Saturday, February 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Does latest school ‘reform’ benefit students – or teachers?

walters column sig

By
From page A11 | July 03, 2013 |

Periodically, it dawns on the Capitol’s politicians that the 6 million kids in California’s public schools aren’t learning as much as they should be, and they vow to do something big about it.

That’s why, nearly two decades ago, then-Gov. Pete Wilson championed elementary school class-size reduction. That’s why his successor, Gray Davis, pushed through the Public Schools Accountability Act, which rated districts and schools on academic improvements via testing.

The resulting Academic Performance Index is the cornerstone of California’s school accountability movement, which includes a law that empowers parents to take control of failing schools and reconfigure them as charter schools. Local campaigns have sought to use the results for periodic efforts to have the competency of individual teachers evaluated.

Just last year, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg won passage of his measure to reduce the role of testing in the API and include additional factors, such as graduation rates.

More educational “reform” is in the air.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s version diverts more state school aid into districts with large numbers of poor and English-learner students on the theory that more money will translate into closing the achievement gap between them and their more affluent counterparts.

Simultaneously, California has become part of a 44-state effort to adopt a Common Core of coursework and standards and, parenthetically, to change its testing system to gauge how well our students are absorbing the revised curriculum. The new state budget, in fact, contains $1.2 billion to pay for the Common Core transition.

One of the very unsettled issues before the Legislature this summer is whether California should abruptly end the current array of academic tests, or adopt a more gradual transition to a system tied to the Common Core. Two conflicting bills are headed for some kind of confrontation before the session ends.

State schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson and the California Teachers Association are backing a cancellation of all testing not required by the federal government, but their legislation, Assembly Bill 484, leaves a lot of blanks to be filled in later about new tests.

By erasing California’s current testing program, the measure appears to throw a monkey wrench into the accountability movement, which is rooted in test score results. Thereby, it serves the interests of the California Teachers Association, which detests “parent trigger” laws, charter schools and teacher evaluation proposals.

Coincidence? Perhaps, but a very real side effect nonetheless. It’s another indication that when it comes to school “reform,” the supposed adults play political games. The effects on children and their futures are often secondary considerations.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him as [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

US / World

Man shoots wife, himself at Northern Calif. retirement home

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
 
Thieves crash car through electronics store in San Francisco

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Some California farmers to go without federal water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments | Gallery

US, Liberia start 1st formal test of ZMapp Ebola virus drug

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US appeals court: Marathon bombing trial can stay in Boston

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Congress OKs 1-week bill to keep Homeland Security open

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments | Gallery

US rescinds rule requiring judges to move to Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Woman knocked out by eggs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Mexico official: Police capture top capo ‘La Tuta’ Gomez

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Well-educated ‘Jihadi John’ no surprise to experts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Unmasking of ‘Jihadi John’ as a London lad shocks Britain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Opinion

A remedy for veterans’ care

By Bill Frist And Jim Marshall | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 28, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

How GOP can resolve immigration mess

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A8, 10 Comments

 
Unlikely winners of Greece’s surrender on euro

By Mark Gilbert | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Feb. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Feb. 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Feb. 28, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
Poem about heaven helps dog owners when beloved pet dies

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Coca-Cola bottle as art? Atlanta’s High Museum takes a look

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

.

Sports

 
Vaca advances three wrestlers into semis at Masters

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Spurs snap 4-game skid, beat short-handed Kings 107-96

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Thompson scores 25 points, Warriors rout Raptors 113-89

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Casey McGehee’s move to Giants a homecoming of sorts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Browns agree to terms with quarterback Josh McCown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kyle Busch released from hospital following foot surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bulls expect Derrick Rose back this season from knee surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Testimony: Several Hernandez texts are missing from phone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Approaching ‘last call’ for NHL GMs to tweak rosters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

PGA Tour to move Match Play to Texas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Notre Dame president credited for transforming school dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLS Commissioner Garber: Hopeful season will start on time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR car stolen from hotel before race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

McIlroy to miss cut at Honda Classic; Reed leads

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NHL fines Sharks’ Couture $5,000 for tripping from behind

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Business

Gas prices soar in California as supply shrinks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Tribes from around US gather to discuss legal marijuana

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Uber says database containing driver info was breached

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Signed contracts to buy US homes rise to 18-month high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Fiat Chrysler recalls 467K SUVs for possible stalling

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Southwest nearly done inspecting planes that were grounded

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
5 reasons US economy is stronger than Q4 GDP suggests

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

Gabriel T. Traub

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Maria Kraszewski

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 2/28/2015

Right at Home: Decor made of bicycle parts

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

Real estate transactions for Feb. 28, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.80 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3