- California Gov. Jerry Brown has stated that his state will drive ed reforms around school accountability, instead of following the lead of the U.S. Department of Education.
- Brown held up California's Local Control Funding Formula as a model of success, calling it "a true system of local accountability.”
- EdSource reports that the Local Control Funding Formula legislation has helped the state commit more money in state funds to disadvantaged students than its share of federal Title I dollars earmarked for spending on low-income, ELL, and foster students.
California is apparently ahead of the pack, and districts might want to pay attention to what happens next under the new Every Student Succeeds Act. More than a decade before the ESSA, the Golden State passed the Public School Accountability Act. The 1999 bill called for requiring school districts to publish the test scores of diverse student subgroups, including blacks and Latinos.
Currently, the state is also leading the way when it comes to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. A November 2015 survey from UCLA's Civil Rights Project shows that academic success actually tracks with a reduction in suspensions for students, “suggesting that the move away from harsh discipline practices benefited schools,” according to The Huffington Post.
Still, even though California has leapt ahead of other states around accountability, it needs to pay attention to a standardized testing opt-out rate that threatens its share of federal funding.
Dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline and closing the "discipline gap" that plagues minorities in U.S. schools is an ongoing challenge for districts and schools across the nation. Previously, UCLA's “Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap?” found that, out of 3.5 million public school students suspended at least once in 2011-12, 16% of black students had been suspended as opposed to just 5% of whites.
Minority students are also disproportionately suspended in Southern states.