California, Governor Brown, Sean Reardon discussed on Forum
A warming and drying trend begins today over the bay area. And it will continue into tomorrow is on shore flow is weakening gusty northerly winds in the higher elevations though will result in enhanced fire weather concerns from tonight into tomorrow morning, primarily in the hills of eastern Napa county sunny skies today when I've is from the upper sixties to the upper eighties. It's nine zero six from K Q E D public media this forum. I'm Queen Kim. In for Michael Krasny. We're going to dig into public education and a new study that finds among other things that California Public school students score well below the national average in reading and math and fall behind before they even enter kindergarten. That's according to getting down to fax project. It's a wide ranging study by Stanford and the policy analysis for California, education or pace. The study also found that while overall student performance has improved over the last decade. The state has made only limit. Progress in closing the achievement gaps for black Latino and low income students. We'll talk about the challenges facing California schools, and it's early education programs, and what can be done to improve them. But before we get to the researchers who authored many of these studies I wanted to bring on John fenced or walled. He is the editor at large of Ed source. That's an independent nonprofit research and reporting organization. Welcome to forum. John pleasure to be here. So in your own words, this study is a massive collection of studies. There's thirty six over all told one hundred authors before you drill into some of the findings. Can you give a sort of a twenty thousand foot view of what these studies were supposed to accomplish? And why releasing it now? Yeah. Getting down the fact to and because it was getting down the fact one in ten years ago. It was commissioned by governor Schwarzenegger. So it's been ten years and have been out tremendous number sweeping changes since then, you know, we have new academic standards. We have new accountability system local control funding formula, which targets more money to low income students in English learners and new academic standards as well. So this is sort of a pillow change to Brown's leaving after eight years, Mike curse to you're going to have on state board president they have had a tremendous impact on education. So now, we have a new administration. I think part of this was to provide the research face to inform the new governor and a new state superintendent of public instruction. And in a way, the first one is supposed to create a little bit of a roadmap for policy makers, this one sort of assesses how some of those stuff that that was implemented worked what were some of the top. Line findings that were most interesting to you. What are the things? I wanted to do was basically to talk to educators who are charged with implementing all these things and say, well, how's it going? Are we headed in the right direction doing bunch of surveys? And the result was yes of the course, we like the new standards we like the local control funding formula and the flexibility that we have and then tremendous obstacles still a lot of work to be done much of it's still in the formative stages, and as you said, there's still a tremendous achieve achievement gap between California students and their tears nationwide and also in California among ethnic, and no income and wealthy students. And as you mentioned the key finding to me was that this chief me Gat actually starts on the first day kindergarten. Sean. Mm Stanford University found it, and basically it implies that we need to focus on preschool and early Ed which has not been a priority of governor Brown is an aim is famous to fund the local twelve funding formula, which was K through twelve. And so I think there's going to be momentum for that. And Sean Reardon study underscores the need for that. And then another priority, which has certainly not been a priority under governor Brown is a need for better data systems that complaint came loud and clear out these studies, even many of the researchers were saying, we don't have a good data system that connects preschool through college and provides a kind of information that schools and districts need to improve which is the goal of the local control funding for we just don't have it. We couldn't even do much of our research because we couldn't get the data that we need. Yeah. Let's stay on that for a second. You know, I'm sitting here in San Francisco and the hardest Silicon Valley where data is the. A big topic collecting it correlating it. It's a little confounding to me that this is a problem in our state. It seems like we have the resources to deal with this is one of the it was one of the points raising getting down in fact, one ten years ago. And I it just hasn't been a priority of of governor Brown. He he in fact, would argue that comparisons are odious, and there's too many of them and focus needs to be at a local district level. That's his philosophy. But the districts are saying, hey, we need to know what's working elsewhere. We need to have the kind of data that will help us improve. And I, and that's one of the things I think we'll draw attention out of this report. So, of course, there's money. Yes. I was going to get to that. So all this stuff takes money funding, pre k education bringing better data systems. So we can track the data better. No surprise that. The report says that for the education system to work the way, we intended to bring students up to state economic standards. They're suggesting. K twelve funding increased by thirty two percent or two twenty two billion dollars. There are also criticisms or critiques, I guess that principals with the lease experience our society, the lowest cheating schools, and with all due respect to the researchers a lot of this is really familiar not a lot of big surprises a lot of perennial problems. What is your feeling about? This report actually starting to move the needle and getting some of this stuff fixed. Well, as a as I said, I think Sean rude finding that we really need to focus on early education as a lot of bang for the buck. So to speak out of that data has been ignored. That's key. And what she said in terms of getting the most skilled teacher skilled leaders, and and teachers in the schools that need it most. That's really not a money issue per se. We have a teacher shortage we need to address. But that's an adult problem. How to do that? That's not more money won't. Solve that problem. There is a need for more money in a number of areas. We're not spending enough one mental health cer- kids, and the teachers fat, you know, if we want to really bring adequacy adequate education, we need to have perhaps a longer day or more attention to low income students they need a lower. We don't have enough adults in our classes, we need a smaller ratio of students to teachers and this will be expensive. The thirty two percent that you mentioned what they did was they asked to panel of experienced educators, basically to come up in three three days, and they said in order to fund schools adequately based on the standards that California has adopted and its goals all students would be prepared for college and careers, how much money do you think this would take that was the question that they were asked when they came up with the twenty two billion dollars on top of a sixty nine billion that we spent. Two years ago. And I know these funding things are difficult, but that twenty two billion dollars into the average is what is that per student that we're talking about I believe it would raise it from about twelve thousand five hundred to around sixteen thousand eight hundred somewhere in that vicinity. That's what the thirty two percent. But that's average. Then what they're saying. Is that in order to target to really bring achievement for low income students. They're going to require more and those students who are well off and those districts in fact, closer to adequacy they will get less of an increase. I'm gonna ask you a final question. Can you give us a little silver lining here? What's what some of the good news out of this report? Well, the good news. I think for starters, I said as educators who are charged with implementing they really think we're on the right direction and get in there and courage given time and some help they can make progress is that a new feeling I'm curious that the educators are hopeful with this new plan because you know, I used to be a teacher, and I think the general sentiment. I always felt was the state goes one way. And then it goes the other and there's a little bit of flip flopping always a little cynicism. Do you think that's changed that that the state there's a consensus now among teachers and educators at the state is on the right track? Now, I think if anything is a plea not to not to flip flop and nothing make a big change. The course for a while because they're happy with the standards, and they think that with help from the state, and there's a question whether or not the state agencies are up to the task, but they can bring the kind of improvement. That's envisioned. In the formula. The other thing that's positive is that there are signs their studies that in fact increase in resources will help there was a study by record Johnson of of UC Berkeley that that says. Yeah. Gets devoting more money, particularly to low income students can lead to some progress. And also, Sean Reardon found that in fact, California students over the past decade were improving slightly faster than peers around the country in reading not enough to close the gap. But that's a hopeful sign. So the needle is moving. That's John fencer, Walt. He is the editor of large at Ed source. That's a nonprofit reporting organization. Thanks so much for coming with the show. John. Thank you. All right. So let's drill into some of these studies. We've got on the phone with us now. Mike accursed, president of the state board of education. Welcome to forum. Mike pleasure to be here. Also, joining us on the line is steady speed. I'm sorry. Stipetic? She's a former dean of Stanford graduate school of education and a professor who authored the studies looking into early childhood education. Welcome to forum Dera good to be here. Thank you, Mike. I'm going to start with you. Because I I actually you're gonna stay with us for the whole hour. I thought you can leave, but I might as well start with you because in two thousand thirteen you and governor Brown championed a change in the school funding formula that gives more control over spending to the schools that change actually came out of getting down to facts study one that was in two thousand and seven can you give us a really quick explainer of what those changes meant for schools without getting too wonky. I know that's a big task. But yes, well, the prior system was just so complex that only about ten people in Sacramento understood it, and it was very controlled by the state. There were some are around forty categorically earmarked programs. So there was not a lot of local control. And moreover, it was not targeted to district have taste the biggest challenges with low income students English learners and so on. So it was I think pretty much a complete mess. So we through the whole thing out in many ways and came in with targets for each school district, which have raised expenditures dramatically over the period of Cincinnati to thirty two thousand thirteen and two thousand eighteen and a formulas pretty simple, you get a base amount each, and then you get more money, if you have low income students more money, if you have English learners who are not low income more money, if you get up you have foster care pupils and in districts that have over fifty five percent concentration of these kinds of of pupils that have particular needs. You're in. Increase in expenditure per pupil goes up by forty to fifty percent. So it has targeted the money, and then regulated the system so that the state's guiding out of telling them how to spend their money, but we have come up with an entirely new data system called a data dashboard, which is like your car dashboard, where we have five statewide indicators of outcomes everything from chronic absence to.