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Access, Assessment, and Advancement

 Just News from Center X


Access, Assessment, and Advancement

January 6, 2017

Sterling C. Lloyd and Alex Harwin

As a new political and policy era dawns in Washington, the status of the nation’s schools remains stable, though still earning a grade of C from Quality Counts 2017, the 21st annual report card issued by the Education Week Research Center. The C corresponds to a score of 74.2, which is nearly identical to the 74.4 the nation posted in 2016, when it also received a C. The steadiness of national results, notwithstanding, a handful of states saw their scores increase or decline by a full point or more. Quality Counts

 grades the states and the nation on educational performance across a range of key indicators, issuing overall A-F grades based on a traditional 100-point scale. The overall grade is based on three custom indices developed by the Research Center: 1) The Chance-for-Success Index uses a cradle-to-career perspective to examine the role of education in promoting positive outcomes throughout an individual’s lifetime. 2) The school finance analysis evaluates spending on education and equity in funding across districts within a state. 3) The K-12 Achievement Index, last updated in 2016, scores states on current academic performance, change over time, and poverty-based gaps.


Fermin Leal, EdSource

This spring, juniors and seniors at Redlands Unified School District in San Bernardino County will take community college courses at their high schools, including engineering, sociology, business administration and music appreciation. The courses, offered at no cost to students at Redlands High, Citrus Valley High and East Valley High, will allow students to earn college credits while in high school that they can transfer to most colleges and universities, including all University of California, California State University and state community college campuses. “These courses offer our high school students the opportunity to get a jump-start on their college education,” said Stephanie Lock, the district’s assistant principal on special projects – college and career pathways. “For some kids who might not be thinking of college right away, this will get them to the next level.” Redlands Unified is among the rapidly growing number of school districts in California offering dual, or concurrent, enrollment programs, which allow high school students to take college courses during the school day.



Gary Warth, The San Diegon Union-Tribune

Freshman applications to UC San Diego are at an all-time, with 88,451 students vying to enroll in fall 2017. The applications mark a five percent increase from last year. UC San Diego had the second highest number of applicants among all University of California campuses. UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla credited the school’s reputation for attracting the record applicants. “UC San Diego’s continued increase in applications is a testament to the university’s excellence in research and education, and our efforts to enhance the student experience,” Khosla said. “We are proud to attract top scholars who will contribute to the vibrancy and diversity of UC San Diego’s community.”


December 16, 2016

Theresa Harrington, EdSource

Providing poor children with high-quality early childhood education – from birth through age 5 – results in adults who are healthier, earning higher incomes and less involved in crime, according to a new study that followed participants for 35 years. The study showed a positive impact especially on boys and their families. Described by the authors as “groundbreaking,” the study goes further than earlier research that showed benefits to 3 and 4-year

olds attending preschool.

Nobel laureate James Heckman and researchers from the University of Chicago and University of Southern California reached these conclusions after analyzing data related to low-income African-American children who attended two preschools in North Carolina in the early 1970s. They also studied children in control groups who either did not attend preschool or participated in lower-quality programs.



Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

California wants to update its standardized tests in science. But for the second time, federal officials have nixed the state’s rollout plans. State officials say that disapproval won’t stop them.

Students have been taking the same science tests in California since 1998. The new tests are supposed to be more hands-on. They’re in keeping with the Next Generation Science Standards, a set of goals the state recently adopted to focus science learning more on experiments than on listening to teachers give lectures.



Beth Akers and Matthew M. Chingos, The Fiscal Times

Higher education reform will be front and center in 2017, as historic levels of public concern about rising college tuition and student debt levels pressure Congress to turn to the overdue reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. This wide-ranging federal law covers everything from student loans to Pell grants for low-income students to the transparency of consumer information on college prices. Congress has already proven it has the ability to pass major education legislation. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the chairman of the committee responsible for education, took the lead last year in the bipartisan reauthorization of the main K-12 education law. We offer three policy proposals that would benefit students and taxpayers, based on the analysis in our new book, “Game of Loans.” These are ideas that lawmakers from both parties can get behind, with the goal of simplifying the process for student loans.


December 9, 2016

Elissa Nadworny, NPR

So you're trying to find some information about the schools in your community. Did students perform well on tests? How many students in a school are from low-income families? What's the demographic breakdown? Most folks would start to look for this by searching the web. But, depending on the state you live in, finding that information can be a real challenge. That's according to a new report from the Data Quality Campaign. Analysts there spent 100 hours last summer looking at annual report cards put out by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Here's what they found: Confusion. Broken links. Complicated tables and spreadsheets, filled with numbers and figures without meaning. There was missing data, out-of-date data and lots and lots of education jargon.


Sarah D. Sparks, Education Week

U.S. teenagers seem to have internalized the national push to expand science and math fields, but that doesn't mean they are as prepared for STEM jobs as students in other countries, according to results from the latest Program for International Student Assessment. “The United States has one of the most science-oriented 15-year-old populations,” said Andreas Schleicher, the director for education and skills at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which runs PISA. “The downside is the knowledge and skills of those students are not adding up to their expectations.” The nation's 15-year-olds performed above average for all countries participating in PISA in reading and science in 2015, and American students reported higher-than-average rates of enjoying science, reading about science, and interest in STEM careers, according to results released this morning. But overall, American students have not improved in either reading or science performance since 2009, and they have declined in math performance during that time, putting the United States slightly below the international average.


Larry Gordon, EdSource

A persistent gender gap is troubling many community and school-based programs in California that seek to move low-income, first-generation and African-American and Latino high school students onto a path to college. Many more young women than young men are taking advantage of the assistance available for test preparation, college applications and financial aid, program administrators and counselors report. Young women often comprise at least 60 percent of the participants. That gender disparity has led to an intensified effort by college readiness programs across the state to recruit more boys and young men – particularly African-Americans and Latinos. But officials say change won’t be easy.


December 2, 2016

Christina Samuels, Education Week

Making child care more affordable for working families was one of a handful of education policy positions that President-elect Donald Trump tackled with some specificity on the campaign trail, promising to offer "much-needed relief" through a combination of tax deductions and credits.

But the incoming administration's views on a number of other early-childhood initiatives championed by the Obama White House—including federal support of state-run preschool programs, home visiting, and Head Start—are as yet unknown. The early-childhood-advocacy community is still grappling with what a Trump administration will mean for those policies and many others.


Maureen Magee, The San Diego Union-Tribune

The U.S. Department of Education is auditing the accuracy of high school graduation rates in California and Alabama. Launched in the summer, the federal inquiry coincides with record graduation rates reached throughout the state, including the San Diego and Los Angeles unified school districts. News of the audits was included in a November U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General “Annual Plan for 2017.”  The probe will “Continue our work to determine whether selected (state education agencies) have implemented systems of internal control over calculating and reporting graduation rates that are sufficient to ensure that reported graduation rates are accurate and reliable,” according to the report.


Emma Brown, The Washington Post

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.


November 18, 2016

Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times
The vast majority of California community college students take remedial math and English classes — but that college-prep work is largely failing to help most of them complete their academic or vocational programs. Eight of 10 community college students first are placed in remedial classes to gain college-level skills before moving to courses that count for credit. But only 16% of those students earn a skills certificate or two-year degree within six years, and just 24% transfer to a four-year university, according to a study by the Public Policy Institute of California. 


Catherine Gewertz, Education Week
ACT Inc., announced Monday that it will provide, for the first time, accommodations for English-learners who take its college-entrance exam. The options will become available in the fall of 2017. Students will have to apply for them through their school counselor's office. The accommodations announced Monday include: 1) More time on the test: up to time-and-a-half; 2) Use of an approved word-to-word bilingual glossary (one that has no word definitions); 3) Testing in a non-distracting environment (i.e., in a separate room); 4) Test instructions provided in the student's native language (including Spanish and a limited number of other languages initially).


Carman Tse, LAist
Students from across the Cal State University system gathered in downtown Long Beach on Tuesday and donned zombie makeup to protest a potential tuition hike. Calling themselves “The Walking Debt,” demonstrators showed up early to rally as the Cal State University Board of Trustees met at Chancellor Timothy P. White’s office on Tuesday. Outside of White’s office, the protest organized by Students for Quality Education had one tombstone for each of the system’s 23 campuses, and the Walking Debt chanted “Students not customers!” and “The more we pay, the longer we stay!” “We’re out here telling them this is not acceptable,” protestor Juliana Nascimento told LAist. “Any increase now is already too much.”


November 11, 2016

John Fensterwald, EdSource

The state’s top education officials have issued new objections to how federal officials plan to enforce the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, the new law replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. In a letter released Monday, State Board of Education President Michael Kirst and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson accused the U.S. Department of Education of overstepping its authority to ensure that federal dollars for low-income students will create more overall funding at schools those students attend. They note that California’s education funding system, the Local Control Funding Formula, redistributes a significant amount of money to low-income students and English learners. But, they said, the U.S. Department of Education is proposing to micromanage how districts would use state and federal money and interfere with local decision making in ways that would exceed Congress’ intent.


Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle

Report cards used to be simple — small cards with gold stars or check marks or letter grades to tell parents how their children were doing in math, reading, writing, social studies and maybe penmanship. Not anymore. Across the country, school districts are adopting comprehensive, multipage report cards that detail dozens of skills students should learn — and how close they are to learning them — rather than focusing solely on past performance on projects, tests or homework. The movement to make report cards more dynamic underlines the enduring power of these essential, emotionally laden documents of childhood. San Francisco elementary schools will roll out the newest incarnation of these standards-based report cards this month, with each elementary-school student across the district receiving about 50 grades on specific skills they should have by the end of the school year.


Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post

Some of the brightest students on the path to graduation are more likely to drop out of college if they lose even small amounts of financial aid, according to a study released Tuesday by EAB, an education consulting firm. Researchers analyzed more than 40,000 students and found that those with grade-point averages above 3.0 who lost $1,000 to $1,500 in grant money are 2.5 percentage points more likely to quit school than those with little or no change in aid. All students who have a GPA between 2.0 and 4.0 are more at risk of leaving school when they lose financial aid. And the more money students lose, the greater their chance of quitting school.


November 4, 2016

Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week
Confused about the status of the Common Core State Standards? You’re not alone. Since we published an update last year about the status of the English/language arts and math standards across 50 states and the District of Columbia, there’s been a fair bit of activity regarding the standards. Although the national backlash to the common core seems to have cooled a little bit in recent months, several states have announced some kind of change to the standards due to state legislation, governors’ directives, or other reasons. The map below represents our best judgment about the nominal status of the common core across the country. In addition to the map, see our drop-down menu below for information about how different states are handling the common core.


Theresa Harrington, EdSource
More rigorous state standards in math and English language arts have contributed to improved academic achievement for students across the country, including in California, a new report asserts. The analysis looked at improvements in test scores from the 2014-15 school year to the 2015-16 school year. In 2014-15, most states took Common Core-aligned tests for the first time.


Anya Kamenetz, NPR
Whenever you surf the Web, sophisticated algorithms are tracking where you go, comparing you with millions of other people. They're trying to predict what you'll do next: Apply for a credit card? Book a family vacation? At least 40 percent of universities report that they're trying some version of the same technology on their students, according to several recent surveys. It's known as predictive analytics, and it can be used to either help or hurt students, says a new report from the New America Foundation.


Hechinger Report
Cristina Nino-Zavala watched her parents work in dead-end jobs they didn't like – her father as a mechanic, her mother putting pills in bottles on a southern Michigan assembly line – and assumed she was headed toward the same fate. No one in her family had gone to college. The daughter of Mexican immigrants and eldest of five siblings, she was only dimly even aware of the concept.


October 28, 2016

Gaby Galvin, U.S. News

The gender gap in computing jobs has gotten worse in the last 30 years, even as computer science job opportunities expand rapidly, according to new research from Accenture and Girls Who Code. In 1984, 37 percent of computer science majors were women, but by 2014 that number had dropped to 18 percent, according to the study. The computing industry's rate of U.S. job creation is three times the national average, but if trends continue, the study estimates that women will hold only 20 percent of computing jobs by 2025.

Pat Maio, EdSource

California education officials have decided that students will take only one statewide standardized test in science this spring, a pilot test based on new standards known as the Next Generation Science Standards. The decision, made in recent weeks, pits state education officials against the U.S. Department of Education, which told California officials in a Sept. 30 letter that they must continue to administer the older science based on standards adopted in 1998, and publish the scores on those tests. California has been administering the multiple choice, paper-and-pencil California Standards Tests in science to 5th, 8th and10th graders until as recently as last year, as required by the No Child Left Behind law.


Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week

The Every Student Succeeds Act makes plenty of changes to education policy, including several key ones that provide more control to states. But here's one that's been largely overlooked in discussions about ESSA: the possibility that the law will ultimately enable private schools to obtain more federal aid to K-12 than they have previously. Here's what we mean: As with the No Child Left Behind Act, ESSA requires that districts provide "equitable services" to certain students in private schools, after consulting with private school officials. This can impact migrant students in private schools, students who are English-language learners, and others. (The delivery of equitable services has been complicated by the growth of school choice programs, according to a recent report from the federal Government Accountability Office.)


October 21, 2016

Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Wednesday called for the California Department of Education to take over a job that her office has done for the past four years:  release an annual data analysis on chronic student absenteeism. The request came as part of a 10-point call for action included in her office’s latest attendance report, In School + On Track 2016. Harris said that, beginning as early as preschool, chronic absenteeism has emerged as an indicator of whether students will be able to read at grade level in 3rd grade. That, in turn, is a predictor of graduating from high school, obtaining employment, paying taxes and staying out of prison.


Melissa Scholes Young, The Atlantic

When Chris was accepted into the Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, he didn’t think of himself as a first-generation college student. Acknowledging his first-generation identity and how it influenced his path came years later, but the label assigned by his college is only a part of Chris’s individual story. His parents, both Vietnamese refugees who had not gone to college, raised him in south Florida. Chris, who did not want to use his last name, knew he’d earned a golden admission ticket, but he didn’t know that getting in was only half the struggle. He hadn’t considered how his parents’ lack of higher education might influence his own college studies.


Dylan Matthews, Vox

If you asked the average person why people don’t go to college, their first answer would almost certainly be, "They can’t afford it." It's a fair point: Tuition really has been going up rapidly, much faster than inflation or even the cost of health care

. And the proposals of Democratic politicians like Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders to eliminate tuition for some or all students have spread the message that the high cost of college is the main factor keeping high school graduates from going — or, if they already go (as the vast majority do), from graduating.

There’s considerable evidence that cheaper tuition would help expand access to college; when Scotland got rid of college fees, applications spiked, and when the Buffett Foundation randomly granted college aid to Nebraska high schoolers, it found that those getting aid were more likely to go to four-year colleges and less likely to drop out. But a new paper complicates this picture somewhat.


October 14, 2016

Tanza Loudenback, Business Insider

In America today, 65% of children under age 6 have two working parents — more than double the number since 1970. For families across the country, childcare is a necessity — and financial burden — like never before. The Care Index, a new report from think tank New America,, and others, details the three "pillars" of childcare — cost, quality, and availability— and the variances across state lines. Among its findings, the report revealed that in 33 US states, the average cost of full-time, in-center care for one child under age 4 has eclipsed that of in-state public college tuition.

 Overall, across the country, childcare now costs $9,589 a year on average, compared with $9,410 for in-state college tuition.



Elizabeth A. Harris, The New York Times

Family workers carrying caseloads of 256 children at a time. A girl who had transferred to four different schools, one of them twice, by age 11. Attendance reports from multiple agencies, but with none held responsible for making sure that students actually went to school. These are some of the findings in a report on the obstacles faced by homeless children in New York schools that will be released by the city’s Independent Budget Office on Tuesday. The report, which draws largely on data from the 2013-14 school year, vividly maps out just how difficult it is for students who live in shelters to get an education.


John Fensterwald, EdSource

The Common Core State Standards have faced strong opposition in many states, but in California, more than three out of five registered voters support them, according to a poll commissioned by the Oakland-based nonprofit advocacy group Children Now.

In the telephone survey of 1,000 registered voters, 63 percent said they either strongly or somewhat favor the standards, while 33 percent said they somewhat or strongly oppose them, with 4 percent expressing no view. Larger percentages of Hispanic, African-American and Asian voters said they favored the standards than white parents, who comprised 51 percent of those surveyed, according to EMC Research, the polling firm that administered the survey.


October 7, 2016

Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post; Monty Neill, FairTest

The way we measure students’ academic progress sends powerful messages about what kinds of learning we value. When measurement systems are used to evaluate schools, the factors they emphasize can control classroom practices, for good or ill. The test-and-punish approach embodied in the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law undermined educational quality for many. It inhibited school improvement. It delivered a message that deep learning and supportive, healthy school environments do not matter. The damage has been most severe in the most under-resourced communities. There, the fixation on boosting test scores not only harmed teaching and learning, it also led to mass firings and school closings. The deteriorating educational climates fed the school-to-prison pipeline.

John Fensterwald, EdSource

Top education leaders in California are dissatisfied with how the federal government requires calculating school performance using standardized test scores. But they say the California Department of Education lacks the time and money to do analyses that may better measure achievement of low-performing subgroups. Students in California and 15 other states who take the Smarter Balanced assessments in math and in English receive a score on a scale between 2,000 and 3,000. The issue is how to interpret that score, and whether the states should focus on how students improve from year to year, not just whether they meet a set proficiency standard.

Emily Deruy, The Atlantic

Eloy Oakley isn’t shy about his plans to be much more “proactive” than previous chancellors when he takes over California’s mammoth community-college system in December. “We’re going to take on a much more aggressive agenda with a clear lens on social justice and equity,” Oakley, who is in his final weeks as head of the Long Beach Community College District, told me during an interview at his office on the Long Beach City College campus. Oakley, who is himself a product of the system and a first-generation college student who grew up in a family where higher education was not the expectation, is under no illusion that California’s community colleges alone can close the racial and socioeconomic educational attainment gaps that plague the state. But Oakley, who will be the first Latino to hold the position, wants California’s 113 community colleges to see eliminating the inequity and opportunity disparities that create those divides as part of their shared responsibility.


September 30, 2016

Jessica Levy, The Atlantic

Chelsea Clinton made headlines recently as she campaigned for her mother—not for the policy proposals she defended, but for the fact that she did not accompany her not-quite-2-year-old daughter Charlotte to the first day of her Manhattan "school." While detractors were quick to berate her for missing this defining event in her child's life, supporters rushed to her defense by noting that the child’s father, who took Charlotte to school together with the family nanny, is perfectly capable of taking the lead. But what's missing from the discussion is an objection to the controversy’s premise—since when has "school" started at age 2? The question highlights recent changes in the favored everyday lexicon of parents to refer to programs for their babies and young toddlers—programs that were once simply called “daycare.” Whether consciously or subconsciously, though, educators, psychologists, and parents themselves are noticing that parents are increasingly swapping out the term for the more in-vogue "school."


Meredith Kolodner, The Hechinger Report

Wendy Thompson always knew she wanted her son to go to college, but she didn’t realize so many people would disagree. Her son was born with cerebral palsy, a disease that has him using a wheelchair, but has little impact on his academic abilities. He graduated from high school with a Regents diploma in 2013 — a feat accomplished by only 18 percent of students with disabilities in New York City that year, compared to 70 percent of students without disabilities. But when Thompson met with a counselor from the state agency that is supposed to help people with disabilities get training or a degree that will lead to a job, the counselor refused to sign off on her son’s plan to go to community college. That meant he wouldn’t get wheelchair-accessible transportation, tuition help or voice-activated software from the agency — all of which he qualified for under federal law.


Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

It will be easier from now on for L.A. students to take community college classes for free — while sitting in their high school classrooms. The Los Angeles Unified School District board approved an agreement Tuesday with the Los Angeles Community College District that will let high schools enter partnerships with their local community colleges to offer classes on campus, during the regular school day. The schools hope to serve 15,000 L.A. Unified students a year.

September 23, 2016

Lauren Camera, U.S. News

No sooner did the two presidential candidates spar over their plans to boost early childhood education than new indicators showed just how far behind the U.S. is in providing access to such programs compared to other industrialized countries. Out of 36 countries, the U.S. ranked 29 in enrollment rates for its 3- and 4-year-olds, according to Education at a Glance 2016, the 500-page report released Thursday from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD. “This is an area where the U.S. is left behind by quite a large margin,” said Andreas Schleicher, director of the OECD's Directorate for Education and Skills. “When you look at early childhood education and care, they are quite low by international standards.”



Lauren Camera, U.S. News

The largest university system in the country no longer will ask applicants about their felony convictions prior to admissions consideration. The decision by the State University of New York largely was spurred by a report published last year that found nearly two out of every three applicants who check "yes" to the question on a SUNY application about whether they've had a felony conviction do not complete the application process and are never considered for admission.



Susan Dynarski, New York Times

Applying for financial aid and choosing a college in the United States is still much too complicated, but some long-overdue reforms are finally underway, and in the nick of time. A flurry of aid forms, essays and applications are due between November and March. Parents with resources, who have gone to college, can help their children through this byzantine process, with some paying experts to advise them. But many smart, low-income students don’t have that kind of help. As a result, they don’t get financial aid, don’t go to the school that is a good fit, or don’t go to college at all. Change is coming, and even if it is imperfect and incomplete, it is definitely welcome. Students can now find out much earlier whether they qualify for federal aid — getting this critical information before they start to make decisions about applying to college.


September 16, 2016

Brian M. Rosenthal, Houston Chronicle

The vice chairman of the State Board of Education, a Houston school board member, a key state senator and scores of parents and disability advocates all expressed strong opposition on Monday to a Texas Education Agency performance-based monitoring system that has kept thousands of disabled children out of special education since 2004.The Houston Chronicle reported Sunday that TEA officials had arbitrarily decided in implementing the system more than a decade ago to keep special education enrollments at 8.5 percent, a rate far below the national average of 13 percent. Since then, those officials have forced school districts to comply by strictly auditing them and requiring many to file "corrective action plans" for serving too many kids.


Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

California is officially done with telling parents that schools are only as good as their test scores. The state Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to rate schools using an evaluation that includes many more factors — among them academics, graduation rates, college preparedness and the rates at which non-native speakers are learning English. The evaluations will incorporate scores on new science tests when those tests are ready. Attendance data also will factor in eventually. But unlike in the past, schools will not get an overall rating. Instead, they’ll receive results on how they’re doing across the new categories, for different groups of students. The results will focus not just on how they’re doing now but how they’ve progressed from year to year.


Liana Heitin, Education Week

Twenty states now require that high school students be allowed to count a computer science course as a math or science credit toward graduation, according to a new report from the Education Commission of the States. That's up from 14 states with such requirements when the first "Computer Science in High School Graduation Requirements" report came out last year. The requirements vary from state to state.

September 9, 2016

Deepa Fernandes, KPCC

With stubby legs and googly eyes, large ears and a red lightening bolt of hair, a furry green critter called “Z” is the new face of early learning for preschoolers in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Z is headlining the implementation of a new curriculum -- one that moves away from previous academic-heavy preschool teaching to a play-based model that emphasizes emotional development and social interaction, according to district officials.


Sonali Kohli, Joy Resmovits and Sandra Poindexter

More than three million students across California traded in pencils for computers to take their standardized tests last school year. You might have read about the statewide results of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress: More than half of the state’s public school students in grades 3 to 8 and 11th grade failed to meet benchmarks for college readiness. The test is new and considered harder than previous ones — and scores did increase from 2015, the first year scores were reported.  But they remained low — and certain groups, such as black students, lagged behind.


Kyle Stokes, KPCC

At least 225,000 Southern California public school students miss at least three weeks of class each year which, research suggests, puts them at risk of falling behind in school — if not dropping out altogether. Those students attend schools in 47 districts in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura and western Riverside counties the authors of a new national analysis identified as having notable concentrations of "chronic absenteeism."


John Fensterwald, EdSource

After months of drafting, revising and debating how best to measure and improve schools, the State Board of Education this week will adopt key elements of a new and distinct school accountability system. The series of votes on Thursday will meet the Legislature’s Oct. 1 deadline and will mark 2½ years since the state board suspended its simpler predecessor, the Academic Performance Index. The board expects to change components of the system in coming years.


September 2, 2016

Priska Neely, KPCC

Visual and performing arts standards for schools in California are about to get a makeover. State legislators passed a bill Tuesday to update the state's content standards in the arts for the first time since 2001. Arts education advocates say the changes are overdue: while California educators have updated standards for most school subjects in recent years to reflect changing technology, research and educational priorities, arts standards have languished.


Elissa Nadworny, KPCC

Like many schools, Gibson Elementary in St. Louis had big problems with attendance — many students were missing nearly a month of school a year. Melody Gunn, who was the principal at Gibson last year, set out to visit homes and figure out why kids weren't showing up. Her biggest discovery? They didn't have clean uniforms to wear to school. Many families, she found, didn't have washing machines in the home, and kids were embarrassed to show up at school wearing dirty clothes. The result was that often, they didn't come. Gunn thought this was a problem she could fix. She called Whirlpool, which agreed to donate some washers and dryers. Gunn had them installed at the school and then opened the doors for parents to use the machines. If folks couldn't make it during the school day, the school would offer access to the laundry machines after hours. It hasn't made every kid show up, but Principal Gunn says it's working.

August 26, 2016

Deepa Fernandes, KPCC

When the Los Angeles Unified School District opened its doors for the new school year last week, the number of 4-year-olds who began class in the district's newest grade was more than double the number who enrolled last year.


John Fensterwald, EdSource

Smarter Balanced test scores for all California student subgroups nudged upward this year, in tandem with average statewide gains in math and English language arts. But parallel progress won’t narrow the wide disparities in achievement between low-income and Hispanic students and their white, Asian and wealthier classmates. And for African-American students and for English learners, the achievement gap slightly widened, according to results that the Department of Education released on Wednesday.


Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week

Are you a fan of your local public school? Then you've got some company—in fact, you might have more company than at any other time in recent history. That's one main conclusion from results of a public-opinion poll released by Education Next, a K-12 policy journal, on Tuesday. The poll, which has been conducted since 2007, found that a higher share of respondents would give their local schools an A or B grade (55 percent) than in any other previous survey conducted by the group. Views of public schools have improved across several demographic groups broken out by Education Next since 2007, but whites' views of their local schools remain markedly better than those of blacks and Hispanics.

August 19, 2016

John Fensterwald, EdSource

For the past year, EdSource has followed the development of the new school improvement and accountability system that the State Board of Education is leading. The 10-question primer that follows provides an overview of the work so far and what lies ahead.


Mike Szymanski, LA School Report

California’s largest coalition of community colleges is finalizing two new programs with the nation’s second-largest school district to give LA Unified students a free year of college tuition and encourage them to enroll in college classes while still in high school. The details are expected to be announced in September, with the goal of offering the first year of free tuition beginning next fall. The dual enrollment plan could start even earlier.


Claudio Sanchez, NPR

Native American students make up only 1.1 percent of the nation's high school population. And in college, the number is even smaller. More than any other ethnic or racial group, they're the least likely to have access to college prep or advanced placement courses. Many get little or no college counseling at all. In 1998, College Horizons, a small nonprofit based in New Mexico, set out to change that through five-day summer workshops on admissions, financial aid and the unique challenges they'll face on campus. Its director, Carmen Lopez, sat down with NPR to talk about the obstacles that bright, talented Native students face.

August 12, 2016

Lillian Mongeau, The Atlantic

Fifty-one years ago in the White House Rose Garden, former President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the launch of Head Start. “Five- and 6-year-old children are inheritors of poverty's curse and not its creators,” Johnson told his audience as he explained that the federal government would be, for the first time, funding education and health services for children living in poverty in the form of a public preschool program. That first summer, according to a press release from the time, the program was to serve 530,000 children in 11,000 centers at a cost of $112 million, or $857 million in today’s dollars.


Sarah Butrymowicz, The Hechinger Report

It sounded like an ordinary assignment for a visual arts class: Teacher Karen Ladd asked her freshmen at Sanborn Regional High School to research an artist, create a piece of art inspired by the artist’s work and then write a reflection about the experience. Dressed in tank tops and shorts that heralded the arrival of summer weather, some students studied the assignment while others listened to headphones as they browsed for artists online. One girl begged to be allowed to use Bob Ross as her inspiration; another searched determinedly for paintings of bowling to use. But this was no ordinary class project: It was a test.


Nina Agrawal, Los Angeles Times

When Oscar Leong graduated from his Los Angeles high school four years ago, he ranked second in his class, with a 4.4 GPA and a scholarship to Swarthmore College, where he planned to major in astrophysics. But Leong, the son of Mexican immigrants, struggled his freshman year, working the hardest he’d ever worked to earn just a B- in introductory physics. His confidence shaken, Leong began to wonder if he was really cut out for Swarthmore. He considered transferring, or at least dropping his major.

August 5, 2016

John Fensterwald, EdSource

The six California school districts that designed their own school accountability and improvement model are asking the State Board of Education for permission to continue to develop their hybrid system in 2017-18 and beyond. The board will discuss and possibly vote on the proposal at its next meeting in September.


John Fensterwald, EdSource

California’s top two education officials on Monday spelled out their complaints with proposed federal regulations that they said would conflict with and undermine the state’s new plan to help schools improve and hold them accountable for student achievement.


Mikhail Zinshteyn, Hechinger Report

Call them the top four percent: elite private colleges and universities that together sit atop three-quarters of the higher education terrain’s endowment wealth. Among that group of 138 of the nation’s wealthiest colleges and universities, four in five charge poor students so much that they’d need to surrender 60 percent or more of their household incomes just to attend, even after financial aid is considered. Nearly half have enrollment rates of low-income students that place them in the bottom 5 percent nationally for such enrollment.

July 29, 2016

Michael Janofsky, EdSource
When the new school opens in Los Angeles less than a month from now, California will have its first conventional district school in nearly 20 years serving only one gender. The Girls Academic Leadership Academy, known as GALA, a middle and high school in Los Angeles Unified, is built around a STEM curriculum – science, technology, engineering and math – as a way to attract more female students to subjects in which they are underrepresented. Its founding mission is to create an instructional atmosphere sensitive to ways girls learn that may be different from boys to develop self-confidence, emotional well-being and leadership skills. One of its primary goals is 100 percent college acceptance. 

Gail Robinson, Hechinger Report
One afternoon this spring, tension ran high at City-As-School in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. In drab classrooms, students, many of whom have struggled with school, presented research that would determine whether they would graduate this year. Fellow students listened, murmuring words of encouragement as two teachers pressed the speakers on their findings.

Catherine Gewertz, Education Week
Betty Torres did her best to be brave as she packed up to leave her working-class Texas border town. An academic powerhouse at 16, she felt ready for her summer courses at elite colleges in New England and the Midwest. But when her dad left her at the airport in San Antonio, she crumpled a little inside.


July 22, 2016

Keisha N. Blain, African American Intellectual History Society; Crystal R. Sanders, Pennsylvania State University
While searching for speeches in the Congressional Record related to the Howard protest, I stumbled upon a 1966 speech given by United States Senator John C. Stennis (D-MS). Senator Stennis took to the Senate floor to oppose the Child Development Group of Mississippi (CDGM), a statewide Head Start program that he maintained was a front for communism and black militancy.  His sensational language piqued my curiosity so I began looking for more information about CDGM.  I asked myself “What could be so radical and subversive about a program for preschoolers?” The more digging I did on CDGM’s program, the more obvious it became to me that black education at all levels—including early childhood education—is political and contested. I was struck by how black women throughout the Magnolia State mobilized to bring preschool programs to their children in the same ways that black men and women had nickeled and dimed elementary and secondary schools into existence decades earlier.  Also of interest was the fact that many of the individuals connected to CDGM had played integral roles in the state’s freedom struggle.  Head Start simply became their next battleground in a much longer war waged for full freedom.

Anya Kamenetz, NPR
Morgan Polikoff has a modest proposal. The associate professor at the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education has been looking over the new federal education law. He thinks the Department of Education should abandon what has been the central principle of school accountability for the last decade and a half. He has submitted a public letter during the feds' open comment period for rulemaking and asked other researchers and education figures to sign on. So far, dozens have joined him. What Polikoff wants the government to ditch is a reliance on the "proficiency rate."

Larry Gordon, EdSource
At 9 a.m., the first group of teenagers boarded a yellow school bus at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor in San Pedro, close to the West Coast’s largest port. After two more stops to pick up others, it headed north on the crowded freeway to Santa Barbara, 125 miles up the coast – and to a glimpse of their possible futures. Thirty-six students, most from lower-income and immigrant families, then spent the day touring two campuses – UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College. Almost 12 hours later, the bus was back where it started, but many of the students were not – their eyes had been opened to expanded opportunities.

Larry Gordon, EdSource
Overhauling financial aid policies to encourage more community college students to enroll full-time. Working more closely with K-12 schools and the state’s four-year public universities. Getting more high school students to take community college courses. Helping more students from low-income and minority communities to get workforce training or associate degrees. Those are some of the goals that Eloy Ortiz Oakley said he wants to pursue when he becomes the next chancellor of California’s community college system in December. Oakley, who has headed the Long Beach community college district since 2007, was hired on Monday to become statewide chancellor and will oversee the 113 colleges that enroll 2.1 million part-time and full-time students. 


July 15, 2016

Lillian Mongeau, The Atlantic

“He was very angry. He was scratching his face, kicking, and screaming,” Carrie Giddings, a preschool teacher, said of one of her students during his first days in her class at Kruse Elementary School in northern Colorado. The boy’s father had been in and out of jail, Giddings said. She thinks the 3-year-old had witnessed abuse at home before he enrolled in preschool at Kruse. His family was poor. For a while, they had lived with relatives, unable to afford their own place.  “Everything that could happen to a kid, he’d had it all,” Giddings said, asking that the child’s name not be used. “He was a year and a half behind.”


Pat Maio, EdSource

Next month, 14-year-old Malachi Compton is heading into 9th grade at Grand Terrace High School in the Colton Joint Unified School District east of Los Angeles. But first, he needs help with math. So he rises at 6:30 a.m. four days a week to attend Summer Algebra Institute classes at the Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino, where he learns to add and subtract fractions with different denominators and calculate algebraic expressions with exponents.


Emily DeRuy, The Atlantic

Despite making up a growing proportion of California’s population, Latinos are less likely than whites, Asians, and blacks in the state to have graduated from a four-year college. The rollout of a new program that allows some community colleges to grant bachelor’s degrees has the potential to change that. But a new report from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project cautions that the degree gaps aren’t going to close unless the schools and state lawmakers are willing to acknowledge and deliberately focus on them.



July 8, 2016

Fermin Leal, EdSource

Emma Centeno stood on the stage last month during her Santa Ana College graduation, proudly holding up her associate of arts degree to cheering friends and family. Two weeks later, she stood on another graduation stage, this time to receive her high school diploma.


Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

The University of California’s flagship campuses have significantly boosted admissions offers to state residents — including the most African Americans and Latinos since voters banned affirmative action two decades ago — officials announced Wednesday. UCLA and UC Berkeley each admitted an additional 1,000 California freshman for fall 2016, increasing students from all ethnicities for an overall boost of more than 11%.


Gary Orfield, UCLA; Theodore M. Shaw, UNC; Stella M. Flores, NYU; Liliana M. Garces, Pennsylvania State University; and Angelo N. Ancheta, Santa Clara University; AERA

On Tuesday, June 28, 2016, AERA held a briefing at the National Press Club on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The briefing, titled “After Fisher

: What the Supreme Court’s Ruling Means for Students, Colleges, and the Country,” featured a panel of five experts, including Gary Orfield, Theodore M. Shaw, Stella M. Flores, Liliana M. Garces, and Angelo N. Ancheta. The purpose was to address the implications of the decision for ensuring quality education for all students and graduates capable of contributing to the demands of a 21st-century workplace. Issues discussed included next steps in university admissions, best practices for colleges and universities, and potential programs in light of the scientific evidence on the educational benefits of student diversity and the importance of taking race into account. 


Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

Seven California State University campuses are busy this summer putting the finishing touches on a program to help people who were previously incarcerated become successful in college. The program, called Project Rebound, will create an office where formerly incarcerated students can receive tutoring, counseling on academics and financial aid, and receive cash help to buy meals and books.


July 1, 2016

The Times Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times
In 2014, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced a spectacular improvement in its graduation rate: Fully 77% of students who had come in as 9th graders four years earlier were now going to graduate as seniors. But there was a bit of a trick behind the number: It included only students who attended what are called “comprehensive” high schools. Those who had been transferred to alternative programs — the students most at risk of dropping out — weren’t counted. If they had been factored in, the rate would have been 67% — still good, but not nearly as flashy a number.
  Vikram Amar, Los Angeles Times
On Thursday, the Supreme Court surprised a lot of observers when it upheld, 4-3, the race-based affirmative action plan employed by the University of Texas in its undergraduate admissions.

  Hari Sreenivasan, PBS
In most states across America, education for teen offenders pales in comparison to what they'd receive on the outside. Just one third mandate that these kids meet the same standards as their public school counterparts. Massachusetts is one of them, and there the goal is to save these young offenders with vocational classes and good old reading, writing and arithmetic. Hari Sreenivasan reports.

June 24, 2016

Robert Barnes, The Washington Post
The Supreme Court on Thursday said University of Texas admission officials may consider the race of student applicants in a limited way to build a diverse student body. The 4-to-3 decision was a surprising win for advocates of affirmative action, who say the benefits of diversity at the nation’s colleges and universities are worth the intrusion on the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection that generally forbids the government from making decisions based on racial classifications.
  Spencer Michels, PBS
San Francisco’s Lowell High School is one of the most selective public schools in the country. But the school’s selectivity means that black and Latino students, who are often less prepared for academic rigor than Lowell’s majority-Asian students, are underrepresented. In association with Education Week, special correspondent Spencer Michels reports on how elite schools are working to diversify.
  Kyle Stokes, KPCC
Early numbers show nearly three-quarters of Los Angeles Unified School District's high school senior class met a new set of graduation requirements, district officials have announced. The Class of 2016 is the first L.A. Unified has required to complete California's so-called "A-G" sequence of required high school courses — and, superintendent Michelle King said Tuesday, preliminary figures show 74 percent of this year’s seniors did so.
  The Times Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times
Because of new rules designed to raise graduation standards, officials of the Los Angeles Unified School District woke up in December to the grim news that only half of its students were on track to graduate, down from 74% the year before. The problem was that this was the first year all students had to pass the full range of college-prep courses — known as the A through G sequence – required by the University of California and California State University for admission. But just a couple of months later, the situation suddenly, startlingly improved, with 63% on track to graduate. By the end of March, 68% had completed their A-G courses, and an additional 15% were close enough that they might be able to make it. The actual graduation rate will not be known for several months. How did this remarkable turnaround happen, and what does it mean?
  Dorian Merina, KPCC
The state budget that lawmakers sent to Governor Jerry Brown this week could open up scores of new preschool seats in the Los Angeles area and prompt the re-opening of an early education center – but the gains still represent just a fraction of the high need that remains as many parents scramble to find seats for their children.

June 17, 2016

Louis Freedberg, EdSource

Despite close parallels between California’s school reforms and those called for in the new federal law signed by President Barack Obama last December, California and the U.S. Department of Education appear to be on a collision course regarding the rating systems each wants to put in place to measure success or failure of the state’s schools. Led by Gov. Jerry Brown and the State Board of Education, California is moving away from a single index, score or number to rank schools and districts.


Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

The Los Angeles Unified School Board is considering a proposal to open college savings accounts for all of its students to encourage more of them to enroll and graduate from college. “This is part of a multi-layered strategy to increase college access for students and families who have been traditionally excluded from this part of the American Dream,” said school board President Steve Zimmer, who authored the resolution.


Fermin Leal, EdSource

California’s public colleges and universities are failing to graduate enough students with degrees in health fields and the so-called STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and math — to meet the state’s growing job demands, according to a new report. The report by The Campaign for College Opportunity said California ranks near the bottom nationally in the rate of bachelor and associate degrees in those subjects at a time that it has far more STEM entry-level jobs than any other state.


June 10, 2016

Judy Lin, CALmatters

One by one, dozens of blacks and Latinos lined up behind a microphone placed before the state school board appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Spanish-speaking mothers pleaded for the 10-member panel to evaluate schools based on parent involvement because they have felt unwelcome at their children’s schools. African-American students asked the state to compile school suspension and absenteeism rates because those problems cause students to fall behind on schoolwork, feel alienated by teachers and struggle to find their self worth.


Education Week

Beginning with the class of 2011, federal regulations required each state to calculate graduation rates using a method known as the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR). All states and the District of Columbia have reported ACGR rates. Based on those state-reported data, the U.S. Department of Education indicates that the nation’s graduation rate reached an all-time high, 82 percent for the class of 2014. That’s an increase of 1 percentage point over the prior year. But black, Latino, and American Indian students continue to lag behind their white and Asian peers. Browse the latest state and national data for all students and subgroups.


Anya Kamenetz, NPR

Have you ever seen a school data wall? In a struggling Newark, N.J., public school, I've seen bulletin boards showing the test scores of each grade compared with state averages. And in one in affluent Silicon Valley, I've seen smartboards that track individual students' math responses in real time. These kinds of public displays send a message: This school cares about student performance by the numbers. You've probably heard about the positive side of all that data gathering and sharing. Like this story we ran just last week about a district that used data as the catalyst to conquer chronic absences. But as "data-driven" education becomes more popular, critics are also raising a range of concerns.


June 3, 2016

Elissa Nadworny, NPR

Mel Atkins has spent most of his life with Grand Rapids Public Schools in Michigan. He graduated from Ottawa Hills High, where he played baseball. But his real love was bowling. He says he's bowled 22 perfect games. He's been a teacher and principal in the city's public schools. And now he works for the district, overseeing just about everything related to students. One more thing you need to know about him: Mel Atkins is a number-cruncher. Three years ago, the superintendent came to him with a question: Does Grand Rapids have an issue with chronic absenteeism?


Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

California is getting closer to defining what a good school should look like. But how will parents know if their school is one of them? On Thursday, the federal government released draft regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act’s provisions on school accountability. Under the guidelines, states have to tell parents how their schools are doing on a range of factors — and also give the school an overall rating. 


Mikhail Zinshteyn, The Hechinger Report

Whites, blacks, Asian-Americans and Hispanic-Americans are all graduating from college at higher rates now, but stubborn racial and gender gaps are widening, a new federal report finds. Women earn more college degrees than men but receive lower wages, while whites and Asian-Americans continue to earn bachelor’s degrees at higher rates than blacks and Hispanics.


Larry Gordon, EdSource

Undocumented college students are leaving a wealth of unspent aid money on the table five years after the passage of the landmark California law that provides those immigrants grants for higher education.


May 27, 2016

Anya Kanenetz, All ThingsConsidered
Grit has been on NPR several times recently, not to mention front and center on the national education agenda.  The term expresses the idea that a crucial component of success is people's ability to pick a goal and stick with it. That's the main thrust of research by Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania, which has earned her a MacArthur "genius" grant, national acclaim and, this month, a best-selling book.  But a new report suggests that we should all take a step back and chill.


Jeremy Hay, EdSource

It seemed a straightforward enough goal: define what it means for a child to be ready for kindergarten. But when a bill to establish a kindergarten readiness standard was introduced in the Legislature in February, several child development and early education experts objected, suggesting it could push preschools to become overly and inappropriately academic.


John Fensterwald, EdSource

To shine a brighter light on academic disparities, the six California districts known as the CORE districts have tracked test results for much smaller student subgroups than the state requires, giving a more complete picture of how some groups – African-American children and students with disabilities, in particular – performed.


Kimberly Beltran, Cabinet Report

As a population targeted for new state support, foster youth continue to struggle – a fact that prompted the California School Boards Association to launch an initiative to raise awareness and offer strategies for improving safety, stability and uninterrupted access to education for this at-risk group of students.


May 20, 2016

Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

California's schools are going to have to answer for more than just test scores, by the year after next. The state may also judge them on suspension rates, graduation rates, attendance and the rate at which students who are still learning English are becoming proficient. Those are the measures the California State Board of Education voted on Wednesday to include in its new school ratings system. The vote came after more than 100 members of the public spoke about what they think a good school looks like. They pressed the board to include non-academic factors, such as surveys on school climate — a measure of how safe a school feels — parental engagement and suspension rates. 

Deepa Fernandes, KPCC

Some 4-year-olds in California may miss out on public preschool as Gov. Jerry Brown stuck to his Child Care Block Grant proposal in his revised budget plan released Friday that eliminates the transitional kindergarten program. The governor doesn’t believe the state should pay for middle- and upper-income children to attend transitional kindergarten, said Jessica Holmes, an analyst at the California Department of Finance. 

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC
California high school students graduated at a rate of 82.3 percent in 2015, up 1.3 percentage points from the year before. Those numbers represent a slightly larger increase than the state has seen in recent years and bring graduation rates to another record high, according to state Department of Education data released Tuesday.


May 13, 2016

Michael Janofsky, EdSource

In the face of losing more than 100,000 students since 2000, Los Angeles Unified is turning to magnet schools as a strategy to slow enrollment decline and provide an alternative to independent charter schools, which have nearly doubled in number over the same period, to more than 260.


Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

Alberto Retana wants a very specific kindergarten experience for his 4-year-old son: a dual-language Spanish and English immersion program, close to home near View Park-Windsor Hills, with a diverse student population and a track record of preparing students well. Now the Los Angeles Unified School District wants to make it easier for parents like Retana to find the school that best fits their child by creating a search-engine-style website and a single application process for almost all district public schools, but not its charter schools.


Catherine Gewertz, Education Week

"Building a Grad Nation," the seventh in an annual series of reports on U.S. graduation rates, concluded that regular district high schools make up 41 percent of those that didn't surpass the 67-percent threshold in 2013-14. Charter, virtual, and alternative schools—a small sector, representing only 14 percent of the country's high schools and 8 percent of its high school students—account for 52 percent of the schools that fell short of that mark. (The remaining 7 percent are vocational and special-education schools.)  

Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. wants colleges to stop asking applicants about their criminal histories early in the admissions process, he announced at UCLA

 on Monday. Asking prospective students for information about their criminal history can prevent them from finishing their applications, King said. Because a disproportionate number of people who have been charged with crimes are people of color, the U.S. Department of Education says, these questions add one more barrier to those that disadvantaged students already face when seeking a college education.


May 6, 2016

Corey Mitchell, Education Week

Immigrant children living in the United States as unaccompanied minors have been blocked or discouraged from registering for school in at least 35 districts in 14 states, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Julian R. Betts, Sam M. Young, Andrew C. Zau, and Karen Volz Bachofer, Public Policy Institute of California

Major urban school districts–including those in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Oakland–have recently changed their high school graduation requirements, making college preparatory coursework mandatory. These districts now require students to complete the a–g sequence, 30 semester-long courses in assigned subjects required for admission to the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems. This bold reform seeks to equalize access to college prep coursework, thus making college more possible for historically underserved students. But it also risks denying a high school diploma to many of the very students it is designed to help. This report examines the benefits and potential pitfalls of the reform—as experienced in San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles—with primary focus on the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD).


Fermin Leal, EdSource

Many African-American students admitted to University of California campuses said they chose to enroll at other universities because of the UC system’s lack of diversity, its high costs to attend and poor outreach to them while they applied, according to a new UC survey.


April 29, 2016

Emma Brown, The Washington Post

Noah McQueen attended 10 different middle schools, then transferred among high schools three different times during his freshman year. He was struggling. But then he was paired with a mentor who helped him find his path. Now 19 and a student at Morehouse College, McQueen has become one of the faces of My Brother’s Keeper, President Obama’s initiative to improve the lives and prospects of boys and young men of color.


Associated Press, Education Week

There was an emergency in Room 14. Three girls injured, one with a broken thighbone and maybe something more serious. Snapping on sterile gloves and kneeling before the worst-off patient, two 17-year-olds went to work. The pair cut open the girl's pant leg, pinched her toes to see if she had feeling and fit her with a neck brace. Sweat flecked their faces by the time they had the patient — a perfectly healthy classmate — strapped to a back board 12 minutes later. "You are acting like professionals and you haven't even finished this class yet!" Gretchen Medel, an EMT who oversaw the mock exercise during the first responder course she teaches at a health care-focused high school east of San Francisco, told the students. Decades after "shop class" became known as a lesser alternative for children deemed unfit for college, vocational education is making a comeback in many of the nation's high schools. 


Anya Kamenetz, NPR

The latest results of the test known as the Nation's Report Card are in. They cover high school seniors, who took the test in math and reading last year. The numbers are unlikely to give fodder either to educational cheerleaders or alarmists: The average score in both subjects was just one point lower in 2015 compared with the last time the test was given, in 2013. This tiny downtick was statistically significant in mathematics, but not for the reading test.


Mikhail Zinshteyn, The Atlantic

The nation’s colleges continue to graduate far fewer students who grew up in poor households. With the country’s economic potential possibly hanging in the balance, a new report urges the United States to dedicate more resources and know-how to closing the college-completion gap between wealthier students and those from low-income backgrounds.


April 22, 2016

Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emerita, Stanford University

AERA Distinguished Lecture


Deepa Fernandes, KPCC

There is bipartisan agreement that the state's early childhood system is broken. Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed overhauling it, but his proposal doesn't have the support of experts and leaders in the field. Now two new reports reinforce the myriad of problems with the current system and present alternative suggestions for improving the lot of children under the age of five.


Kyle Stokes, KPCC

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has set a goal of ensuring all graduates of L.A. Unified high schools can attend one year of community college tuition-free starting in 2017, pledging to raise roughly $1.5 million from the city's business and philanthropic communities to help make it happen.


April 15, 2016

Associated Press
Immigrant children living in the U.S. without legal status have been blocked from registering for school and accessing the educational services they need, according to a report on school districts in four states by Georgetown University Law Center researchers.


Anya Kamenetz, NPR
High schools around the country are increasingly turning to external, for-profit providers for "online credit recovery." These courses, taken on a computer, offer students who have failed a course a second chance to earn credits they need for graduation, whether after school, in the summer or during the school year. In some districts, it's an important part of efforts to raise graduation rates, as we wrote about in our Graduation Rates project last year. Today, the first large-scale, randomized controlled trial of student performance in these courses is out from the American Institutes of Research, and the news is not great. 


Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times
Students in South Los Angeles public high schools will soon receive priority admission to Cal State Dominguez Hills. On Thursday, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced an agreement with the university to guarantee admission to qualified students who attend the high schools nearby. The collaboration's stated goal is to provide a clearer path into higher education for students in the largely low-income neighborhoods around the university. The program hopes to encourage students from the included schools to study science, technology, engineering and math — the so-called STEM disciplines.


April 8, 2016

Kyle Stokes, KPCC

Los Angeles school officials are changing the way that they screen students for special education services – a move partially motivated by financial pressures but also aimed at righting inequities in the way some students are educated. Los Angeles Unified officials are now putting some special education referrals through extra scrutiny and looking for ways to better integrate students with special needs back into traditional classrooms.


Fermin Leal, EdSource

Nearly a decade of frustration, anxiety and disappointment ended for Marisa Herrera this month when her long-awaited high school diploma arrived in the mail. “Finally!” she remembered saying after ripping open the envelope, fighting back tears. “I didn’t think this day would ever come. But I can finally say that I’m a high school graduate.” Herrera, now 27, is among the thousands of students across California who failed the state’s high school exit exam but are now receiving diplomas retroactively because a new state law has eliminated the test as a graduation requirement.


Mariela Patron, KQED

As a senior at North Hollywood High, Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca did not know if she could afford college. She was an undocumented student with limited options to make money. So she turned to her counselor and teachers for help — but they did not know where to refer her for scholarships.


Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

The University of California announced Monday a significant boost in California students, particularly Latinos and African Americans, offered admission for fall 2016. The announcement comes as the UC system has been under political fire for what critics say is a policy of admitting too many applicants from other states and countries.

April 1, 2016

Andre Perry, The Hechinger Report
Two recent reports regarding black student achievement set the proper framework for others who write about why institutions struggle to educate all students, particularly black boys and young men.

Julian Vasquez Heilig, The Progressive
A revolt involving hundreds of thousands of Americans against the federal and state government has been brewing over the past couple of years. What caused this grassroots revolt? Parents and students have had enough of high-stakes testing required by federal law and implemented by the states and have chosen to “opt out” of the tests.

Christine Armario, KPCC
Miles from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the red carpet, Steve Shin belts out tunes on a piano scarred with nicks and love notes written in scratches, teaching children how to sing. In scores of other middle schools, his students might have already learned how to read the notes on a scale. But years of cuts have stripped arts classes from much of the Los Angeles district, leaving many children in the world's entertainment capital with no instruction in music, visual arts, dance or theater.

March 24, 2016

Susan Frey, EdSource

As California legislators consider a new approach to financing the state’s preschool programs, they need to develop a funding strategy that will ensure those programs are high quality, according to a recent research brief.


Priska Neely, KPCC

In a workroom at the Hammer Museum on a recent afternoon, a group of two dozen fourth graders from Cienega Elementary sat focused on constructing tiny art galleries out of paper, coloring and glueing paintings on the walls. 


Martin R. West, Brookings

Evidence confirms that student skills other than academic achievement and ability predict a broad range of academic and life outcomes. This evidence, along with a new federal requirement that state accountability systems include an indicator of school quality or student success not based on test scores, has sparked interest in incorporating such “non-cognitive” or “social-emotional” skills into school accountability systems.


Emily Deruy, The Atlantic

Many more black students are graduating from college than a decade ago. According to a new report from The Education Trust, a nonprofit that focuses on improving outcomes for low-income students of color, completion rates for African Americans increased at nearly 70 percent of the four-year public schools that raised their overall graduations rates between 2003 and 2013. But at the same time, a third of the colleges the group studied that had rising overall graduation rates actually had stagnant or declining graduation rates for black students.


April Brown and Mike Fritz, PBS

For kids growing up in foster care, personal traumas and frequent moves from home-to-home and school-to-school have led to grim educational outcomes. Only about half finish high school and of that group, only 20 percent go on to college. The NewsHour’s April Brown reports from Pittsburgh on one effort to improve lives and opportunities for children in the system.

March 18, 2016

Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

Ordered by the federal government to elevate academics for students with disabilities, and by the state to raise low-income student achievement, the California Department of Education is working to create a unified system that will do both, a move that aims to bring special education students into every school district initiative to improve achievement.


Michael Collier, EdSource

The Next Generation Science Standards, the newest set of academic standards being implemented in California, have moved a step closer to when students will be tested on them. At its bimonthly meeting in Sacramento Wednesday, the board voted to designate three new end-of-year tests that are aligned with the science standards – one for 5th-graders, one for 8th-graders and one for high school students in either 10th, 11th, or 12th grades – and also to move forward with the design-phase of the test.


Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

George Green V, a 19-year-old student, wants you to know what it means to have a black teacher with dreadlocks like his. “When I see him teach, I’m looking at myself in the mirror,” he said. Green is studying at Sacramento Charter High School. He was diagnosed with depression at age 10, and feels comfortable talking about his feelings with his teacher, which helps him and his classmates stay engaged in school.


Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

The California State University is now using incoming freshmen’s test scores on the state's new standardized tests to decide if students are ready for college level math and English or if they need to take remedial classes. The new requirement is leading CSU officials to urge 11th graders to take the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (Smarter Balanced) tests more seriously.


March 11, 2016

Ronald Brownstein, The Atlantic

Americans continue to see expanding access to education as the best strategy for widening opportunity in the modern economy, but remain conflicted as to whether to extend that commitment to dramatically widening the pathway to higher education, the Atlantic Media/Pearson Opportunity Poll has found. The survey found that big majorities of Americans, across racial, partisan, and generational lines, support expanding access to pre-school for more young children. 


Sara Goldrick-Rab and Nancy Kendall, The Century Foundation

The high price of college is the subject of media headlines, policy debates, and dinner table conversations because of its implications for educational opportunities, student and family pocketbooks, and the economy. Some people caution against giving too much weight to the advertised price of a college education, pointing out that the availability of financial aid means that college is not as expensive as people think it is. But they overlook a substantial problem: for many students, the real price of college is much higher than what recruitment literature, conventional wisdom, and even official statistics convey. Our research indicates that the current approach to higher education financing too often leaves low-income students facing unexpected, and sometimes untenable, expenses.


Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post

A growing body of research suggests that African Americans are bearing the brunt of the student debt burden, as they are more likely than other groups to borrow for college and fall behind on payments. It goes to reason that a sweeping overhaul of college pricing, be it the elimination of tuition at public universities or reduction of interest rates on student loans, would have the greatest impact on African American students. And just who would usher in such a change? Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. That’s the premise of a new academic paper that touts the Democratic presidential candidate’s proposal of free tuition for everyone attending state colleges and universities. 

Mikhail Zinshteyn, The Atlantic

The SAT has been called out of touch, instructionally irrelevant, and a contributor to the diversity gaps on college campuses because the test arguably benefits wealthier students who can afford heaps of test preparation. But now the SAT is fighting back.

March 4, 2016

Deepa Fernandes, KPCC

California has a preschool access problem: 40 percent of all 4-year-olds in the state are not enrolled in early learning. The state's level of preschool enrollment mirror those across the United States, which has some of the lowest rates of preschool enrollment in the world. Market rates for private preschool are comparable to the cost of community college, leaving many families unable to pay for school. Public preschool is available for families whose income is low enough. But even among families that are eligible, an estimated 30-35,000 children still don't have a seat. 


Lydia Lum, The Atlantic

When children start kindergarten, sizable gaps in science knowledge already exist between whites and minorities—as well as between youngsters from upper-income and low-income families. And those disparities often deepen into significant achievement gaps by the end of eighth grade if they aren’t addressed during elementary school.


Mikhail Zinshteyn, The Atlantic

A majority of students with A and B grade point averages in high school still require developmental education at the community-college level, raising new questions about the skill level of incoming college students and the ways institutions measure their abilities. This is especially worrisome for students of color given that half of Hispanic college students and nearly a third of black college students start their higher-education paths at community colleges.


Valerie Strauss, The Answer Sheet

It is axiomatic that college graduates earn on average more money than those students who don’t go to college, and, so, kids from low-income families can climb out of poverty through higher education. But two new reports show that a college degree isn’t worth as much — at least when it comes to wages — to students who grew up in poor families.

February 26, 2016

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

For years, Los Angeles school officials have suggested that miracle academic turnarounds would be unsustainable and even suspect, and that real and lasting gains for the academically lagging school systemwould be a step-by-step journey. On Friday, that gospel changed.


Alisha Kirby, Cabinet Report

Nearly 66 percent of students released nationally from the juvenile court school system do not return to traditional school. In California, the landscape might be further complicated by an unstructured re-entry process that does not properly transfer credits and often penalizes students for losing textbooks or failing to pay fines.


Richard D. Kahlenberg, The Atlantic

People from the richest quarter of the population outnumber those from the poorest quarter by almost 25 to one at the nation’s most selective institutions.


Tatiana Sanchez, Los Angeles Times

Officials at California's four-year public universities are reaching out to an estimated 10,000 undergraduate students who might qualify for a special loan aimed at reducing their tuition — a program that further distinguishes the state as a national trendsetter in providing services to immigrants who are in the country illegally. The California DREAM low-interest loans are designated for such immigrants who are enrolled at University of California or California State University campuses. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the program into law in 2014, but funding didn't become available until last month.


February 19, 2016

Theresa Harrington, EdSource

Smarter Balanced tests administered in California and other states are well-aligned to Common Core standards in math and English language arts, but could be improved, according to two new studies.


Jonathan R. Cole, The Atlantic

March madness is almost here. No, I’m not referring to the college-basketball playoffs; I’m alluding to the anxious waiting of young people and their families of word about their fate from the highly selective colleges of America. And I’m talking as well about those who are about to venture forth on the ritualistic campus tours to determine where they will apply next fall. What few of these families realize is how broken the admission system is at these selective colleges.


Timothy Pratt, The Hechinger Report

The idea, being tried at a growing number of colleges and universities, is simple: For low-income students, many of them minorities or the first in their families to go to college, surprisingly small financial shortfalls are often all that stands between them and their goals, according to Tim Renick, vice president for enrollment management and student success at Georgia State. Microgrants ranging from several hundred dollars to $2,000 can get them to the finish line.




February 12, 2016

Alia Wong, The Atlantic

The racial disparities in school-discipline rates are well-known, as are the damaging effects that harsh disciplinary policies can have on school climates. Less clear is whether—and if so, how —these tendencies contribute to the race-based achievement gap, a problem so entrenched and pervasive that discussing it is almost cliché.


Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

The pitch came hard and fast: The University of California is the nation's finest public system of higher education. Financial aid is aplenty. The commitment to diversity is strong.

The college recruiter who spoke Thursday to teachers, counselors, parents and more than 100 top students of color at Manual Arts High School should know her stuff. After all, she's president of the 10-campus, 246,000-student UC system — Janet Napolitano.


Fermin Leal, EdSource

The state could help more than 20,000 additional students pay for college under Gov. Jerry Brown’s state budget proposal. The governor wants the state to invest $2.1 billion in 2016-17 in the Cal Grant Program, the nation’s largest state-funded college aid program. That’s $137 million more than last year, which will help up to 7 percent more incoming freshmen, transfer, and continuing college students.


February 5, 2016

Emma Brown, The Washington Post

President Obama announced Saturday that he seeks $4 billion from Congress to dramatically increase the number of children who have access to computer science classes in school, a move he said is necessary to ensure that students are competitive in a job market that rewards technological know-how.


Lillian Mongeau, The Atlantic

Every fourth-grade student in Long Beach’s public schools attends a tour like this and all fifth-graders visit California State University, Long Beach, known as Long Beach State. The tours are just one example of the many ways the three biggest public-education systems in this working-class, seaside California city cooperate. Long Beach City College, Long Beach State, and the Long Beach Unified School District have cooperated for about two decades on initiatives like early college tours, targeted professional development for teachers, and college-admissions standards that favor local students.


PR Newswire

As higher education officials struggled to find race-neutral alternative college admissions policies in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's 2013 Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin ruling, a new series of studies commissioned by Educational Testing Service (ETS), finds that race-neutral approaches fall far short. The four studies were commissioned by ETS's Policy Evaluation & Research Center and conducted in cooperation with the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. In the search for substitutes for race, nationally known researchers looked at: socioeconomic (SES) factors, state-sponsored guaranteed college admission programs, use of correlates of race, and the University of California's race-neutral efforts.


January 29, 2016

Deepa Fernandes, KPCC

Even as nearly hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles County preschoolers miss out on formal early education because there are simply not enough licensed seats, Los Angeles Unified school officials said this week that its preschools are not at full capacity.


Mike Rose, University of California, Los Angeles

Rather than the neglect that community colleges typically endure, lately they have been in the spotlight of reform, originating both from federal and state governments and from non-profit advocacy organizations and philanthropies. Many of the reforms target significant problems (e.g., low graduation rates) and offer reasonable remedies – for example, rethinking how colleges conduct developmental education. For some time now, I have been involved with these issues, and I would like to use my blog to reflect on current community college reform efforts, particularly those recommended in a heralded, widely circulating book that reflects years of work at Columbia University’s Community College Research Center: Thomas Bailey, Shanna Smith Jaggars, and Davis Jenkins’ Redesigning America’s Community Colleges.


Jill Barshay, Hechinger Report

Students are getting the message that a college education is a necessary prerequisite for a middle class life. Today, more than 85 percent of high school graduates eventually make their way to college. But much of the increase in college-going isn’t at traditional four-year universities with grassy quads and intellectually stimulating seminars. Instead, the nation’s community colleges are absorbing the largest chunk of the new students.


January 22, 2016

Jill Barshay, The Hechinger Report

Low-performing fourth-graders do poorly in writing tests given by computer, but high-performing students do better.


Meredith Kolodner, The Hechinger Report

Low-income students who transfer from community colleges to four-year colleges are less likely to get a degree than their wealthier peers, a new report shows. But in a sign of hope, their success varies dramatically by state and by college.


Anya Kamenetz, NPR

President Obama has increased college aid by over $50 billion since coming into office. And he's trying to do more. Acting Education Secretary John King announced two new proposals today that would expand the Pell Grant program, the biggest pot of federal money for students with financial need.


January 15, 2016

Alia Wong, The Atlantic

More Americans are getting their diplomas—but fewer are enrolling in college. Why the mismatch?


Meredith Kolodner, The Hechinger Report

The racial gap in who’s graduating from college has widened since 2007, a new report shows. While more blacks and Latinos are graduating from college now, the percentage of whites graduating has grown even faster.


Jason Song, Los Angeles Times

More than 206,000 people applied for admission to at least one University of California campus for the 2016 fall semester, setting a new record for the 12th year in a row, officials announced Monday.


January 8, 2016

KCRW, Guests: Suniya Luthar, Arizona State University; Julie Lythcott-Haims, Stanford University (formerly); Gwyeth Smith, Jr., independent college counselor; Carolyn Walworth, Palo Alto High School

Silicon Valley's Palo Alto school district is in crisis. The suicide rate for teenagers there is four to five times the national average. This tragic statistic has made the city a symbol of the pressure kids live under in affluent communities to get into elite colleges, to excel at everything, to succeed at all costs. This week, as high school seniors and their families gather around computers racing to finish their college applications, we ask whether the obsession with getting into the best colleges is hurting kids more than helping them, and what schools, parents and students can do lessen the stress.


Jon Marcus and Holly K. Hacker, The Hechinger Report

It’s a stark view of the reality of American higher education, in which rich kids go to elite private and flagship public campuses while poor kids — including those who score higher on standardized tests than their wealthier counterparts — end up at community colleges and regional public universities with much lower success rates, assuming they continue their educations at all. And new federal data analyzed by the Hechinger Report and the Huffington Post show the gap has been widening at a dramatically accelerating rate since the economic downturn began in 2008.


Ajay Nair, Huffington Post

This is my 20th year as an administrator in higher education. I've negotiated hunger strikes, sit-ins, and many other forms of protest and dissent intended to draw needed attention to matters of racial justice. Yet, long before I was an administrator, the demands of student movements on college campuses were much the same as those we see currently. To be sure, some incremental progress has been achieved over the years. Today, however, we have a unique opportunity to reimagine the academy -- not just to move the margins closer to the center but to redefine the very center.


December 18, 2015

Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn, The Atlantic

The U.S. Department of Education is celebrating a new milestone for the nation’s high-school graduation rate, with just over 82 percent of seniors earning diplomas in 2014. But these statistics, like so many others in the education realm, should come with a warning label: The numbers don’t tell the full story.


John Fensterwald, EdSource

Add this to California school boards’ to-do lists for 2016: Create a clear-cut, objective policy for determining which incoming 9th-grade students qualify to accelerate their sequence of math courses in high school. Districts must have the criteria in place by the start of the next school year under a state law that goes into effect on Jan. 1.


Anemona Hartocollis, The New York Times

In an awkward exchange in Wednesday’s potentially game-changing Supreme Court arguments on affirmative action, Justice Antonin Scalia hesitantly asked whether it might be better for black students to go to “a slower-track school where they do well” than to go to a highly selective college, like the University of Texas, through some form of racial preference.

Carla Rivera, Los Angeles Times

Many education reformers have long argued that California's seminal Master Plan for Higher Education is no longer suited to the task of producing millions more college graduates from an increasingly diverse pool of high school students.


December 11, 2015

KCRW, Guest: Tyrone Howard

California voters banned affirmative action in public university admissions in 1996 when Prop 209 passed. How has it played out at California schools?


American Educational Research Association, Panelists: Felice J. Levine, American Educational Research Association; Angelo N. Ancheta, Santa Clara University; Liliana M. Garces, Pennsylvania State University; Gary Orfield, University of California, Los Angeles; Shirley M. Malcom, American Association for the Advancement of Science

On Monday, December 7, 2015, two days before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the reconsideration of Fisher v. University of Texas, Austin, a panel of experts discussed the scientific evidence on the use of race as a factor in university admissions policies and the educational benefits of student diversity.


Elissa Nadworny, NPR

Every morning, the familiar routine plays out in hundreds of thousands of classrooms: A teacher looks out over the desks, taking note of who's in their seats and who isn't. On any given day, maybe there are one or two empty chairs. One here, one there. And that all goes into the school's daily attendance rate. But here's what that morning ritual doesn't show: That empty desk? It might be the same one that was empty last week or two weeks ago. The desk of a student who has racked up five, 10, 20 absences this year.


December 4, 2015

Emma Brown, The Washington Post

Low-income high school graduates were far less likely to enroll in higher education in 2013 than in 2008, a downward trend that came at the same time the Obama administration was pushing to boost college access and completion, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data.


Fermin Leal, EdSource

California’s public universities can no longer accommodate the increasing number of college-ready students because the state has failed to invest the needed resources in higher education, according to a report released today.


Anya Kamenetz, NPR

Last year, Susan Avey, the principal of Bogle Junior High School in Chandler, Ariz., had a heart-to-heart with one of her new teachers about how he was relating to students. In a previous year, this might have been a conversation based on subjective impressions. The teacher might have gotten defensive. But this year, Avey had a new tool up her sleeve: a survey of her students.


November 20, 2015

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

Driven by the end of the high school exit exam, the overall graduation rate for the Los Angeles Unified School District hit 74 percent, a new high, according to school district officials on Monday.


Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs and an important player in the funding of hotly debated education reforms in the U.S., is expanding her involvement in Los Angeles schools. Her organization, College Track, announced last week it will support dozens of students attending Jordan High School in Watts through a program designed to help them prepare for college and then earn a degree.



This report focuses on educator perspectives about state testing programs; upcoming reports will also address teacher capacity and the supports provided to teachers to implement standards and assessments.

November 13, 2015

Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

A lawsuit settlement announced Thursday confirms what attorneys have said for over a year: Jefferson’s problems were more widespread, and many students across California have missed days, weeks or months of learning time because they were sitting in courses without academic content or merely let out early.


Emma Brown, The Washington Post

The U.S. high school dropout rate has fallen in recent years, with the number of dropouts declining from 1 million in 2008 to about 750,000 in 2012, according to a new study to be released Tuesday. The number of “dropout factories” — high schools in which fewer than 60 percent of freshmen graduate in four years — declined significantly during the same period, according to the study by a coalition of education groups.


Craig Clough, LA School Report

After years of rising graduation rates, LA Unified is facing a stunning reversal this year, with recent estimates showing that no more than 49 percent of seniors are on pace to receive a diploma in 2016. But there may be a chance to avoid the sudden drop.

November 6, 2015

Fermin Leal, EdSource

The Los Angeles Unified School District has identified at least 8,069 former students who are eligible for high school diplomas after failing the California High School Exit Exam.


Beau Yarbrough, The Sun

A new report on the educational achievement and opportunity gaps faced by African-American students praises an Inland Empire city’s school district for its efforts to close those gaps.


Public Policy Institute of California

This report updates and extends projections of California’s workforce skills through 2030, focusing on the supply and demand for workers with a bachelor’s degree. We find that the state will fall about 1.1 million college graduates short of economic demand if current trends persist—a problem we call the workforce skills gap.


Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times

Whether justified or not, students and families often view admission to a prestigious college as a ticket to a better life.



October 30, 2015

KCRW, Guest: John Rogers, UCLA

How is this school testing mania playing out here in California, and in Los Angeles?


Kevin Welner, National Education Policy Center

This morning’s release of results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will report a dip in scores, according to multiple sources. These lower grades on the Nation’s Report Card are not good news for anyone, but they are particularly bad news for those who have been vigorously advocating for “no excuses” approaches — standards-based testing and accountability policies like No Child Left Behind.


Associated Press, Education Week

California student performance in math and reading has stagnated while wide achievement gaps for black, Hispanic and low-income students persist, according to results released Wednesday from a federal exam taken by students across the United States.



October 23, 2015

Sonali Kohli and Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

California’s high school graduation rate has improved in the last five years, moving from 74.7% in 2010 to 81% in 2013-14.


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