ASCD California


<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
  • 10/23/2018 1:26 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    CA, feds in new fight over how to classify English learners

    by Tom Chorneau

    (Calif.) The Brown administration is pushing forward on a novel approach to serving California’s 1.3 million students that are not proficient in English—a strategy that has already been rejected by the U.S. Department of Education.

    At issue is a long-standing dilemma facing policy-makers trying to keep track of the progress schools are making in bringing English learners into full proficiency.

    For full article please click on the link.

  • 09/17/2018 9:01 AM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Multifaceted reforms needed to reach California’s education goals, research project finds | EdSource

    John Fensterwald
    September 17, 2018

    Credit: Alison Yin for EdSource Today

    Researchers on Monday released a massive collection of education studies timed to inform the next California governor’s and Legislature’s preK-12 agenda.

    To learn more

    EdSource’s Essential Guide to Getting Down To Facts II summarizes 36 studies under 19 topics. Go here.

    Among the findings of Getting Down to Facts II:

    • The big achievement gap for California’s low- and middle-income children relative to their peers in other states starts in kindergarten, indicating a need to significantly expand preschool and quality child care.
    • California would have to increase K-12 funding by 32 percent — $22 billion — to prepare all children adequately in the state’s academic standards, according to experienced educators and analysts who did the math.
    • California has fewer adults in schools, with higher ratios of students to teachers, administrators and counselors than in most states.
    • The lack of effective data systems is preventing schools and districts from determining which programs and practices are effective and which aren’t.
    • California provides fewer general physical health and mental health services than almost any other state.
    • Principals with the least experience are assigned disproportionately to the lowest-achieving schools. Nearly three-quarters of school districts report teacher openings they can’t fill,  with the most severe shortages in special education, math, and science.

    Two years in the making, Getting Down to Facts II consists of 36 reports and 19 briefs by more than 100 authors, including many prominent researchers from California. They took deep looks into a range of long-standing and pressing issues: the teacher shortage, inadequate funding, disparities in achievement, charter school oversight and English learner achievement. They examined unmet challenges in special education, school facilities, children’s mental health and other issues. Stanford University and Policy Analysis for California Education or PACE, which is affiliated with Stanford, USC, UC Davis, UCLA and UC Berkeley, coordinated the project.

    The research comes at a pivotal time, with the retirement of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Gov. Jerry Brown and longtime Brown confidant Michael Kirst, president of the State Board of Education. Sweeping changes they initiated have altered the K-12 landscape since the first Getting Down to Facts studies were published in 2007.

    In surveys detailed in the studies, educators argued strongly that California should stay committed to the major reforms already in place. These reforms include academic standards in math, English language arts and other subject areas; a funding formula championed by Gov. Brown that targets more funding to low-income students, English learners and other high needs students; and a new school accountability system that views counties and the state as partners with schools and districts, not overseers. Three-quarters of superintendents agreed that the new flexibility under the Local Control Funding Formula has enabled their district to spend in ways that match local needs.

    But the funding formula, which remade school funding and shifted decision-making over how state funds are spent, has yet to significantly narrow the wide gaps in achievement among ethnic and racial groups in California. And California students, with the exception of wealthy children, continue to lag a full grade behind the nation, according to a study led by Sean Reardon, an education professor at Stanford University.

    There are some hopeful signs. Reardon did find that low-income elementary and middle school students in California have improved in reading slightly faster than low-income students nationwide. And a study led by Rucker Johnson, a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, found a correlation between extra spending under the funding formula on poor children and improvements in their graduation rates and reading scores. That research could not document how the extra money made a difference.

    But the studies underscored that the principal goal of the funding formula — to give all students the opportunity and resources to achieve their post-high school ambitions — may be unattainable without not only additional funding but also policy changes, including:

    Christopher Edley, president and co-founder of the Opportunity Institute, criticized the state’s hands-off approach to overseeing spending under the Local Control Funding Formula. While state leaders say this is to encourage innovation, “aspirational goals for innovation without adequate guidance may put some of our most vulnerable students at risk of not receiving the resources that they desperately need,” he writes in a paper “Education Equity in California.”

    Advocates for building stronger data systems to track student progress and greatly expanding early childhood education programs have made little headway while Brown has been governor. Getting Down to Facts II documents the case to make them the next governor’s priorities.

    Reardon’s study of academic achievement of California students found that wealthy students perform as well as their peers nationally, but California’s low-income students lag a grade behind the national average for low-income students. The challenge, based on a comparison of a common kindergarten readiness assessment, is that the achievement gap in California already exists on the first day of school.

    “The skills gap found at kindergarten entry suggests that California’s lag in academic achievement arises before children even enter the schoolhouse door,” Reardon wrote.

    Reardon’s research doesn’t indicate whether the gap reflects less access to preschool and child care programs or the poorer quality of programs attended by low income children. But seven studies of early childhood education led by Deborah Stipek, professor and former dean of Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, conclude it’s both. They describe multiple challenges in early education in California, among them:

    • High costs to parents: Child care costs consume on average a third of the median income of a single parent.
    • Low pay to workers: 58 percent of child care workers qualify for public assistance.
    • Training requirements for early childhood teachers are among the lowest in the nation.
    • Insufficient regulation: Low-income children comprise 90 percent of children in unlicensed child care programs.

    Just addressing one factor in isolation won’t solve the problem, Stipek said in an interview.

    Better data

    Expanding the use of data and linking data systems from preschool to higher education with state agencies like the Commission on Teacher Credentialing were among the key points in the first Getting Down to Facts reports a decade ago. Getting Down to Facts II not only renews the call but warns that the state’s emphasis on local control will fail without data that can inform teachers, parents and policy makers in Sacramento about what’s working in their districts and others statewide.

    The state’s “patchwork” of data systems “do not provide satisfactory answers to the state’s most important policy questions,” authors of a study on data write. The California Department of Education “does not have the capacity to use the data effectively to guide policy decisions,” a summary paper says. Stanford research professor Macke Raymond, who said a failure to get access to data prevented her from updating her study on charter schools, was among the researchers who cited data limitations affecting their own work. The authors of a study on career technical education said that more than half of high schools are offering a career pathway program but it is hard to gauge their impact because of the state’s data limitations.

    Adequate spending

    A key question addressed by Jesse Levin, a principal research economist with the American Institutes for Research, and his fellow researchers was: How much would it cost California taxpayers to provide schools with the resources needed for students to achieve proficiency on state standards and prepare students to succeed after high school? They turned to two panels of superintendents, principals, teachers, business administrators, specialists on English learners and on students with disabilities.

    Their answer is that “adequate” annual funding would cost $91.8 billion. That is $22.1 billion more than the $69.7 billion spent by the state in 2016-17. If spending increased by that amount, it would raise average per-student spending by about $4,000 per year, to $16,800 per student — a 32 percent increase and more than that in districts with the most low-income students.

    Those hoping this new research initiative will guide state policy can point to its predecessor, the first Getting Down to Facts, although it took the election of a new governor, following a huge recession, to see its full impact. One study in 2007 proposed a weighted pupil funding formula, which would allocate state education funds based on the needs of different groups of students. Michael Kirst was one of the co-authors. That idea emerged as a central element in the Local Control Funding Formula approved by the Legislature in 2013, with Brown and Kirst, who Brown appointed president of the State Board of Education, as champions. Consolidating dozens of state programs restricted to specific funding areas — another recommendation of the first Getting Down to Facts — paid for the funding formula.

    Many of the researchers in the current Getting Down to Facts project also contributed to the earlier effort, as did some of the current project’s seven funders: Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, Silver Giving Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Stuart Foundation, Haas, Jr. Fund and Heising-Simons Foundation.

    Susanna Loeb, formerly with Stanford University and now the director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and professor of education at Brown University, was the principal investigator for the 2007 Getting Down To Facts report and provided guidance and oversight for the research team of Getting Down to Facts II. Heather Hough, recently named executive director of Policy Analysis for California Education, which is affiliated with Stanford, also coordinated the release.

    EdSource receives support from a dozen philanthropic foundations, including several that funded the Getting Down to Facts II initiative. Editorial decision-making and content remain under the sole control of EdSource.

  • 09/14/2018 12:39 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    California Practitioners Advisory Group

    The State Board of Education (SBE) is currently seeking applications to fill two positions on the California Practitioners Advisory Group (CPAG), to provide input to the SBE on ongoing efforts to establish a single coherent local, state, and federal accountability system. The advisory committee serves as the state’s committee of practitioners under federal Title I requirements.
    All applicants must currently meet one or more of the practitioner categories listed below:
    [cid:image001.gif@01D44C1D.46782AF0]       Charter School leaders
    [cid:image001.gif@01D44C1D.46782AF0]       Principals and other school leaders
    [cid:image001.gif@01D44C1D.46782AF0]       Teachers from traditional public schools

    The SBE office will accept applications that are received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 5, 2018. Information about the application process may be found at

  • 09/12/2018 4:13 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Teleconference with Web Conference Slide Presentation and Q&A Session on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, 9:30 a.m. PDT  

    Please see link below:  

    SACRAMENTO, Calif.Sept. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —

  • 08/17/2018 12:09 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    The Los Angeles County Office of Education
    is proud to announce

    California to Provide Statewide K-12 Online Content for Schools

    At No Cost!

    California is now offering, at no cost to local schools, districts or students, three online databases for use by every K-12 school and student in the state beginning this fall, the California State Library announced today.

    Online content from Encyclopedia Britannica, ProQuest and will be available – at school, at home, in libraries, on laptops, on phones -- to all K-12 educators, students, librarians and administrators in the state.

    Learn More:


  • 08/17/2018 12:07 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    The Troubling Student-to-Counselor Ratio That Doesn't Add Up

    By Alanna Fuschillo

    August 14, 2018



    As students plan for what comes after high school, they need more support

    Nationwide, public school counselors are overworked and under-resourced. The average student-to-school-counselor ratio is 482-to-1—nearly double the 250-to-1 ratio recommended by the American School Counselor Association. In fact, only three states—New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wyoming—have statewide averages that fall at or below the recommended ratio.

    The impact—or lack thereof—that school counselors have on students is easiest to understand in the high school context, where students face an increasingly dizzying array of choices about what comes next after high school.

    There are more types of colleges with more specialties than ever before. For students looking for something other than the four-year college track, apprenticeships are gaining prominence once again. According to some, credential-based or technical-skill-focused modules are the new ticket to the middle class.

    But even if high school students settle on a traditional college path, more questions follow: If they choose college, what kind of college—community or four-year? Is there a scholarship for that? And does anybody know how to fill out a FAFSA? (That’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid.) And would a 16-year-old know she needed one without a counselor?

    Without knowing their options, students inadvertently may miss out on the best path forward or simply make no choice at all. Unfortunately, some counselors are so overworked that they themselves may struggle to stay abreast of the latest trends and programs available.

    “Many school counselors do their best, but no number of early mornings and office night shifts can fully make up for too little money and a lack of administrative support.”

    Students fortunate enough to have engaged parents or other trusted adults in their lives to help them navigate their school years may not be harmed by a lack of in-school supports. Not every student needs the same level of attention. However, as is too often the case when it comes to school resources, the students who most need assistance often attend schools with the fewest supports. For low-income students or those who are the first in their families to attend college, the availability of good counseling can determine if they understand their options and are prepared to make informed choices.

    To top it off, while many believe the school counselor’s core function is to shepherd students into either college or career, counselors are also responsible for helping students manage their social-emotional health throughout their school years. Yet only a fraction of the up to 1 in 5 children who exhibit symptoms of a mental-health disorder receive help.

    Professionals, such as school psychologists, dedicated to addressing mental-health issues are in short supply in school districts across the nation and often work across two or more schools. That means the average school counselor is often the first point of contact for addressing students’ social-emotional concerns, academic readiness, and career- and college-counseling needs.

    Counselors help students navigate a laundry list of issues that need to be addressed if students are going to make a successful transition to “what comes next.” They might discuss students’ interests and reviewing class schedules, help students cope with issues at home, and connect students in need of long-term mental-health support to the appropriate outside resources.

    All of that requires time—the one thing that the average school counselor must severely ration. Many school counselors do their best, but no number of early mornings and office night shifts can fully make up for too little money and a lack of administrative support. The fact is that even the most dedicated, high-quality professionals can’t give every student the necessary attention when juggling an unmanageable workload.

    What steps, then, should we ask our school leaders and policymakers to take?

    Starting at the district level, one option is for school leaders to monitor how existing counselors use their time. Advocates for the school counseling profession find that some counselors’ time is monopolized by data entry and administrative tasks that could be handled by office personnel. Freeing counselors’ time so they can focus more on providing the counseling they were trained to provide might not lessen their workload but would ensure they have more time to devote to students.

    At the state level, legislators could mandate manageable caseloads for counselors and ensure a minimum level of access to counselors. Not every state requires that school counseling be available to students (particularly at the elementary level), and even fewer have instituted a cap on student-to-counselor ratios.

    A mandate, of course, requires additional state resources. Some schools have adequate funding to support a more robust counselor workforce if they reallocate existing resources. But that is not true for all schools, some of which are severely resource-constrained.

    Federal policymakers can help fill that resource gap. Currently, federal funding for school counseling is funneled through the Student Support and Academic Enrichment, or SSAE, program, a flexible block-grant program that replaces several targeted grants, including one for elementary and secondary school counseling. It is up to states to decide if they will prioritize school counseling programs when distributing funds to schools.

    Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education’s 2019 budget proposed eliminating the SSAE, which would have left states with no choice in the matter. Thankfully, Congress instead increased SSAE funding, providing $1.1 billion for the grants in this fiscal year’s omnibus spending bill, a drastic improvement from the $400 million appropriated for the previous year. But ensuring school counselors have the time, money, and support they need to be an effective resource for their students requires sustained funding, which is why the Education Department’s budget request remains alarming.

    State legislators and the federal Education Department should allocate more resources to schools, not fewer. If you’re looking for evidence of this fact, just ask a school counselor—if you can find one.

    Alanna Fuschillo was a researcher at the Committee for Economic Development, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public-policy organization that conducts research-based analysis, from July 2017 through July 2018.

  • 06/04/2018 6:18 AM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    “Silent Recession: Why California School Districts Are Underwater Despite Increases in Funding” is a new report by the Comprehensive School Assistance Program at the nonprofit research organization WestEd. It examines the fiscal pressures, such as rising pension and special education costs, that are swamping many California school districts, despite funding increases under the Local Control Funding Formula. Authors Kelsey Krausen and Jason Willis suggest strategies to prioritize spending, and present a framework of tradeoffs and choices for school leaders to consider. Go here for the report.

  • 05/15/2018 12:19 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    By Moriah Balingit

    Pencils, pens, crayons, construction paper, T-shirts, snacks and, sometimes, a pair of shoes: The costs add up for public school teachers who reach into their own pockets for classroom supplies, ensuring their students have the necessities of learning.

    Nearly all teachers are footing the bill for classroom supplies, an Education Department report found, and teachers in high-poverty schools spend more than those in affluent schools.

    The report, prepared by the National Center for Education Statistics and released Tuesday, is based on a nationally representative survey of teachers during the 2015-2016 school year. It found that 94 percent of teachers pay for classroom supplies, spending an average of $479 a year. About 7 percent of teachers spend more than $1,000 a year.

    Keep Reading

    The report was released as Arizona, Oklahoma and West Virginia continue to feel the aftershocks from teacher protests over low pay and cuts to school spending that shut down schools for days.

    The cost can be especially burdensome for teachers who make meager salaries and live paycheck to paycheck. Even in places such as Oklahoma, where educators are among the lowest-paid in the nation, teachers still reach in to their pockets to make up for budget shortfalls that have stripped resources from schools. One Tulsa teacher last year resorted to panhandling to pay for school supplies.

    According to the federal report, elementary school teachers spent an average of $526, more than high school teachers. But no group shelled out more than teachers at schools with a high number of students living in poverty. Teachers who worked at schools where more than 75 percent of children qualify for free meals spent an average of $554 annually for supplies.

    Nationally, more than half of public school students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, a rough proxy for poverty. And with the number of poor students growing, families are less able to furnish supplies for classrooms or for their children than they were in the past.

    The practice is so widespread that schools have come to rely on educators furnishing their classrooms. Congress in 2002 passed a measure giving teachers a $250 tax deduction for classroom supply spending.

    Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who helped create that deduction, said last year that the deduction represented a “small token of appreciation” for teachers.

    “At virtually every school, I have met teachers who are spending money out of their own pockets to benefit their students,” Collins said.

    A GOP tax proposal threatened to eliminate the deduction, but after an outcry Congress preserved it. Now, House Democrats are sponsoring an effort to expand the deduction to $500. Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.) said expanding the deduction is critical in an age when teacher pay in many states has stagnated.

    “In spite of tight classroom budgets, limited education resources and low pay, educators take hundreds of dollars out of their pockets to purchase supplies for their students to ensure every child has the resources they need to learn and succeed,” Brown said Monday in a news release. “Increasing this deduction acknowledges the importance of their work, is a small ‘thank you’ for the counselors, principals and teachers who make financial sacrifices to benefit their students, and helps achieve the outcomes we want for all our kids.”

  • 05/10/2018 5:25 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

    Mandy Manning, a high school teacher from Spokane, Washington, has been named the 2018 National Teacher of the Year

    What it means: An 18-year veteran educator, Manning teaches new immigrants and refugees English at Joel E. Ferris High School. She was selected from among the 54 state teachers of the year, including those from U.S. territories and the Department of Defense schools. Manning will spend the next year on a national and international tour speaking on behalf and representing teachers and the best of the teaching profession.
    Why it matters: During a White House ceremony honoring Manning and all the state teachers of the year, Manning delivered handwritten letters from her students to President Trump. Though her award speech in the East Room was not open to the press as in years past, Manning afterward said, "My goal is to share my students' stories. My aim is to elevate my students' voices and be that vehicle for them. To send a message -- to not only my immigrant and refugee students but the LGBT community -- that they are wanted, they are loved, they are enough, and they matter.”

<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 

Are you a member of California ASCD?

CASCD members are active and involved in the changing face of education.  Join CASCD and become empowered with innovative solutions to support the success of all learners.   Sign up to become a member or renew your membership today!

Learn More

ASCD CaliforniaPhone: (530) 520-9412
Mailing: PO Box 1841
Oroville, CA 95965

The California Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (CASCD) is a diverse community of educators throughout California committed to promoting exemplary practices that ensure all learners reach their fullest potential.


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software