Recent News Article About California


California’s approach to school accountability is the talk of the town. In August, Bellwether Education Partners studied the state’s plan to school accountability and concluded that it leaves a lot to be desired. Last week, Thomas B. Fordham Institute shared Bellwether Education Partners’ sentiments. In fact, Fordham ranked California color-coded school dashboard system at the bottom nationwide. Other states that scored poorly, according to Fordham’s report, are North Dakota and Idaho.

Fordham employed three items to rank the states’ approach to school accountability. The factors include a consideration of whether a state encouraged schools to focus on all students regardless of their performance, assignment of easy to understand annual ratings to schools, and whether a state judged all schools including high-poverty learning institutions. Fordham applied the mentioned criteria to all states. Apparently, different states scored differently in specific areas.

The state's authorities on education quickly refuted the reports news that Fordham had ranked California at the bottom of its list. State Board of Education President Michael Kirst affirmed that Fordham’s ranking failed to study California's multi-component plan comprehensively. Instead, Fordham focused on only three items of the idea. He argued that California School Dashboard is the source of unmatched information about schools. Kirst stressed that the Dashboard’s Equity Report outlined achievement gaps in an easy to note manner.

Kirst’s sentiments were echoed by David Sapp, who doubles up as the deputy policy director and assistant legal counsel for the state board. Sapp sensationally stated that a significant error was inherent in Fordham’s analysis of the state’s color-coded school dashboard system. According to him, Fordham assumed that the state still rated achievement based on the percentage of students who scored proficient. He lauded the dashboard for its holistic approach to measuring performance.

Michael Petrilli, Fordham’s president, and Brandon Wright, Fordham’s editorial director, opine that Dashboards ought to complement easy to comprehend labels including A-F letter grades. The duo notes that Dashboards should not replace labels.

However, according to the people knowledgeable about the goings-on in California, the state’s color scheme is work in progress. The state will from early next year adopt a methodology for applying color ratings for multiple indicators on the dashboard. Reports indicate that California Department of Education and the board are having a hard time implementing the color scheme. However, Gov. Jerry Brown and Califonia Board of Education are optimistic that Dashboards will improve California’s education sector.