California Educator

January / February 2017

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ACCOUNTABILITY How California Stacks Up According to Education Week's 2017 "Quality Counts" report released in January, California again ranked 46th in per-pupil funding (using 2014 data). Adjusted for regional cost-of-living differences, per-pupil expenditures (PPE) in the state were $8,694, trailing the national average of $12,156 by $3,462. California has the same ranking it held last year, despite an almost $500 increase in PPE from 2016, and reflects a boost in PPE among most other states. California is in a unique situation compared with the rest of the country. Its schools educate 6.2 million K-12 students, or about one in eight K-12 students nationally; they enroll the largest share of English learners in the U.S.; and 25 percent of California K-12 students are from low-income families, compared with 17 percent for the nation as a whole. Voter approval of Proposition 30 in 2012 helped increase California's K-12 school spending, and passage of Prop. 55 in November means education funding will be stable for an additional 12 years. But greater investment in education is needed for the state to adequately serve its students. State Per‐Pupil Expenditures Rank Vermont $19,654 1 Alaska $19,000 2 New York $18,191 3 Wyoming $17,490 4 Connecticut $16,637 5 New Jersey $15,946 6 New Hampshire $15,386 7 Maine $15,193 8 Dist. Of Columbia $14,680 9 Rhode Island $14,601 10 National Average $12,156 N/A California $8,694 46 2017 Ranking of Per‐Pupil Expenditures California is ranked 46th in per‐pupil expenditures when figures are adjusted for regional cost differences. Figures based on 2014 data. Source: Education Week "Quality Counts 2017" State Board of Education Approves the California School Dashboard On Jan. 11, the State Board of Education (SBE) approved a landmark account- ability and improvement system, the California School Dashboard, which will help parents, educators and the public evaluate schools and districts, identify strengths and weaknesses, and provide targeted assistance. The dashboard, formerly known as the evaluation rubrics, will be unveiled to the public in late February or March. It will be fully operational by the 2017-18 school year. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson notes that the dashboard will be far more useful than the previous Academic Performance Index, which relied on test scores to pro- duce one number for each school. CTA President Eric Heins agrees. " The California Dashboard represents a groundbreaking new way to assess a school's progress," Heins says. "Any time you look at any child or group, you want to use indicators that are giving you a complete picture." The SBE approved performance standards for the Academic Indicator, which includes assessments based on California's new standards that are more rigorous than previous assessments, and tools to assist districts in measuring and reporting progress on two local indicators: academic standards imple- mentation and parent engagement. As with the other indicators, perfor- mance will be based on status and how much schools or districts have improved or declined. Schools will be rated on various factors and assigned color-coded icons representing one of five perfor- mance levels: Blue (highest), Green, Yellow, Orange and Red (lowest). Earlier, the SBE approved performance standards for four state indicators (read- iness for college and careers, graduation rates, progress of English learners, and suspension rates) and tools for four local indicators (basic conditions at schools, school climate, coordination of services for foster youth, and coordination of ser- vices for expelled youth). EDUCATION FUNDING With the California School Dashboard, school and district performance will be measured by a number of indicators, and rated using a color- coded scale from Blue to Red. 41 January / February 2017

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