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Charter Schools, School Choice, Student Achievement
(PDF File) March, 2004

California began its experiment with charter schools in 1992, enacting legislation allowing the state’s first charter schools to begin operating in the 1993-94 school year. On February 5, 2004, the California Education Policy Seminar and the CSU Institute for Education Reform, together with four co-sponsors, brought together over 50 policy makers, educators and charter school experts for a discussion on the success of charter schools and school choice, and factors influencing that success.

Giving Kids a Chance: Investing in Early Care and Education
(PDF File) February, 2002

In February 2002, the California Education Policy Seminar and the California State University Institute for Education Reform sponsored a discussion of the effectiveness of early care and education programs and the steps that California is taking to enhance school readiness. This report documents the proceeds at the seminar. The presentations are summarized, along with highlights of the question-and-answer exchanges that followed the presentations.

Characteristics and Performance of Advanced Placement Classes in California
(PDF File) June, 2001

This is a follow-up study conducted by the CSU Institute for Education Reform and is supported by funding from the Stuart Foundation. This report updates findings from "The Advanced Placement Program: California's 1997-98 Experience," printed in July 1999 to the 1999-2000 school year. It also presents the results of a survey of 360 randomly-selected AP teachers which attempted to assess the characteristics of AP classes in low- and high- SES schools and the factors associated with high and low performance on the AP exams.

Middle School Extended-Year Proposal: Theory and Practice
(PDF File) February, 2001

Out of the several education initiatives put forth in Governor Gray Davis' budget proposal for 2001-02, his plan to provide longer instructional time for middle school students is emerging as the most controversial, prompting vigorous discussion by policy makers, educators, parents, and students. On January 26, 2001, the California Education Policy Seminar and the California State University Institute for Education Reform sponsored a discussion on the middle school extended-year proposal. More than 50 educators, state policy makers, and education researchers attended the session to discuss key components of the proposal. This report documents a summary of the discussions that took place.

Immediate Intervention/Underperforming Schools Program
(PDF File) January, 2001

The Immediate Intervention/Underperforming Schools Program (II/USP) was created in 1999 with the goal of bringing additional resources and specific improvement strategies to many of the schools whose students rank in the bottom half of state test scores.

On October 10, 2000, the California Education Policy Seminar and the California State University Institute for Education Reform sponsored a discussion on the Immediate Intervention/Underperforming Schools Program. More than 60 educators, state policy makers, education researchers and elected officials attended the session. The session began with presentations by four external evaluators who have partnered with underperforming schools under the program. In addition, comments were provided by three designated "respondents." This report documents the proceedings at the seminar and includes background material on the II/USP.

Peer Assistance and Review: Working Models Across the Country
(PDF File) April, 2000

Based on a video teleconference (co-sponsored by the California Office of the Secretary for Education, the CSU Institute for Education Reform, and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association) and other resource material, this report looks at PAR in the diverse districts that participated in the video teleconference, summarizes key program elements and shares commentary from many of the people who were instrumental in forming the programs. The report concludes with an appendix that includes a list of suggested reading and further resources, as well as a copy of the California law.

The Advanced Placement Program: California's 1997-98 Experience
(PDF File) August, 1999

This study, conducted by the CSU Institute for Education Reform and supported by funding from the Stuart Foundation, spotlights the nature of the Advanced Placementıs (AP) program availability, participation, and test performance for a single year in California‹and in so doing, provides valuable insight into the status of the program today.

Effective Instruction for English Language Learners
(PDF File) March, 1999

California is rethinking the content of instruction of ESL students, along with the preparation and qualifications of ESL teachers, in light of the recently enacted "Unz Initiative," Proposition 227. In November, the CSU Institute for Education Reform (IER) and the California Education Policy Seminars (CEPS) co-sponsored a forum on Effective Instruction for English Language Learners. This document represents a summary of the forum's presentations and the subsequent discussion.

Charter Schools: National Context, California Experience
(PDF File) December, 1998

Since the first charter school law was passed in Minnesota in 1991, there has been an enormous interest in this alternative form of public schooling. In October, more than 40 charter school practitioners, educators, state policy makers, elected school board officials, education researchers and others attended a roundtable discussion on charter schools. The seminar proceedings are summarized in Charter Schools: National Context, California Experience.

Doing What Matters Most: Investing in Quality Teaching
(PDF File) May, 1998

A forum of 48 policy makers, administrators, educators, and policy advocates gathered to hear Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, Executive Director of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, discuss her work in the area of teacher quality. Her presentation covered research on the effect of teacher quality on student achievement and recommendations for improving teacher quality. The seminar proceedings are summarized in Doing What Matters Most: Investing in Quality Teaching.

Putting Schools to the Test: California's NAEP Scores and the National Testing Plan
(PDF File) January, 1998

Test score trends and future testing prospects were examined by a group of California policy makers, administrators, educators, and policy advocates when they gathered to hear Marshall S. Smith, Acting Deputy U.S. Secretary of Education, discuss existing tools for national monitoring of student achievement and prospects for a new national testing system.

Paying For What You Need: Knowledge- and Skill-Based Approaches to Teacher Compensation
(PDF File) September, 1997

Teacher compensation issues were discussed at a seminar co-sponsored by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE), Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), the California State University Institute for Education Reform, the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, and the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. This is a summary of the presentations made by CPRE researchers Allan Odden, Carolyn Kelley, and Tony Milanowski. Moderated by PACE co-director Gerald Hayward, the seminar focused on general compensation issues and concepts, as well as examples of districts that have tried implementing knowledge- and skill-based pay elements.

Lessons in Perspective: How Culture Shapes Math Instruction in Japan, Germany and the United States
(PDF) June, 1997

The quality of math instruction in the United States has evolved over time into one of our great national pressure points of anxiety. As the global economy has become progressively more demanding of workers' math skills and U.S. test scores have remained mediocre in international comparisons, a series of predictable cries have gone out: What are we doing wrong? What are they doing right? And how can we catch up?

The Digital Challenge: Integrating Educational Technology into California Classrooms
(PDF) June, 1997

Computers are basic, essential teaching and learning tools for any schoolthat aims to prepare its students for the brave new technology-rich worldawaiting them. As communications, research and databasing tools, computersoffer unprecedented reach and speed, while as platforms for constructingmultimedia reports and presentations they offer increasingly amazing standardsof both sophistication and ease of use. Computers have thoroughly permeatedAmerican commerce, and estimates are that by the year 2000, 60 percent ofall jobs in the United States will require a working knowledge of computer-basedinformation technologies.

PIPELINE TO THE FUTURE: A Statewide Teacher Recruitment Plan for California
(HTML) April, 1997

Issues related to teacher quality and supply have been a part of the policy dialogue surrounding California's education system virtually since its inception. The demand for more and better teachers has been a constant companion to California's growth and emergence as an engine of both technological and sociological innovation. This report explores issues and arguments relating to the teacher shortage in this state, from the effects of class size reduction to the potential benefits of recent recruitment and retention efforts and the improved fiscal outlook for education.

Is Less More? Exploring California's Class Size Reduction Act
(PDF) November, 1996

On September 18, 1996 a group of 50 state officials, local education leaders and academics gathered in Sacramento to discuss both the immediate questions raised by the rapid implementation of the California Class Size Reduction Act, and the larger analytical questions raised by the legislation. These questions include:

  • What kinds of professional development measures are necessary to insure that class size reduction has its intended effects?
  • What type of evaluation can help state officials, local educators and the general public determine the effectiveness of the program?
  • Are there changes in the legislation that need to be considered when the Legislature reconvenes?
  • And, most fundamentally, is class size reduction in and of itself likely to effect the improvements in student achievement sought through the implementation of this program?

In addition to a general discussion of these issues and concerns, the seminar featured two guest presenters who offered their own research findings and insights to the participants: Dr. Jeremy Finn of the State University of New York, Buffalo, and Dr. Robert Slavin of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. This report is a result of that seminar and contains the complete presentations of the two guest presenters.

School Reforms that Work: Successful Strategies for Educating At-Risk Youth
(PDF) October, 1996

Also known as The Stringfield Report, this report comes out of a discussion sponsored by the California Education Policy Seminar and The California State University Institute for Education Reform in October 1996.

A State of Emergency in a Stateof Emergency Teachers
(HTML) September, 1996

The theme of this report is unequivocal: quality schools begin with quality teachers. As long as emergency teachers occupy California classrooms, the rhetoric of strengthening academic standards will remain hollow and hypocritical. In issuing this report, our goal is not to criticize any state agency or school district, but rather to stimulate a long overdue debate and action on a pressing problem facing California's public education system.

Building A Powerful Reading Program from Research to Practice
(HTML) February, 1996

Over the last two years California has seen a decline in the reading test scores of its students and increased concern among educators and parents, along with renewed interest and accelerated research into the teaching of reading. In the Fall of 1995, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction issued a report from the Reading Task Force that called for balance in the way reading is taught. Since that report, many schools and districts have been attempting to design and implement comprehensive programs. This document lays out the current research base along with proven practices for effective literacy instruction, particularly in the early grades. In addition, recommendations are included for preservice and inservice education that will guarantee a well-prepared teaching force to tackle the complexities of literacy and teach all of our children to read well.

School Choice: Lessons Learned A Retrospective on Assembly Bills 1114 and 19
(HTML) February, 1996

California's voucher movement gained momentum during the early 1990s. The major legislative vehicle for vouchers, the initiative known as Proposition 174, ultimately failed by a substantial margin when put before the voters in November 1993. However, in the course of a long campaign hard-fought on both sides, acceptance grew in the state's education establishment of the separate concept of allowing greater consumer choice among public schools. Public school choice differs significantly from voucher proposals in not providing any taxpayer subsidy to private schools.

Two bills were enacted in 1993 as a direct result of this latter development. Assembly Bill 1114, by Assembly Member Dede Alpert, required local school districts to permit intra-district student transfers. Assembly Bill 19, by Assembly Member Charles Quackenbush, authorized districts to permit inter-district student transfers.

The Teachers who Teach our Teachers Report
(PageMaker, Mac) February, 1996

In order to offer ideas for new directions to improve the operation of California State University (CSU) teacher education programs, the Institute for Education Reform launched a review of all these programs within the CSU system. Every campus was visited and extensive conversations were held with the Deans of Education and hundreds of teacher education faculty and staff. Also consulted were teacher educators from outside the system, recent teacher education graduates and their K-12 employers. This report summarizes the findings from these campus visits and contains recommendations for improving teacher education in California.

Education Reform: Implications and Responsibilities for K-12 and Higher Education (PageMaker, Mac) November, 1995

The K-12 educational reforms of the past decade have lead to significant changes in statewide policies and local practices. The California State University Institute for Education Reform and the Intersegmental Coordinating Committee, under the auspices of the California Education Round Table, sponsored an intersegmental symposium to discuss implications of the K-12 reforms for higher education in an effort to identify ways in which postsecondary institutes can be more supportive of changes and reforms. This is a summary of the symposium which served as a forum for an open exchange of perspectives and ideas by representatives from different educational segments.

State Policies and School Restructuring: Experiences With the Senate Bill 1274
(PDF) September, 1995

With strong support from the California Business Round Table and bipartisan support in the California Legislature, Senate Bill 1274 was signed into law in 1990. It created a competitive grant program to demonstrate how schools can be restructured to give staff and parents the flexibility and authority they need to reorganize their local schools for greater student learning. This report summarizes a seminar convened to discuss individual experiences and how restructuring schools for better teaching and learning could be further supported and encouraged.

Teachers & Teaching Report: Recommendations for Policy Makers
(PDF) December, 1994

What has been learned about good teaching and effective teacher education over the last 10 years? The following points emerged from a two-day session of the california Education Policy Seminar:

  • good teaching has been identified by research as the key to school success and school reform.
  • knowledge of effective teaching and teacher education has been expanded and refined.
  • what works and what doesn't in teaching and teacher preparation can now be clearly defined.

This publication presents the highlights of the conference discussions and a set of policy recommendations that call for important changes in how California prepares and further develops the teachers who run our classrooms.

Content Contact:
Candy Friedly
Office Manager
Institute for Education Reform
California State University, Sacramento
6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819-6018
tel 916.278.4600
fax 916.278.5014
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Last Updated: July 1, 2004

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