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ERIC Number: ED510158
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct-19
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Continuous Improvement in California Education: Data Systems and Policy Learning
Loeb, Susanna; Plank, David N.
Policy Analysis for California Education, PACE (NJ1)
The "Getting Down to Facts" (GDTF) studies released in March 2007 offered a clear diagnosis of the issues facing California's education system. Now, as California moves beyond the facts and begins the search for ways to improve the performance of California schools and students, the state faces a critical policy dilemma. On the one hand, the evidence presented in GDTF made it clear that simply putting more resources into California's present education system is unlikely to produce the large gains in performance that Californians expect from their schools. On the other hand, the GDTF studies made it equally clear that bringing about significant improvements in educational performance may require a substantial increase in the resources that the state spends on education, along with increased autonomy and flexibility for local educators to decide how these resources should be used. The policy dilemma that the state faces is how to ensure that local actors use new resources in the best possible ways, without increasing the regulatory burden on schools and school districts or adding to the profusion of categorical funding streams. In Policy Analysis for California Education's (PACE's) view, the solution to this dilemma has two key elements. First, the state needs to focus its reform efforts on creating a system that fosters innovation and learns from experience to support continuous improvement toward the goal of academic success for all students. Second, the state needs to make significant investments in human capital and capacity building at all levels of the education system. The authors address the first of these two elements in this policy brief. They argue that a robust data system is the essential foundation for an education system that is capable of continuous improvement in school and student performance. Great data by themselves will not lead to continuous improvement in the educational performance, however. Policies must also be designed and implemented in ways that support careful evaluation and the production of new knowledge about effective programs and practices. In addition, the state must support the creation of institutions to disseminate new knowledge and encourage the adoption of best practices at all levels of the education system, from the classroom to the California Department of Education (CDE). (Contains 1 footnote.)
Policy Analysis for California Education, PACE. 3653 Tolman Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-1670. Tel: 510-642-7223; Fax: 510-642-9148; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE)
Identifiers - Location: California