2012 was a banner year for EdSource. The following are some of the highlights from the past year:
Launched EdSource Today, our new online education news platform. With its frequent daily reports on current issues, EdSource Today has substantially raised EdSource's profile in the policy making community in Sacramento and beyond. John Fensterwald, the founder of Thoughts in Public Education (TOP-Ed) and Kathryn Baron, two of the most respected voices in education journalism, are leading this effort.
Produced an innovative infographic to explain the similarities and differences between Propositions 30 and 38 on the November 2012 ballot. The infographic circulated widely in social media and websites. Thousands of voters downloaded it on the night before the election.
Moved our offices to Oakland in order to work more closely with the broad range of education and child-oriented organizations located there, and closer to the policy centers in Sacramento.
Released a path-breaking Schools Under Stress report documenting the multiple internal and external stresses on California's 30 largest districts.
Hosted a landmark symposium in collaboration with the California State PTA on the impact of the economic crisis, and specifically of housing foreclosures and parental unemployment, on students' ability to excel in school.
Conducted a first-of-its-kind survey of discipline policies in more than 300 California school districts with combined enrollments of over 4 million students on school discipline policies in the state.
Documented in our report, Passing When It Counts, the high failure rates in college-level math courses at community colleges that present a major impediment to college completion.
Produced several additional reports on what California's community colleges can learn from other states in developing common diagnostic assessments to place students in classes they have the most potential to succeed in; the impact of budget cuts on adult schools; and the policy and practical challenges for teaching math in California preschools.
Continued our work on the Ed-Data website, the extraordinary state resource providing a wealth of information on demographic, financial, and performance data for every public school and school district in the state. EdSource, along with the California Department of Education and FCMAT, is a founding partner of Ed-Data, and we continue to explore ways to make the data more accessible and useful to all Californians.
We will build on these efforts in 2013, and plan to:
Contribute to efforts to achieve a more equitable school finance system—at the same time we highlight the disparities in education funding between California and the rest of the nation.
Examine the most promising ways to reform conflicting federal and state accountability systems, including new strategies for assessing student performance in science.
Highlight the best ideas for effective teacher preparation, credentialing and retention, to go beyond the more dominant, and narrow, debates on linking teacher evaluations to student test scores.
Help sharpen what is meant by "college and career readiness," a central focus of school reform proposals at a state and national level.
Examine the effectiveness of efforts in Los Angeles and other urban districts to expand learning time during the regular school day and year, and beyond.
Host our annual symposium, this year on May 4th in San Jose. The theme of the event, held again in partnership with the California State PTA, will be "Transforming Public Education: What's Next for Students, Teachers and Schools."
Add two new full-time reporters to EdSource Today -- one focusing on early childhood education, and another on "student wellness" issues. As far as we know, they will be the only "beats" like these in California and perhaps the nation.
In all our work, EdSource has been able to maintain its independence and objectivity, which is one of the primary reasons it still earns the respect of educators, policy makers, and the wider public.
But without the support of our funders, none of our work would be possible.
Foundations that have continued to support our work include the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, the Stuart Foundation, and The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation. Several increased their level of support over the past year.
We were also able to attract support from new foundations, principally The California Endowment, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the Walter S. Johnson Foundation.
Based on a highly competitive process, we were honored to be selected as one of 17 partner organizations underwritten by the California Education Policy Fund, a sponsored project of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers.