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EdSource Highlighting Student Success
May 20, 2014
Welcome to EdSource's Leading Change newsletter!

It was great to see so many school leaders at the EdSource 2014 Symposium on testing and accountability in Los Angeles on May 7th. The high-level discussion on testing and accountability in the Common Core era with luminaries like Michael Fullan and Linda Darling-Hammond drew record crowds!

We received many requests to post the PowerPoint presentations and video of the event, and are pulling those together now, so stay tuned.

This week's Leading Change brings you two pieces with a common theme--flexibility: in how low-income students are counted to qualify for LCFF funding, and in how those funds can be used for upgrading school facilities. How do you perceive the recent state funding reforms? Do they give you the flexibility you need to spend the funds in the best way for your district, or is it still too top-down and bureaucratic? Let us know.

Another piece you won't want to miss is Louis Freedberg's review of the draft Local Control and Accountability Plans that have been published to date.  Easy to read? Visionary and engaging for parents? Not so much.... at least so far. And in the Around the State section, you'll read about efforts to re-establish dedicated funding streams for career technical education and agricultural education.  

Gov. Brown proposes change in how
low-income students are tallied for LCFF
In his May budget revision, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a change that will allow school
An Oakland student enjoys a snack at school. Eligibility for the National School Lunch Program is key to the new formula for funding education.
Credit: EdSource /Jane Meredith Adams
districts to more broadly define who is eligible for a free or reduced-price meal and, by association, who is
identified as low-income and eligible to receive extra state education funds. The proposal would affect more than 1 million students who fall into a gray area of free lunch eligibility. Brown's proposal would give districts what they have sought: greater flexibility and less paperwork. 
Click here to read more.


Students play at Lincoln Elementary School in San Bernardino. The district's accountability plan is expected to set aside funds to repair the school's playing field. Credit: Karla Scoon Reid

To weather deep cuts in public school funding, many California school districts shifted much-needed dollars away from repairing and maintaining their buildings to keep teachers in the classroom and save instructional programs from being eliminated.

Now, the state's new funding formula provides some latitude for districts to fix their ailing buildings. 

But what's considered an allowable use of money targeted for high-needs students - defined as English-language learners, low-income children and foster youth - gets somewhat murky when it comes to school facilities.  

Click here to read more.


Parent committee members and school officials review a draft of West Contra Costa Unified's LCAP in Richmond.
Credit: EdSource/Alex Gronke
Only a fraction of the nearly 1,000 districts in the state have issued their Local Control and Accountability Plans. But as the plans are released, they are raising concerns about how useful they will be to parents and other community representatives trying to understand how funds will be spent, including money that is supposed to be targeted at high-needs students: low-income students, English learners and foster children. Click here to read more and view the plans.

Around the State

As school districts across the San Joaquin Valley grapple with how to prioritize LCFF spending, concerns are being raised about the loss of categorical funds for career technical education, which once totaled $330 million. 

To make up for the loss of dedicated funding, under a bill sponsored by Assembly Member Nora Campos, D-San Jose, the state would match every dollar a district spends on career education.

Click here to read more from the Fresno Bee.

The number of Ca. students enrolled in agricultural programs has more than doubled in the past 20 years. But student ag program proponents are concerned that such momentum will be undermined if the state eliminates a $4.1 million earmark for agricultural education, as proposed by Gov. Brown. Advocates fear that district leaders will see agricultural education as a lesser priority.

Click here to read more from the Sacramento Bee.

Your Voices

California School Boards Association president Josephine Lucey weighs in on the contentious issue of the state's teacher dismissal policies, and three proposed state Senate bills addressing them.

On Our Reading List
Report highlights impact of more time for teacher collaboration
"Rethinking Teacher Time," a new report from the National Center on Time and Learning, looks at 17 schools across the nation that give teachers more time for collaboration and professional development.

An article about a partnership between the Stanford Graduate School of Education and San Francisco Unified School District that examines and compares the effectiveness of four ways of teaching English learners.

A fascinating piece from the New York Times blog The Upshot on the classroom behavioral and academic differences between boys and girls, and the link to college and career readiness outcomes.
Don't Miss This!
EdSource and PACE are teaming up to bring you a free webinar discussion with California Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor. Click here for registration information for "The State Budget and Education Funding: 2014-15 and Beyond." Thursday May 22, 2014 at 10 a.m.  
Common Core Watch
Salon provides an extended interview with AFT president Randi Weingarten. She sounds off on the emphasis on Common Core testing, while supporting the standards' original focus on deeper learning.
Parents around the country are feeling frustration with new, unfamiliar ways of teaching elementary math, from the Associated Press.
Tweet of the Week


JoanLaursen @JoanLaursen

David Menefee-Libey says EdSource Conversation Reflects CA's Exceptionalism re: ed reform topics



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