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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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It's well past time to track student data

Uploaded: Apr 29, 2019
Seven years ago, former Gov. Brown convinced the Legislature to change the state funding formula for education so it gives districts with challenging student populations more money.

It’s been in effect for six years, but there’s still a huge gap between well-performing districts and many loaded with students learning English or coming from socio-economically disadvantaged (poor) families. For most districts, more money has not translated into better results.

And the governor was strangely not curious about tracking results, rejecting Legislative requests to develop monitoring mechanisms.

That’s changed in two key ways. The Legislative has given State Auditor Elaine Howle, who has a reputation for shooting straight from her non-partisan office, a mandate to determine how the funding formula is working in three large districts from across the state.

Equally importantly, Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed developing an educational data system that will track students from pre-school through high school and into higher education. Education reform advocates have sought this information for years, only to run into road blocks at the state levels.

The Tri-Valley’s Senator, Steve Glazer from Orinda, is carrying SB 2 to create the system. It already has passed its first committee hearing according to a column by Dan Walters of CalMatters. Developing the system is critical, particularly if it further equips educators to intervene with struggling students while they are early in elementary school. If a student is not reading a grade level by the fourth grade, it is very difficult for the student to perform in schools because classes get larger and teachers have less time to spend with individual students.
Walters points out that many districts fail, but there are standouts that educate students from difficult backgrounds very well. The opportunity is to learn what those districts are doing right and copy it. I was privileged to work with Marilyn Avenue Elementary in Livermore nearly 20 years ago when a two determined principals and a dedicated staff collaborated with the community to turn around education for students there. Test scores climbed nearly 100 points in short order and were approaching the 800 level (distinguished school recognition) before the state scrapped that testing system. Those scored improved as the number of students from poor families learning English more than doubled to more than 60 percent.
Walters cited a Fresno Bee article about the Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District in the San Joaquin Valley that has the third highest poverty rate of any district in California (mostly farmworkers’ children) and consistently turns out high school graduates ready for college.

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Posted by Throwing more money at schools not the answer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 30, 2019 at 10:14 am

They need to track the student data and tie this to the teachers to identify the horrible teachers that are failing the children because they refuse to do their jobs.

When teachers started to refuse to grade homework they assigned, this was the beginning of the end of public education. How can children learn from their mistakes unless the homework and classwork they do is graded and teachers point out the mistakes?

Now it is up to the parents to do the tasks like grading their own children's homework because the teachers no longer do it.

Tri-Valley teachers who stress they don't grade homework for "equity" purposes are just trying to justify their laziness. How some smiley face stamp or check mark or sticker at the top of a homework actually improves learning when the individual problems or assignment questions are not graded is a mystery to me. And it seems as though the grading system in elementary school where everyone gets a "3" for making progress is just ridiculous as well. And when I went to middle school and high school, less than 5% of the students earned A's. Now I would bet the percentage is 90% of the student body.

What ends up happening is that the system of education has resulted in lowering of standards across the board regardless of the amount of money thrown at it. Instead kids are having to take remediation classes at college to learn what should have been learned years ago in elementary and secondary school.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Apr 30, 2019 at 10:19 am

DKHSK is a registered user.


"For most districts, more money has not translated into better results."

Of course it doesn't, but you won't find a single Democrat saying anything similar. Their solutions ALWAYS come down to a few core principles:

1. limit freedom (choice)
2. extract more taxes
3. continue with the breakdown of families (through welfare)

They control their voter base by always promising nirvana, but delivering just enough to keep those same communities under their thumb and wanting more.

The cycle is amazingly successful.

It is amusing to read and watch white democrats from wealthy areas lament the plight of the urban poor, especially since they couldn't be bothered to actually DO anything except signal to other white democrats their virtuousness.

Gavin - I sleep with my best friends wives - Newsome is a most loathsome politician. The poster child of all that is wrong with the Democrat party.


Posted by sjd, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 30, 2019 at 11:11 am

I agree with better metrics, and with teacher evaluations that actually mean something to the teacher's pay (done by an independent party, neither parents nor administrators).

But the idea that more state money means matching results is wrong, because in wealthy districts such as ours, we give additional money to the schools in the form of fundraisers that just aren't possible elsewhere. You need to look at total income and total parent volunteer time to get an idea of the true resource gap that low income areas face.

Posted by, a resident of Carlton Oaks,
on May 1, 2019 at 4:50 am is a registered user.

I have been looking for this information for a long time, I was very surprised when I found it here.

Posted by tree service, a resident of Avila,
on May 12, 2019 at 9:51 pm

I was very encouraged to find this site. The reason being that this is such an informative post.

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