critical race theory, a college-level theory seldom taught in K-12 education. It examines how laws, regulations and government practices have perpetuated racial injustice. The theory is not included in California’s voluntary state model curriculum and is only taught in a handful of districts that have adopted an alternative curriculum promoted by the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Consortium, a group of ethnic studies professors and high school teachers.

    Critical race theory is often confused with culturally relevant teaching, according to the California School Boards Association.

    “These measures purport to ban things like saying anyone should feel guilty or responsible for the past or the present, or that the United States is fundamentally racist,” Clark said.

    Critical race theory is now being used to describe anti-gender measures as well as social-emotional learning, according to the researchers.

    “In the K-12 context, it’s kind of a boogeyman,” Harris said. “It’s a made-up version. Nobody is teaching this version of CRT and yet it’s all traveling under the same sort of umbrella heading.”

    Conservative groups like Reform California are encouraging more school boards to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory and “to demand an honest and balanced view of U.S. history be taught to our children.”

    The anti-critical race theory movement was a backlash to demands for racial justice and equality after the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020, Clark said.

    “Looking at it in that context, I think we need to understand that this is really about resisting racial progress, not necessarily about CRT,” she said.

    Many of the measures opposing critical race theory repeat language in a September 2020 executive order signed by former President Donald Trump. The order banned the federal government and its contractors from offering employee diversity training based on race or gender that the administration deemed “divisive.” The executive order was rescinded by President Joe Biden in 2021.

    School officials of both Temecula Unified, in Riverside County, and Paso Robles Joint Unified, in San Luis Obispo County, used similar language as that in the executive order when they wrote measures that referred to critical race theory as a divisive ideology that can result in racial guilt. Both school districts end their resolutions with the same provision, that the theory can be included in classroom discussion as long as that instruction focuses on its flaws.

    In Temecula, teachers filled an auditorium in last December to protest the resolution, according to The Mercury News. Union President Edgar Diaz called the resolutions “vague” and a “lightning-rod issue” for education, according to the article written by the Southern California News Group.

    The Ramona Unified School District in San Diego used much of the same language in a civic education policy its school board passed on Aug. 12, 2021. The measure prohibits schools from using curriculum or teachers from teaching that one particular race is superior or inherently racist, sexist or oppressive. It prohibits instruction that would make a student feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress” on account of his or her race or sex.

    Last April, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified passed a policy prohibiting teachers from talking about critical race theory or using it as a framework to teach about race. The board doubled down in June with a resolution on the teaching of “controversial issues,” requiring teachers to address all sides of the issue when presenting educational information.

    School board President Carrie Buck and board member Karin Freeman voted against the resolution, calling it censorship, according to the Voice of OC.

    “At its worst, this resolution positions our educational program for abridgment of free speech and the creation of censorship and bans. This change creates obstacles and impediments for students’ success,” Freeman said in the article. “I anticipate that the curriculum will suffer the consequence of dumbing down.”

    “Our goal should never be to graduate modern-day Rip Van Winkles,” she said.

    In 2021 the Visalia Unified school board voted against a motion to renew a charter school’s Newsela subscription. The platform provides news articles on topics like social studies and science customized to each student’s grade level. Some of the same board members who voted to renew the subscription two years earlier called it biased and said it teaches critical race theory, according to the UCLA report.

    In July 2021 Newport-Mesa Unified School District paused anti-bias training put in place in 2019 after an antisemitic incident involving students after the Newport Harbor Republican Women and some parents campaigned against it.

    Two months later the board voted to renew a revised contract for foundational anti-bias training for staff but exclude advanced training that would have explored the dynamics of power, privilege and perspective, according to the district agenda. Students would only receive training if they volunteer.

    John Brazelton says anti-CRT sentiment hasn’t impacted him much as a science teacher at Newport Harbor High School, but it has had a chilling effect on other teachers.

    “People aren’t teaching everything they did before,” he said.

    Brazelton, who retires next year, says teachers aren’t valued in the current climate.

    “Teachers are being accused of indoctrinating kids and not being trustworthy in terms of what curriculum to teach and what books we choose to have students learn,” he said. “But then some talking heads are saying we should be packing heat in the classroom. Are we trustworthy or not? Are we valued or not? I haven’t heard of any students being killed by reading the wrong novel.”

    In 2021, the California Teachers Association provided guidance to its members about how to deal with politically motivated attacks on racial equity in schools, including avoiding the academic term critical race theory.

    “The phrase, unfamiliar to most audiences, has been redefined by the political right as an all-purpose dog whistle. Talk instead about the more honest and more complete education our students deserve,” the guidance says.

    The National Council for the Social Studies weighed in on the debate in 2021: “Critical race theory has been used by some as an argument to ban the teaching of such concepts as race, racism, white supremacy, equity, justice and social-emotional learning, as well as to limit the teaching of content such as slavery, Black history, women’s suffrage, and civil rights. Efforts to ban these topics aim to eliminate any discussion of race or the historical roots of racism in our classrooms. The accurate and truthful representation of historical events is necessary and beneficial for all students to learn.”

    ​​According to the UCLA report, government officials nationally are on pace to introduce as many anti-critical race theory measures this year as in the previous two years.  In response, the CRT Forward Tracking Project will develop model legislation and school policies that lawmakers and school board members could use to ensure history is taught accurately, Harris said.

    The American Civil Liberties Union also is pushing back against measures to limit teaching about race and racism, filing lawsuits on behalf of students, teachers and university professors. Its lawyers have argued that the measures violate students’ First Amendment rights and are so vaguely written that teachers and students can’t understand what is prohibited and what is allowed, said Emerson Sykes, an attorney for the ACLU.

    “We need universities to nurture new ideas, challenging ideas (and to) challenge norms,” Sykes said. “It’s not the role of a state legislature to reach into a college classroom and tell professors what ideas they can and cannot teach.”


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