Current Conditions and Paths Forward for California Schools

• California’s education system is moving in the right direction but is still in need of capacity
building to support a decade of reforms. Over the past decade a multitude of reforms have resulted
in some improvement. But, the system still must ensure that educators and other practitioners
have the skills, information and materials they need to put major reforms more fully into practice.
• Large achievement gaps persist in California by race, ethnicity, income, and
English learner (EL) status.
• California’s children are behind before they enter Kindergarten. The system needs a continued
focus on closing achievement gaps through multiple approaches including enhanced early
childhood education.
• Funding levels remain short of adequate for schools in California given the goals of state policies.
• Untouched critical funding issues could destabilize the system. Pensions, special education, and
facilities each have the potential to worsen inequities if not addressed.
• California produces very little information on what makes an excellent education for its own
students. Despite investments in data systems in California, the state still falls short of what other
states have developed.

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