A screengrab of the California School Dashboard Reference Guide.

The State Board of Education on Wednesday launched a new website to help parents assess schools, which not only includes standardized test scores but suspension and graduation rates, how well English Language Learners fare, and a bevy of other information. The new dashboard is well timed for Oakland and San Francisco families who are receiving their school placement letters in the next few weeks. In this hour we’ll hear about California’s new dashboard for school evaluation and discuss how parents can pick the best school for their child.

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California Launches New School Assessment Dashboard, Drops API Score 16 March,2017Michael Krasny

Guests:
Michael Kirst, president, California State Board of Education; professor emeritus of education, Stanford University's Graduate School of Education
Samantha Tran, senior managing director of education policy, Children Now
Miranda Martin, director of policy, Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco
Elizabeth Robitaille, senior vice president of achievement and performance managment, California Charter Schools Association

  • EIDALM

    The U S school education performance have always lagged behind many countries in the the World specially in the field of science and math, as I found that myself when I joined the physics dept. grad school at U C Berkeley I found that the number of international students far exceeded American born, and it was the case near in all science departments.

    • Paul

      Your reasoning is flawed.
      1. One graduate school doesn’t speak for an entire nation.
      2. Foreigners pay more tuition, often because they have rich parents, and are therefore sought after more.
      3. Foreign born faculty can be biased against Americans and therefore prefer to admit foreign students.

      • Chris1030

        you need to learn more about graduate programs in US, cause none of your points are accurate.

        • EIDALM

          You are ignorant, I enjoyed a graduate status for 13 years.

          • Chris1030

            my comment was in response to the deleted one, that was basically stating that grad schools are discriminating against Americans, so i suggested learning some facts on the subject would be useful :))

          • EIDALM

            I apologize

      • EIDALM

        Foreign students then was 500 dollars semester…was not much.. U C was state funded and grad foreign played major role in advancing science.

        • Paul

          When I was graduating from a private university the topic of concern for many American students was paying off student debt.
          In one class, a math professor specifically discouraged us from going to graduate school because the math shows, lifelong earnings are not much more but the debt will be substantially more.
          Some careers require a graduate degree, but most do not.

  • Paul

    Kids today are under so much pressure, and subjected to so much propaganda and fake news e.g. from the CIA, it’s no wonder they’re acting like angry, precious snowflakes… they live in a la-la land, in phoniness-filled Facebook bubbles, their parents are narcissistic know nothings, their politicians are lying lawyers, and their historians are sound-bite spewing spin masters.

    Gary Busey knows the score:

    Bill Cosby offers sage advice:

  • Steve Shapero

    As a parent, I don’t want school choice. I want all schools to be high performing and i want to send my kid to the school closest to my home. SFUSD is a cartoon seemingly drawn by a right wing satirist seeking to mock everything wrong with progressive policies. No one wants a lottery and choice, we want schools that work. The real score parents use to mark schools is how much money the PTO raises. State bureaucrats are useless, totally out of touch with the reality. San Francisco’s “best school” (Clarendon) is harder to get into than Harvard, yet is still only ranked 400 in the state — and our state is the 48th worst system in the country. This discussion is like talking about how the titanic sank. Repeal prop 13 and break the teachers union – that is what we should be talking about.

    • William – SF

      From the perspective of someone once removed from the implementation of education, I wholeheartedly agree with all but the last two sentences (I don’t see how changing them would improve how children are educated.) Teacher competence and funding education are paramount issues, absolutely. Teaching must be held to the highest standards, and rewarded as such – our society does neither. I’d also argue that our educational system hasn’t evolved – it is still teaching to an agrarian economy – and no, computers are not the solution. Again, I loved your descriptions.

    • MikeCassady

      I’m with William mostly, but you aren’t clear whether you are saying “I want schools that work for me,” or “I want schools that work for the community of Califrornia.” You do understand, I hope, that the State is tasked with the Constituitional responsibility by the federal government to provide education services to all California children on the basis of equal opportunity and equal protection before the law. Personally, I want California children to know they are essetial members to the California community as a whole. If you study education performance statistics for CA, you know we have a special difficulty with supplying education services to a group of non-native English speakers larger than any other state in the nation. There are a lot of hard working serious students who come from our Spanish speaking, Mong speaking, Vietnamese speaking populations. Check out how many of these people supply the soldiers who fight our wars and die for this country: if they have bone spurs on their heels you won’t hear about it. If you take the stats from the PISA test rating nations as a whole, when you break out the numbers, the good students, often from educationally priveleged backgrounds, do better, or as well as the best of students in any other country in the world. Yes, our non-English students drag our stats down. The solution to that problem is to stop looking at snap shot statistics that tell you apples and oranges are very different things. Do I need to be tol;d that?

  • Paul

    What effect has the outsourcing of jobs and the importing of cheaper foreign workers had on the willingness of American students to pursue education related to effected industries e.g. engineering?

    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/07/12/new-report-shows-dependence-us-graduate-programs-foreign-students

  • Mood_Indigo

    This is a terrible idea meant to deceive and confuse us parents and make it more difficult for us to hold teachers and administrators accountable. It’s unbelievable that clear academic metrics, the #1 reason we send our kids to school, is overlooked in this new room of smoke and mirrors. Instead, large doses of politically-correct nonsense such “equity” is injected into the conversation.

    • Mood_Indigo

      I have several ways to rate schools better starting with adding criteria important for us parents such as:
      Rate the schools based on whether they challenge the students to do better academically.
      Rate the teachers and principal willingness to be receptive to parents’ input.
      Rate the average motivation level of teachers.
      Rate the dynamism, helpfulness and motivation of administrative staff
      … etc. etc.

      • MikeCassady

        Mood, don’t sit on your hands: peer-to-peer activism can give the interests of kids a place at the decision table. It was networking that brought the people of Egypt out into Tahir Square to make some noise. You don’t have the army ready to come in, so start your own hard-ball “rating”. Create your own metrics, avoid collective meetings as much as possible (bait for extroverts), and make the desert turn gree. Good luck.

    • Steve Shapero

      Totally. The union will do anything to keep jobs and pensions for life while avoiding any accountability for our failing system.

      • MikeCassady

        You are repeating untruths. Unions defend teachers against parent gangs and school board memebers working an entry level positon into poitics by pleasing the loudest mouths in the community, who would rather be home watching the sports channel. Teaching K-12 and preschool is soul-work and it eats up soul energy. Young people are not attracted into teaching who have every right to anticipate being badly treated and looked upon as glorified baby-sitters: “If you can’t do it, teach it.” The number of parents with children in school make up a small proportion of a community; schools are no long emblematic institutions of local community seen to play a part in local identity. They are seen to provide a service to parents with kids, and only for as long as the kids are in school. Schools in areas with high percentages of people who depend upon their education have a stronger following in a community, and stong teachers tend to want to work where they will be valued for what they do. Let’s stop spreading alternative facts as if they weren’t ust lies.

  • Ben Rawner

    Is there a way to download the data for use in an algorithm by cities and businesses?

  • Robert Thomas

    Who makes the choice of school, for a kid whose father pays no attention to her schooling and whose mother puts away a quart of vodka every other day, before 3:00 P.M.?

    I had such a schoolmate, during the third, fourth and fifth grade.

    Americans have utterly abandoned the fundamental mission of their public primary and secondary schools – that it taxes all of the community, even those with no kids in school, in order to provide equal opportunity for ALL of the community’s children – for the lesser, cynical and self-serving program of spending the money of their child-less neighbors to best further the experience of their own offspring. The rest of the kids, be damned. They’ve done so, while simultaneously congratulating themselves. It’s pitiable.

  • Mikey

    Regarding your discussion of education metrics and school performance, no amount of measuring will fix a school or help a child be better educated. Teachers, principles and parents already know good schools from bad and anyone with common sense knows why. It’s all about the parents and the amount of interest, time and resources that they have to put towards their kids. The rest is academic bluster, liberal hand wringing and wasted tax money. I would cut every penny of this funding.

  • MikeCassady

    I fear an important feature of Federally imposed test based accountability in school performance evaluation is being forgotten. Obama’s program, reoriented from G.W. Bush’s NCLB, aimed at providing an objective measure at a national level of educational opportunity being provided by the states, however, painful, was aimed at facing up to inequities in opportunity due to quality of education by holding legislators responsible. The local based school system is wildly out of date and it forms silos of educational opportunity that cannot be solved by local means and local money. Making school choice the main factor in school reform is a way of taking the heat of the political class and shifting it onto parents. Bear in mind, educational opportunity under the Constituion is aimed at the children themselves, not parents. Making schools work for children is a responsibility of the national community as opportunity pushes further into an exta-national world—leaving “global” for later.

    • Robert Thomas

      I agree – I think. What does it mean to “solve a silo of educational opportunity”, exactly?

      • MikeCassady

        Thanks for your interest Robert. I meant, by “silos,” to indicate school districts formed of the rural dispora with school districts drawn to wall the fortunate from the less fortunate in communities segregated by property values. Like silos, these districts are right next to each other, but are entirely cut off from each other. “Silo” has been use (overused) recently, along with “pivot.” It is what was once called a ‘buzz word,’ something used like an electric jolt to communicate with.

        Having been involved with a friend in education research in China studing USA education reform. I grew to appreciate Obama’s tough love approach to get State Education authorities to own the problem of inequity and inequality of education. The Federal agency for education, mainly responsible to assuring children’s Constitutional right to get access to equal opportunity in education, only had the lever of money to require States to show performance in hard numbers. No one believed testing was an ideal solution, but it was a way to impliment a uniform measure of education across states that the states could not interpret away in piles of statistics and go back to sleep. State leaders clearly did not like parents from different states looking at each other’s stats. Inequality in education has reached epidemic proportions now that changes in the industial economy has pushed the poor and people of color into dead inner cities. If people at the bottom of the income ladder did the nasty jobs before in the industrial zones, they did have the means to fend for families, appear to their children to be valuable social beings with work and a chance to climb out of misery, and escape the terrible taint of animality. These people now are contained in these dead zones in concentration camp conditions: they are herded into bad, dangerous schools in the inner city, and search by any means—often foul—to achieve some sense of self-worth and dignity, at least vis a vis their friends. Without forcing the faces of the state political class and the comfortable suburbinite middle class into the horror, history shows they quickly find ways of making the problem go away by turning their heads and buying the police bigger guns.
        Obama’s accountability program was intended to let State leaders allow their priveleged populations to continue investing in quality education for their children, while taking real measures and money to bear on the schools selling educaiton to nowhere.
        I hope I have made myself more clear, and do continue the conversation by peer-to-peer channels.

  • Mood_Indigo

    Why is attendance being such a made a big deal?
    Because of the revenue model and little more. This correlational interpretation of data of attendance vs. achievement is beyond obtuse. Even idiots know that you need to show up at school to learn. But a good student who is absent for a long period for whatever reasons should be judged but his of her performance, not attendance.

    Why is parental involvement in school such a big deal?
    Because school admin and teachers want others to do what they are paid to do. I don’t have time to help school but I am engaged with my kids at home about education. That’s not measured in this dashboard because nobody has asked me.

    Why use these complex system to compare school?
    It make it more difficult for us to hold teachers and administrators accountable. This method conceived and implemented by a state education system led by teachers’ union their tool Tom Torlakson. You get what you vote for. Maybe consider Marshall Tuck in the next election. Don’t expect big changes with Tuck but the educational establishment may be more receptive to parents’ input.

    • MikeCassady

      Why the abject negativity? Destruction is much easier, and much quicker than building, or growing a field of corn from seed. Let’s call this lesson the logic of the Twin Towers.

Host

Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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