Edvoice - Issues

The achievement gap grew in 2016

November 23 | Sacramento Bee

By Phillip Reese

Test scores in California improved this year - but the test score gap between the haves and have-nots got wider, too.

About 440 large California schools aced 2016 Common Core tests, with more than three quarters of their students meeting new math standards.

But just 7 of those schools also had a higher proportion of students classified as "economically disadvantaged" than the statewide average. In other words, 98 percent of the state’s highest-performing schools on the new math test had a relatively low proportion of students in poverty.

The test score achievement gap between wealthy and poor students is much larger under California's new Common Core tests than the gap was under older tests.


Obama administration to release new rules for judging schools

November 28 | Washington Post

By Emma Brown

The U.S. Education Department on Monday released final regulations governing how states should judge which schools are doing well and which are struggling and require help, a contentious set of rules that has pitted the Obama administration and its civil rights allies against an unusual alliance of teachers unions and GOP leaders.

But for all the debate, it is unclear — given Republican Donald Trump’s surprise election — whether the new rules will much matter. Trump has pledged a smaller federal footprint in public education, giving rise to speculation that his administration is likely to either rewrite the new regulations entirely, giving states more leeway to handle school accountability as they wish, or render the rules meaningless by declining to enforce them.

Preparing Students for Success in California's Community Colleges

November 15 | Public Policy Institute of California

By Marisol Cuellar Mejia, Olga Rodriquez and Hans Johnson

Community colleges identify 80 percent of incoming students as underprepared for college-level work. Fewer than half of these students advance to and succeed in a college course (44% in English and 27% in math). Concerns about poor outcomes have led to institutional reforms.

This research was supported with funding from The Sutton Family Fund.

Tuition expected to rise at UC, CSU next year

November 15 | SF Gate

By Nanette Asimov

Here’s a safe bet in an era of guesswork gone awry: Tuition will go up next year at the University of California and California State University for the first time since 2011.

And students and faculty won’t like it.

Neither university has a firm tuition proposal on the table. But the UC regents will discuss the possibility Wednesday and Thursday at their meeting in San Francisco, and the CSU trustees led that discussion Tuesday in Long Beach.

Editorial: The state school board flunks its accountability exam

Los Angeles Times

By The Times Editorial Board

Despite complaints from the school-reform movement in California and others, the State Board of Education appears intent on going ahead with an overly complicated, color-coded system for judging public-school performance and progress. It’s vague and confusing, larded with too many factors. Using it to compare one school with another is pretty much impossible.

BART janitor grossed $270K in pay and benefits

November 1 | East Bay Times

By Thomas Peele

A BART janitor was paid $162,000 in overtime last year, almost three times his base salary, according to public pay data.

Liang Zhao Zhang also received nearly $15,000 in other pay to gross nearly $235,000, records show. Benefits brought his total cost of employment to the rail agency to more than $270,000.

How well are California's students doing in science?

October 26 | Los Angeles Times

By Joy Resmovits

California has produced some of America’s most celebrated innovators, but its students test below the national average in science, according to a new federal report.

The state’s results on a science test that is periodically administered nationwide also compared poorly with those of most other states — though averages for most states’ public school students were somewhere in the vicinity of half of the test’s top score of 300 points.

Science Scores on 'Nation's Report Card' Rise in Fourth and Eighth Grade, Stay Stagnant in 12th

October 27 | The 74 Million

By Carolyn Phenicie

Scores on national benchmark science tests rose for fourth and eighth graders from 2009 to 2015, while high school seniors' stayed flat and science proficiency for all grades tested remained at basic levels for vast numbers of U.S. students. 

Achievement gaps on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the Nation's Report Card, between white students and students of color narrowed in fourth and eighth grade but remained largely unchanged in 12th grade. There was no gap between boys' and girls' scores in fourth grade, but boys continued to score a few points higher than girls in eighth and 12th grade. 

1 in 4 U.S. teachers are chronically absent, missing more than 10 days of school

October 26 | The Washington Post

By Alejandra Matos

More than 1 in 4 of the nation’s full-time teachers are considered chronically absent from school, according to federal data, missing the equivalent of more than two weeks of classes each academic year in what some districts say has become an educational crisis.

California high school graduation rates close in on national average

October 17 | EdSource

By Louis Freedberg

California lags slightly behind the national average in high school graduation rates, but has increased more substantially over the last five years than the national average, according to figures for 50 states released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education.

President Barack Obama touted improving graduation figures at a speech at a Washington D.C. high school Monday morning as part of an effort by his administration to showcase the progress officials say has occurred during Obama’s eight years in office.