California Educator

February/March 2024

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Page 39 of 59

I N D E C E M B E R , the state Department of Education (CDE) released 2023 data from the California School Dashboard, which showed statewide improvements in student outcomes in several areas. The dashboard includes the latest data on graduation rates, suspension rates, test scores, English Learner prog- ress, the college/career indicator, chronic absenteeism and local indicators. Among other improvements, the 2023 dashboard shows that students in California are graduating at higher levels than before the COVID-19 pandemic and are missing less class time year-over-year: • The four-year cohort graduation rate for the class of 2023 is 86.2% — a less-than 1% decrease from the class of 2022, and still higher than pre-pan- demic levels. (According to the CDE, the decrease is likely due to the phase-out of Assembly Bill 104, which allowed for temporary flexibility in graduation requirements and course grading policies for high school stu- dents during the pandemic.) The 2022–23 four-year adjusted cohort also included more graduates who meet the UC/CSU admission requirements than prior to the pandemic, with 223,727 students (50.4% of graduates) graduating eligible for admission at California's public universities. • The chronic absenteeism rate, which measures the num- ber of students who missed 10% of the days they were enrolled for any reason, declined to 24.3% in 2022–23, which is a 5.7 percentage point decline from an all-time high of 30% in 2021–22. The CDE notes that California's decrease is greater than the 11-state average reported in October and that equity gaps in chronic absenteeism are becoming smaller, with the most vulnerable students improving fastest and no student groups any longer in the lowest "red" or "orange" categories. "We're thrilled to see progress on chronic absenteeism, graduation rates and other areas shared on the updated dashboard," says CTA President David Goldberg. " The data reflects what educators across the state are seeing in our schools: When students have access to the resources they deserve, they thrive." State investment in K–12 public education in recent years has focused on accelerating learning and prioritizing equity that includes $7.9 billion for the Learning Recovery Emer- gency Block Grant. The 2023 Budget Act provided $129.2 billion in total K–12 education funding — the highest per-pu- pil state funding ever for California students. In addition, starting in the 2022–23 school year, the state allocated billions to expand access to Transitional Kinder- garten for thousands of four-year-olds to improve Kindergarten readiness and long-term student outcomes. The 2022 and 2023 Budget Acts also provided a total of $500 million for the Literacy Coaches and Reading Specialists Grant Program, which supports school literacy programs and interventions to help pupils in need of targeted literacy support. "We can see that those efforts are paying off, but this is only the beginning," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thur- mond of the 2023 dashboard. Goldberg concurs, and calls for continued investment in our students. " The new dashboard also shows that there is room for improvement — class sizes continue to be too large in schools across California and many districts are grappling with the teacher shortage crisis. "Now is the time to invest in public education and commit to providing the resources every student deserves." Find more information about the California School Dashboard at The California School Dashboard shows how schools and local educational agencies are performing on seven state and local indicators. Rise in Student Outcomes State's School Dashboard shows 2023 improvements, but continued investment is essential "The data reflects what educators across the state are seeing in our schools: When students have access to the resources they deserve, they thrive." —CTA President David Goldberg 38 Advocacy

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