So far, there’s little evidence that LCFF is, in fact, narrowing the achievement gap, but defenders of the status quo say it just needs more time and more money to show results.
One of the many fronts in the school war has been the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which requires states, as a condition of receiving federal school aid, to provide some of the direct oversight and accountability that the Equity Coalition seeks, especially in identifying failing schools.
Torlakson and the state school board have chosen to comply with the law minimally but just before Christmas the U.S. Department of Education politely told them, via a 12-page letter, that the plan they submitted was falling short of the ESSA law’s requirements.
A majority of Californians say affordability is a problem in the state’s public colleges and universities, according to the PPIC Statewide Survey. In addition, three-quarters of residents in the survey agree that the price of college prevents students who are qualified and motivated from going to college. Not surprisingly, state leaders are exploring new strategies to help students and families better cope with college costs. Most current approaches, such as state and institutional financial aid, focus primarily on tuition relief. This makes sense, as tuition more than doubled at California universities from 2006 to 2012—and is on the rise again.
About one-quarter of California’s school districts don’t make the grade in serving students — either in achievement or other areas assessed under the state’s new school report cards. Oakland, Hayward, Antioch, Mount Diablo and Pittsburg unified school districts and East Side Union High in San Jose are among the 228 poorest performers in the state. Most of those districts fail to meet benchmarks for one or two groups of students, particularly, with those who have disabilities. In East Side, for example, the district fell short in that category as well as with homeless and foster youth students.
A group of prominent lawyers representing teachers and students from poor performing schools sued California on Tuesday, arguing that the state has done nothing about a high number of schoolchildren who do not know how to read.
The advocacy law firm, Public Counsel, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court to demand the California Department of Education address its "literacy crisis." The state has not followed suggestions from its own report on the problem five years ago, the lawsuit said
One out of every seven students in the Los Angeles Unified School District — more than 80,000 kids — missed more than three weeks of classes, according to a report from an attendance task force presented to the district's school board Tuesday.
Missing that amount of school is enough to put a student's education at risk: Students who are "chronically absent," which many researchers define as missing at least 15 school days in a year, are more likely to drop out once they reach high school. Roughly another 100,000 L.A. Unified students who missed between eight and 14 days of school last year are also at increased risk.