Edvoice - Issues

SAT scores: California lags nation

September 27 | East Bay Times

By Sharon Noguchi

California’s Class of 2016 scored lower than the national average on SAT reading and math tests, although state students outperformed their national peers in writing, just-released scores show.

But the scores released late Monday may represent more than the state’s periodic fluctuation in national comparisons of reading and math. California’s sinking scores may reflect the SAT’s increasing democratization, with more students at differing levels of preparation taking the exam.

For the first time, California releases test scores for foster youth - and they're not good

September 22 | Los Angeles Times

By Joy Resmovits

For the first time, California education officials have separated out the standardized test scores of the state’s foster youth — and advocates now have sobering proof of what they long suspected: These students are learning far less than their peers.

In 2014-15, the first year scores of the new, harder state tests were reported, 18.8% of students in the foster care system met or exceeded standards in English/language arts, compared with 44.2% of their non-foster peers statewide. In math, 11.8% of these students reached or beat the benchmarks, compared with 33.8% of non-foster students.

Foster students also had somewhat lower rates of participation on the tests. In English, 27,651 foster students — or 89.8% of those enrolled — were tested, as opposed to 96.1% of non-foster students. In math, that number was 27,475, or 89.3%, compared with 96.3% of their non-foster peers.

Opinion: Sorting Out the Issues in the Teacher Shortage Crisis

September 22 | The 74 Million

By Dan Goldhaber & Roddy Theobald

There’s a lot of discussion these days about the impending teacher-shortage “crisis.” In the past week, for instance, a new report from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and subsequent media coverage have suggested that the U.S. could be facing a shortfall of more than 100,000 teachers by the decade’s end. That’s a headline-grabbing figure, but it is quite likely wrong. More important, it’s wrongheaded to focus on aggregate-level estimates of teacher supply and demand, as this approach does little to move the needle toward solutions to the real and long-standing issues surrounding the teacher labor market.

School standards should focus on achievement gap

September 19 | Sacramento Bee

As an educator for more than 40 years, I believe access to quality education for every student is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time.

In the three years since the state dismantled its school accountability system to make way for the Local Control Funding Formula, we have discussed and debated what the state’s new school accountability system should aim to achieve. But the time has come to finally establish an accountability system that will do right by all of our kids.

That is why the Legislature, with unanimous bipartisan support, helped me send Assembly Bill 2548 to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. AB 2548 sets clear performance standards for schools that will focus on closing gaps in academic achievement between low-income students and their higher income peers.

Mixed Grade: Is new state school review method a "mishmash" or a "good start"?

September 15 | CalMatters

By Samantha Young

Parents have a right to know how their particular local schools are performing, but California’s new accountability system fails to provide that information, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa charged Wednesday.

Why Oakland Students Leave for Public Schools in Other Cities

September 14 | KQED

By Devin Katayama

John Foster and Sara Diamond didn’t leave the Oakland Unified School District because they were unhappy with their school choices.

They say they wanted an alternative to Oakland schools for practical reasons. Foster worked in San Francisco, where his daughter Claire’s day care was also located.  So father and daughter had a routine of commuting together from East Oakland.

The Myth of the 'Miracle School'

August 31 | The Atlantic

By Arne Duncan

In the field of education, success is too often an orphan while failure has many fathers. The stories of the high-performing charter-school networks featured in Richard Whitmire’s important new book, The Founders: Inside the revolution to invent (and reinvent) America’s best charter schools, provide a welcome antidote to the pernicious notion that high-performing schools for disadvantaged students are isolated flukes, dependent on a charismatic educator or the cherry-picking of bright students. Whitmire’s account reveals the secret of the sauce: What is it that schools can do at scale for children to close achievement gaps, even in the face of the real burdens of poverty?

$1-million donation will help needy students with their homework at L.A. libraries

August 31 | LA Times

By Anna M. Phillips

Thirty-eight branches of the Los Angeles Public Library that offer homework help to poor and homeless students will receive a boost from a $1-million donation.

The gift from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, announced Tuesday, will create an endowment for the free after school homework centers, which offer students access to computers, printers and other devices they might not have at home, if they even have permanent homes.

Students make slight gains on new Common Core state tests

August 24 | Sacramento Bee

By Diana Lambert and Phillip Reese

Sacramento-area students made modest progress in English and math this year, based on new state test results released Wednesday.

Fifty percent of the students in the four-county region met English standards - up from 46 percent the previous year, while about 40 percent of the region’s students met math standards - up from 37 percent.

The incremental gains came after dismal scores last year when students took the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress tests for the first time. The new exams are based on Common-Core State Standards.

Tears, hugs follow jurors' $3.1 million award to whistleblower in teacher credentialing case

August 19 | Sacramento Bee

By Loretta Kalb

A Sacramento woman fired from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing after disclosing a three-year backlog in teacher misconduct complaints has won a $3.1 million jury verdict in a lawsuit against the agency and two of its executives.

Whistleblower Kathleen Carroll, an attorney for the commission until her termination in November 2010, revealed sweeping backlogs, nepotism in the agency and favoritism that within a year led to a blistering state audit of its educator discipline process. Then-state Auditor Elaine Howle characterized the commission as one of the “worst-run” agencies she had ever investigated.