Getting From Facts to Policy
On October 19, 2007 EdSource hosted a California Education Policy Convening in Sacramento. The purpose of this event was to provide a forum for a wide variety of education stakeholders to describe their policy suggestions and to hear the suggestions of others.
Prior to the convening, more than 50 individuals, organizations, and coalitions submitted policy briefs to be shared at the convening. Those policy briefs are available below.
Synthesis of Issues and Topics
To get a broader view of the ideas and issues raised by the policy briefs, see the Synthesis of Policy Recommendations,
prepared by Mary Perry of EdSource and Scott Joftus of Cross &
Joftus, LLC, which provides an overview of the topics and themes
covered by the briefs.
To help set the stage for the discussions, Cross & Joftus, LLC, an education policy consulting firm, presented a framing paper, which draws on findings from the Getting Down to Facts research studies as well as other existing research and data about California. It also describes
aspects of California's current finance, governance, personnel and data
systems, which the authors suggest should be re-examined to make
schools work better. Cross & Joftus,
in partnership with CIF, is working to help Californians develop,
communicate, and advocate for comprehensive research-based policies
that will strengthen the state's education system.
The briefs are presented here exactly as they were submitted to EdSource and they reflect the opinions and perspectives of the submitting organizations, not necessarily those of EdSource, Cross & Joftus, or the funders of the event.
The policy briefs are listed alphbetically by author/organization and can be downloaded free. You can also download the entire "book" of 47 briefs, which was presented to each of the convening attendees. (Please note, this 300-page book is a very large file (7.7 MB) and may take several minutes to download. Click here to download the entire book now.)
Description: This brief recommends policy goals related to working conditions and capacity building for school administrators.
Adams, Jacob, Jr. Founding principal investigator, School Finance Redesign Project. "A Policy Strategy for Funding Student Success."
Description: This brief sets out principals for redesigning education finance to better support student performance goals. It examines policies at the local, state, and federal levels related to aligning resources with instruction, adapting instruction and funding to student need, and meaningful accountability.
Advancement Project. Munger, Molly, et al. "Facilities for Preschool and Early Education."
Description: This brief recommends policy goals for the financing and placement of preschool facilities on elementary school campuses.
AIR, American Institutes for Research. District Practitioner Working Group; California Collaborative on District Reform. “Addressing California’s Data Needs: Implementing Comprehensive, Longitudinal Systems at the Local and State Levels”
Description: This brief recommends specific policy changes for funding and implementing a longitudinal state data system and for state support of local data systems.
AIR, American Institutes for Research. District Practitioner Working Group; California Collaborative on District Reform. “Improving Teacher Quality: Redesigning Personnel Policies to Support Student Achievement.”
Description: This brief recommends specific policy changes related to teacher credentialing, placement incentives for hard-to-staff schools, and timing for teacher tenure. It also recommends increased state support related to teachers’ professional preparation and growth.
AIR, American Institutes for Research. District Practitioner Working Group; California Collaborative on District Reform. "From Compliance to Getting the Job Done: Excessive Regulations vs. Accountability for Results."
Description: This brief sets out overarching principles for state policy related to the governance and finance of California schools.
AIR, American Institutes for Research. District Practitioner Working Group; California Collaborative on District Reform. "The Importance of Systems Alignment: Developing a Coherent Approach to Educational Governance and Finance Reform in California."
Description: This brief sets out overarching principles for state policy related to the governance and finance of California schools.
AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination. Ward, Granger and Laurie Wiebold. “Raising Student Achievement with AVID.”
Description: This brief recommends state support for AVID as a program proven to raise student achievement and increase college attendance rates among underrepresented students.
Bersin, Alan, Michael Kirst, and Goodwin Liu. A project of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity, UC Berkeley. “Getting Beyond The Facts: Reforming California School Finance.”
Description: This brief provides specific recommendations for reforming California’s school finance system. Presented as a preliminary draft, it details a simplified system of revenue allocations based on student needs and regional cost differences. It includes a financial simulation that demonstrates how it could be implemented with new monies going forward, thus not reducing districts’ current allocations.
CBP, California Budget Project. “School Finance Facts.” TOPICS: Required resources, allocation methods, achievement gaps, data needs.
Description: This brief sets out general principles for state policy related to the amount of K-12 funding and resource disparities among districts. It also sets out principles related to an improved state data system and for state support of local data systems.
California Foster Youth Education Task Force. “AB 490 Implementation: Ensuring Successful Education Outcomes for California’s Foster Youth.”
Description: This brief draws attention to the provisions of a 2003 law enacted to address barriers to educational opportunity facing foster youth and highlights shortfalls between legislative intent and current implementation.
California State Legislature Rural Caucus. “School Finance Issues – School Transportation.”
Description: This brief recommends specific policy changes to equitably fund school transportation costs, resulting in an increase in transportation funding for rural school districts.
CASBO, California Association of School Business Officials. TOPICS: Reform priorities related to data, efficiency, funding and governance.
Description: This brief suggests priorities for state policy reforms, including #1 a comprehensive data system; #2 reform of state practices that increase costs and decrease efficiency; #3 sufficient funding; and #4 a redefinition of the state’s governance role.
CBEE, California Business for Education Excellence. “Closing Achievement Gaps at All Grade Levels: The Next Phase for Improving California’s Public Schools.”
Description: This brief suggests general principles related to the state’s accountability system, incentives for performance, and replication of best practices.
CCSESA, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association. TOPICS: School finance (resource generation and allocation), governance, personnel and leadership, and state data systems.
Description: This brief suggests policy goals and makes specific recommendations for increased funding related to specific K-12 services; teacher staffing levels and professional development; administrator staffing levels and professional development; a comprehensive data system; and expanded preschool programs.
CFT, California Federation of Teachers. TOPICS: Funding, leadership, and personnel.
Description: This brief sets out general principles for increasing funding to California schools and improving school principal leadership. It also suggests goals for policy and practice related to teacher induction, working conditions, and compensation.
Children Now. “Children’s Education: The Clear Case For Data Systems Redesign.”
Description: This brief suggests general goals for a comprehensive, integrated, longitudinal state data system. It also recommends overarching themes and specific elements to be included in any effort to improve California’s educational information systems.
College Board. TOPIC: Use of academic rigor to close the achievement gap with emphasis on equity and advocacy.
Description: This brief recommends state policymakers, districts, and schools use the College Readiness System developed by the College Board to ensure that more students are college ready.
ConnectEd, The California Center For College and Career. “Multiple Pathways to Success: Preparing High School Students For College And Career.”
Description: This brief outlines a multiple-pathways approach to improving high schools and suggests policy changes related to teacher preparation and professional development, counseling; administrator professional development, finance, governance, and the state data system.
CSBA, California School Boards Association. “Targeted Reform and Revenue to Improve Student Achievement.”
Description: This brief sets out general principles related to increased funding for public education; a more flexible and predictable system for allocating funds to districts; effective governance by local school boards; and implementation of a statewide data system.
CSDC, Charter Schools Development Center. “Is California Ready for Real Reform? Lessons Learned from the Chartered Schools Sector.”
Description: This brief sets out general principles for “authorizing and supporting radical instructional improvement.” It presents ideas related to charter schools specifically and to the state’s overall system of standards, assessment, finance, and governance.
CSEI, The California Science Education Initiative. “Improving student outcomes in science classrooms through definition of minimum required levels of instructional equipment and materials.”
Description: This brief recommends specific policies related to the materials and teacher professional development needed for science education.
CTA, California Teachers Association. "School Finance Issues."
Description: This brief sets out general principles related to a minimum guarantee and increased funding. It suggests criteria for reforming the current finance system to provide flexibility but with some essential protections and to account for special needs and costs. It also specifically recommends more funding for a program that provides extra resources to the lowest performing schools.
CTA, California Teachers Association. “Promoting Teacher Quality.”
Description: This brief recommends specific policy changes related to pre-service teacher preparation requirements and the improvement of teaching conditions. It also presents a framework for transforming “professional development” into a professional practice model.
EdTrustWest, The Education Trust-West. TOPIC: State data systems.
Description: This brief suggests specific steps for building a comprehensive state data system. It addresses political will, the scope of a “smart” data system, access issues, obstacles to data accuracy, local capacity to use data, and the need for a state data commission. (This brief was corrected on October 31, 2007.)
Full Circle Fund. Camp, Jeff. “Fostering Local Innovation in Differentiated Compensation of Teachers and School Leaders.”
Description: This brief recommends a specific state-sponsored grant program to support districts interested in developing alternative compensation programs for educators using performance-based, skill-based, and job-based compensation approaches.
Gándara, Patricia and Russell Rumberger. Language Minority Research Institute, UC Santa Barbara. “Resources for English Learner Education.”
Description: This brief recommends specific policies targeted to improved instruction for English learners and including teacher preparation and professional development, plus strategies for assessment, curriculum, and education leadership.
HSDA, High School Districts Association. TOPICS: School finance and student achievement.
Description: This brief suggests policy goals for funding high schools based on the higher costs of their programs, and sets out general principles for policies and funding related to the achievement gap, accountability, high school curriculum, transportation, and professional development.
IDEA, UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access. “The Education Bill of Rights: Ensuring All California Students a High Quality Education.”
Description: This brief presents the text of legislation introduced (but not enacted) in 2002, which sought to formalize the educational obligations of state and district officials and create a process whereby they would be more accountable for providing the opportunity to learn to all students.
Inverness Research Associates. St. John, Mark. “Building The Foundation For Raising Student Achievement: Investing In An Improvement Infrastructure.”
Description: This brief sets out principles and policy goals aimed at creating in California the capacity to continuously improve the quality of classroom instruction. It recommends a steady, long-term investment in improvement infrastructures.
Justice Matters and The School Redesign Network at Stanford University. “Policy Lessons from Schools Where Low-Income Students of Color Thrive.”
Description: This brief draws on a study of exemplary high schools serving low-income students of color to recommend policies for supporting these schools and students. The recommendations address teacher preparation and professional development, school leadership, funding levels, funding streams, and funding for higher education.
NCTQ, National Council on Teacher Quality. TOPIC: State data systems.
Description: This brief draws attention to a national database that makes collective bargaining agreements available online.
PACE, Policy Analysis for California Education. Loeb, Susanna and David N. Plank. “Continuous Improvement In California Education: Data Systems and Policy Learning.”
Description: This brief recommends specific legislative actions to support and strengthen the state’s education data system, including its data collection processes, the use of data by local educators, the commitment of resources for evaluation of state policies, and the measurement of improvement in student achievement over time.
PACE, Policy Analysis for California Education. Koppich, Julia E. and Amy Gerstein. “Reshaping Personnel Policies to Improve Student Achievement.”
Description: This brief suggests new policy goals related to the professional roles of school principals and teachers and their compensation. It also addresses principal preparation and professional development, teacher professional development, and evaluation practices. The brief also sets forth principles for state evaluation of programs and the development of a network for sharing successful practices.
Parents and Students for Great Schools. California ACORN, Californians for Justice, PICO California, and Public Advocates. “Now That We Have the Facts.”
Description: This brief summarizes results from a survey of 5,600 parents, students, and community members regarding education funding, student achievement, higher taxes, and their expectations for state policymakers.
Picus, Lawrence O. Professor of education finance and policy, USC Rossier School of Education. “Getting Down To Facts: Now What?”
Description: This brief recommends that the state Legislature take the lead in developing a multi-year strategic plan that shows how schools should be organized, governed, and held accountable and also specifies the funding level needed for all schools to establish programs that research shows will work to improve student performance.
Preschool California. Atkin, Catherine and Scott Moore. “Education Reform Starts with Effective Pre-K.”
Description: This brief sets forth the policy goal of providing access to effective preschool programs to all children, starting with low-income children and English learners. It includes specific recommendations that address standards for program quality, teacher qualifications, and facility funding. It also sets out principles for funding, data collection, and additional preschool goals.
PRI, Pacific Research Institute. Izumi, Lance and Vicki E. Murray. “Underperformance of non-socioeconomically disadvantaged students in California schools and the importance of increasing school choice options to address the problem.”
Description: This brief suggest specific policy changes that would support more school-choice options in California, including financial support for students wanting to attend private schools, universal district-school choice, and independent charter school authorizers.
PTA, California State Parent Teacher Association. “Parents’ priorities for school finance and education reform.”
Description: This brief presents policy recommendations based on the opinions of public school parents. It suggests policy goals related to funding increases, finance reform, the quality of teachers and administrators, parent and community engagement, state and local governance roles, facilities, and data.
Reason Foundation. Snell, Lisa. “FAIR Student Funding--A Model for California Schools.”
Description: This brief suggests the state pursue a school funding policy based on a Weighted Student Formula, and describes how a program being used in New York City could serve as a model.
Rumberger, Russell, UC Santa Barbara; and Jim Connell, Institute for Research and Reform in Education. “Strengthening School District Capacity as a Strategy to Raise Student Achievement in California.”
Description: This brief recommends a set of state policies to support greater district capacity to improve the performance of struggling schools. It suggests resources and accountability measures to further this goal.
Sacramento City Unified School District. “School Finance Issues – An Urban School District Perspective.”
Description: This brief suggests a set of policy changes that would benefit this urban school district such as increased funding levels based on performance, changes to the finance system, and more support for specific programs including professional development.
SFEP, The School Finance Exploration Partnership. CSBA, Children Now, League of Women Voters of California Education Fund, California State PTA. “Interest-Group Mapping and Education Reform: The Case for a Comprehensive, Consensus-Focused Proposal.”
Description: This brief identifies areas of possible consensus based on interviews with key education stakeholders including policies related to compensation reform, working conditions, finance reform including a weighted student formula, local revenue authority, a more comprehensive data system, expanded public school choice, and options for additional revenues.
Springboard Schools. “Building Capacity for Continuous Improvement: The Role of School District Data Systems.”
Description: This brief suggests policy goals aimed at making sure that state investments in a data system also support local districts’ capacity to build a technical infrastructure and strengthen staff ability to use data effectively, saying that such local capacity is a crucial tool for the continuous improvement of teaching and learning.
SSCAL, School Services of California, Inc. “Funding K-12 Education Investments Under Proposition 98.”
Description: This brief uses LAO funding projections and suggested priorities for additional funding from a professional judgment study to provide a general prescription for when the state can make significant K-12 investments, at what level, and how those investments could be targeted.
STC, School Transportation Coalition. “School Transportation Crisis.”
Description: This brief recommends specific policy changes to fully fund the cost of home-to-school transportation and provide funding for school bus replacement.
WestEd. Austin, Gregory and Bonnie Benard. “The State Data System to Assess Learning Barriers and Supports: Implications for School Reform Efforts.”
Description: This brief recommends measures to increase the use of data from two state-supported surveys—the California Healthy Kids Survey and the California School Climate Survey—that since 2003 have gathered information about youth learning barriers, engagement, and supports. (This brief was updated by the authors on October 25, 2007.)