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Friday, October 18 • 12:40pm - 1:40pm
Getting Down to Facts: Current Conditions and Paths Forward for California Schools

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California’s education system has seen substantial policy shifts over the past decade, potentially benefiting the state’s 6.2 million students. This recent research project provides a “state of the state,” with the goal of providing a common set of facts to inform discussions and education policy development going forward. This is the second time that leading researchers have come together to consolidate evidence on how to improve education in California. Ten years ago the state’s dynamic system was clearly due for a revamp, but where to begin? That question could only be answered with data. The need for a fact-gathering mission gave birth to the first comprehensive Getting Down to Facts report in 2007 to take a critical look at all things K–12. The first report informed state lawmakers in their work to adopt many reforms that were necessary to put California’s education system on the right track. At the same time, an economic recession brought a chilling effect to the state’s resources and made implementation of measurable improvement an even bigger challenge. Thanks to a healthy recovery in recent years, many reforms began to take hold. Now, ten years later, after a range of educational policy changes and as the state embarks on the next chapter of its public education system, Getting Down to Facts II once again provides the facts. GDTFII provides in-depth analysis of the state education system as of 2018 and looks at what is working well and where improvement is still needed. The report’s findings are contained in 36 separate studies thoroughly researched by over 100 leading academics from top research institutions across California and the United States. What are the most important things to know about education in California? Key findings include:
• California’s education system is moving in the right direction but is still needs to build capacity to support a decade of reforms. Over the past decade, a multitude of reforms has resulted in some improvement. But the system still must ensure that educators and other practitioners have the skills, information, and materials they need to put major reforms more fully into practice.
• Large achievement gaps persist in California by race, ethnicity, income, and English learner (EL) status.
• California’s children are behind before they enter kindergarten. The system needs a continued focus on closing achievement gaps through multiple approaches, including enhanced early childhood education.
• Funding levels remain short of adequate for schools in California, given the goals of state policies.
• Untouched critical funding issues could destabilize the system. Pensions, special education, and facilities each have the potential to worsen inequities if not addressed.
• California produces very little information on what makes an excellent education for its own students. Despite investments in data systems in California, the state still falls short of what other states have developed.
This session will discuss the findings of the study and the initial work at the state level to address some of the findings.

Friday Slate
avatar for Susanna Loeb

Susanna Loeb

Director of Annenberg Institute, Professor of Education and International and Public Affairs, Brown University
Susanna's research focuses broadly on education policy and its role in improving educational opportunities for students. Her work has addressed issues of educator career choices and professional development, school finance and governance, and early childhood systems. Before moving... Read More →

Friday October 18, 2019 12:40pm - 1:40pm PDT
Room 1204