Massive new K-12 report offers downbeat findings in four areas

In 2007, researchers associated with Stanford University released “Getting Down to Facts” – a massive compilation of studies of the California K-12 public school system. The hundreds of pages of voluminous research allowed both the state education establishment and its critics to pick and choose what conclusions to emphasize.

Democrats and teachers unions cited the omnibus report’s call for much greater school spending. Reformers noted it said extra funding should be contingent on adoption of evidence-driven reforms.

Now “Getting Down to Facts II,” again led by Stanford-associated researchers, has been released – to much the same reaction. Education leaders cite its call for a huge 32 percent increase in school spending. Reformers note that once again, experts say California hasn’t done nearly enough to use education “best practices” to improve the performance of poor Latino and African-American students and schools in general.

But those who delve past general statements that praise the “boldness” of the California Dashboard school evaluation program and the success of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) in getting more funds to needy poor schools will find a series of downbeat assessments.

Lack of ‘coherence’ found in implementing key reform

Four major examples:

– A series of research briefs about school governance broadly questions key LCFF elements, citing a lack of “coherence” in how the state expects individual districts to come up with their own unique “Local Control Accountability Plans” to improve their schools. This echoes criticism in a 2017 study that found local districts lacked the resources, expertise and enthusiasm to comply with this requirement. The briefs also said the state does not have adequate “mechanisms for accountability” in evaluating how local districts have used LCFF funds meant to help disadvantaged students.

– One study faulted the state for committing to help struggling schools in minority neighborhoods by increasing funding, but not addressing the frequency with which these schools were staffed with “early career” teachers – i.e., those who were just entering the job market or who had failed to win tenure in other districts. This also parallels one of the most common long-term criticisms of California public education: that too few of the most skilled, experienced teachers ended up in the districts that needed them most.

– One brief expressed borderline astonishment that California did not use data on student and teacher performance that would allow principals, superintendents, school boards and state education officials to develop a statistical model of what school practices worked best. These “weaknesses could be readily solved,” authors noted. In a seeming reference to political battles over data-driven reform, the report’s executive summary notes that “the limitations of California’s data system are not the result of technological difficulties.”

– An analysis of school finances cited the punishing effect of the 2014 bailout of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System on school budgets, which on a phased-in basis requires that districts increase by 123 percent how much they contribute to CalSTRS per teacher in a six-year span from the 2014-15 to 2020-21 school years. But while this was familiar turf, other parts of the fiscal analysis were not. The analysis warned of the ballooning costs of special education programs and the certainty that eventually districts will have to somehow find a way to pay for billions of dollars in neglected infrastructure and maintenance.

As CalWatchdog reported in 2015, school districts were already so stressed by money headaches that they were using the proceeds from 30-year bonds for needs normally covered by district operating budgets, such as computers and teaching materials. And that came in only the first year of rising pension bills because of the Legislature’s 2014 move to shore up CalSTRS.


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  1. Queeg
    Queeg 24 September, 2018, 17:14


    1200 in freshman class at a upper middle income high school.

    I oberved few,very few, greet each other….A dead zone and desperation.

    Who cares. No one cares.


    67 showed up for tryouts for female volleyball.

    Typical heat/plop and serve lunch offerings.

    Sheer numbers leads to frustration and failure.

    Reply this comment
  2. USA
    USA 26 September, 2018, 06:43

    Paying the highest taxes in the country for the loony left to brainwash and indoctrinate the children, your children. GET YOUR KIDS OUT OF THESE COMMUNIST TRAINING CENTERS YOU FOOLS..

    Reply this comment
    • teddy trumpsteaks
      teddy trumpsteaks 22 October, 2018, 20:28

      and specifically which aspect of communism is being taught where?

      or is this trump nonsense ™.

      Reply this comment
      • a reader
        a reader 23 October, 2018, 16:10

        Our education system is busily teaching the goals of the UNs agenda 21. Their own secy (retired Christiana Figueres) of Climate stated that communism is the best gov. for world government…of course she said ‘climate’ control but then later stated that climate control is merely the ticket to ending capitalism…so no real friend of liberty or free markets from the UN who wants to have a communist world. My grandkids books say that the earth is in terrible shape because their parents and grandparents ruined it and they are going to have to fix it…or there will be no more world. They learn in their little books that ‘the earth groans everytime another child is born.’ ALL public education teaches following the UN guidelines. The UN is communist. Don’t believe me ok: but here is a little sample of history: “The American communists worked energetically and tirelessly to lay the foundations for the United Nations which we were sure would come into existence. … It can be said, without exaggeration, that ever closer relations between our nation and the Soviet Union are an unconditional requirement for the United Nations as a world coalition. … The United Nations is the instrument for victory. Victory is required for the survival of our nation. The Soviet Union is an essential part of the United Nations. Mutual confidence between our country and the Soviet Union and joint work in the leadership of the United Nations are absolutely necessary.”
        by: Earl Browder (1891-1973) General Secretary of the Communist Party USA (1934-1945), writer Source: Victory–and after. New York: International Publishers, 1942
        “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”
        by: Norman Thomas
        (1884-1968) six-time U.S. Presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America
        Source: 1948 – from an interview during the presidential campaign, [Ed. note: Norman Thomas and Gus Hall, the U.S. Communist Party
        Candidate, both quit American politics, agreeing that the Republican and Democratic parties had adopted every plank on the
        Communist/Socialist and they no longer had an alternate party platform on which to run.]
        Over the years, they have known the US would choose freedom over communism so they needed to take over education and dumb down the public. Our kids haven’t a clue about history of the world. They think US history started in 1860 with slaves. They don’t know who the Revolutionary War was fought against. Many haven’t a clue why we celebrate July 4…and sure don’t know it is INDEPENDENCE DAY.
        Communism is introduced slowly: we now have social security, welfare, ACA, medicare, medicaid, unions which see that teachers make more money than drs, and government servants who think the public works for them…and you ask this silly question?

        Reply this comment
      • a reader
        a reader 23 October, 2018, 16:16

        and one more thing, a ‘public’ education is another name for a communist organization.
        What better place to propagandize and indoctrinate?
        “The first goal and primary function of the U.S. public school is not to educate good people, but good citizens. It is the function which we call – in enemy nations – ‘state indoctrination.’ ” — Jonathan Kozol (1936- ) American writer, educator, activist, best known for his books on public education in the US

        “The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues, and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else…Their purpose, in brief, is to make docile and patriotic citizens, to pile up majorities, and to make John Doe and Richard Doe as nearly alike, in their everyday reactions and ways of thinking, as possible.” — H. L. Mencken
        (1880-1956) American Journalist, Editor, Essayist, Linguist, Lexicographer, and Critic

        Reply this comment
  3. Hcat
    Hcat 26 September, 2018, 14:08

    If Californians think the lack of money is the root of all evil in education, they’re pretty uneducated themselves.

    Reply this comment
    • Sean
      Sean 27 September, 2018, 09:58

      The problem is lack of success is the most effective ploy to raise more money for education.

      Reply this comment
  4. Queeg
    Queeg 8 October, 2018, 16:01


    Be patient. We get a new weak article soon.

    Reply this comment
    Prof. Ted S S STEELEYKNIVES 8 October, 2018, 17:45

    Trumpy doomers hate public education because they, to a person, don’t read themselves!

    Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 10 October, 2018, 13:57


    We doomed. No beefy articles. What did we do?

    Teddy intercede. It no look good-

    Reply this comment
  7. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 13 October, 2018, 09:30

    Who will play taps for CwD?

    Reply this comment
  8. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 19 October, 2018, 19:16


    Did you take down the flag yet?

    Reply this comment
    • Ted Steele-- your leader
      Ted Steele-- your leader 22 October, 2018, 20:30

      Pack and ship– only the nuked cockaroaches are
      left— I will stand by with old glory til Putin arrives with instructions!

      Reply this comment
    • ricky65
      ricky65 25 October, 2018, 09:07

      Aw..poor babies. The Devil’s triangle of Steelie, Uly and Queegie are feeling ignored these days.
      No doomers to humiliate. No one willing to listen to their self serving drivel.
      Trump tearing down their globalist, big government dreams. America being returned to the American people. Sanity being restored to the Supreme court. Moonie Brown, hero of the senile old fellow hippie, Teddy, soon to be retired for good (and our good) to to his rattlesnake infested ranch in Colusa county.
      These are heady times!
      The humiliators are being humiliated!

      Reply this comment
      • Queeg
        Queeg 25 October, 2018, 12:16

        Comrade Ricky

        You dream-

        Such nonsense. We drive out Donkey, Skippy, Eth, assorted tome scribes for the good of CWD as well as miserable carpet baggers living in Oregon, Tenn, etc.

        By the way Teddy is chipper and takes lots of vitamins. He sends love. Uly is too busy to twit with you making tons off demoralized doomers who refuse their diverse local future.

        Reply this comment
      • Commander Ted Steele
        Commander Ted Steele 23 November, 2018, 20:37

        Comrade Ricky Ticky— you’re wrong— spinning up the Doomera has NEVER been better! I’m back in business little buddy!!!!

        Reply this comment
  9. Marwix Upwarham
    Marwix Upwarham 24 October, 2018, 07:37

    I love this post from you, great and informative. It might be helpful for some whose searching for this kind of topic.
    I also have a site related to Cannabis Reviews, have a look at here:

    Reply this comment
  10. Queeg
    Queeg 25 October, 2018, 09:16


    Someone turn off the lights. It appears over.

    Reply this comment
  11. He Who Is Without Equal
    He Who Is Without Equal 25 October, 2018, 16:45

    Wow, haven’t visited this dark and dank corner of the interwebs in years but I see that the same looney leftard losers are spewing bilious blather from there padded rooms (or mommies basement). Anyone with a life or a normal connection to reality has moved on from this obscure and irrelevant website.

    For those commenters who aren’t afflicted by a terminal case of Trump Derangement Syndrome my advice is to stay away from this website. No one reads it and barely anyone writes for it. To the rest (and you know who you are) remember to take the meds Nurse Ratchet gives you and use the toilet when you have to go potty. The orderlies really don’t like having to clean up your mess.

    Reply this comment

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Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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