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EdSource Highlighting Student Success
February 18, 2015

More than a year into implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula, there is no central source for information on how effective the reform has been.  

 

However, several reports are now available that highlight both the successes and the challenges school districts have experienced in implementing the new reforms -- which may be as potentially far reaching as any being implemented in the nation. 

 

For your convenience, we have listed the reports below and provided other EdSource Today reports on the issue.   

How would you rate the effectiveness of the Local Control Funding Formula so far? Let us know with an email, or consider writing a commentary for EdSource Today about your views on the recent reforms. 

Thanks for reading,

Erin Brownfield
Editor, Leading Change

Local Control Funding Formula's First Year  

Ed-Trust West analyzed 40 Local Control and Accountability plans covering about 20 percent of CA students, and a did a shorter review of 100 more. It also spoke with 60 leaders who were involved in school engagement efforts across the state. 
 
The report found that though community engagement in the LCAP process was high, "It is difficult at best and impossible at worst to tell whether districts have complied with the law's requirement to 'increase or improve services' for low-income, English learner, and foster youth students'." The report offers examples of exemplary LCAPs that provided a high level of transparency.  

 

Toward a Grand Vision: Early Implementation of California's Local Control Funding Formula from SRI International and J. Koppich & Associates: This 12-page research brief looks at early implementation of the LCFF in 10 California districts and finds mixed results in achieving community engagement, and "cautious optimism" about the potential of local control.

 

From the California Collaborative on District Reform, an initiative of the American Institutes for Research:   

1. Implementing LCFF: Early Lessons from the Field is a four-page brief and the first in a series on this topic. The brief is limited to very early lessons that emerged from a meeting of the California Collaborative on District Reform rather than a survey of district LCAPs, but it still contains important observations such as: "Although the State Board of Education has defined the Common Core as one of the state's eight priority areas, identifying the standards as merely one of eight areas of focus understates the important role they (the Common Core standards) can play in driving district improvement."   

 

The second in this series from AIR focuses on the increased capacity needs throughout the system required to make local control work as decision-making gets pushed down from the state to the local level.  It pinpoints areas where additional training or capacity may be most helpful.


By Chris Steinhauser, Superintendent, Long Beach Unified School District

In a commentary for the Long Beach Gazette, Superintendent Steinhauser writes that the Local Control Funding Formula is "resulting in real benefits for all of our students, particularly our most needy students, which is the intent of the state's revamped formula." Read more. 

Districts detail plans for suspension reduction in local plans



By Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource Today

Nearly every school district says it wants to reduce student suspensions, but only some have created plans with the kind of detail, funding and statistical savvy that make it more likely they'll succeed, according to a report that analyzed plans to improve "school climate" in the 50 largest school districts in California. Read more.
    

by John Fensterwald, EdSource Today 

Calling the state-mandated local accountability plans (LCAPS) "a daunting undertaking," the Legislative Analyst's Office called on the Legislature to allow districts to write more focused annual plans for achievement. The plans will become more meaningful if districts can concentrate on "their highest-priority areas" rather than give equal attention to the eight priority areas that the Legislature wrote into law, the LAO said in a recent report. Read more.  

   

Common Core Watch 
  • Education Week's "State EdWatch" blog covers a recent poll of how the Common Core standards are viewed by voters in early presidential primary states, and finds some unexpected results. Read more.
  • EdSource's Louis Freedberg looks at how Common Core may figure in the 2016 presidential race. Read more.
  • Opinion: English teacher Meaghan Freeman asserts that the classics haven't been left behind in the transition to Common Core in, "The Common Core has not killed literature." Read more in The Atlantic.
  • Opinion: Boston Globe columnist Joanna Weiss asks whether the Common Core standards are leading to a "joyless kindergarten," especially for children from low-income families. Read more.
LCAP Resources

Want to know how other districts are tackling important issues like parent involvement, school climate, and others in their LCAPS? Check out Ed-Trust West's "LCAP Watch," a searchable crowd-sourced database of hundreds of plans from around the state. Click here to search by location, or at this link to search by keyword.

If you missed West Ed's recent webinar series on recent revisions to the LCAP and using the annual update template most effectively, not to worry: they are archived at this link.


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