Rating California schools is a big battle

Aug 22, 2015 by

botched testing

By Dan Walters –

California’s largest-in-the-nation public school system educates – or purports to do so – 6 million-plus kids from dozens of socioeconomic, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.

National academic testing has found that California’s students rank near the bottom in achievement.

The situation spawns two perpetual political debates – whether we’re spending enough money to raise that achievement, and whether there’s sufficient accountability for results.

The money question is in abeyance, at least temporarily. An improving economy, a temporary tax increase and an overhaul of state school aid have raised per-pupil spending from all sources by roughly 50 percent in recent years to $13,000 a year, and from one of the nation’s lowest levels to at least the middle ranks.

Indeed, school spending has increased so dramatically during Jerry Brown’s second governorship that advocates of other programs, particularly health and welfare services to the poor, complain they are being shorted.

A multifront war over who should be held accountable for students’ progress, however, is still raging, and if anything metastasizing like a California wildfire.

Without writing its formal obituary, Brown and other politicians, plus the state’s education establishment, have strangled the test-based accountability system that California adopted in the late 1990s.

Educators, particularly the politically powerful California Teachers Association, despised a system that not only graded schools on how well they were improving academic achievement, but provided the basis for “parent trigger” actions to seize control of ill-performing schools. Nor did the CTA like the potential for using the data to judge teachers’ competence.

Source: Dan Walters: Rating California schools is a big battle | The Sacramento Bee

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.