Past Policy Wins2016
Governor Brown’s 2016-2017 Budget
The Governor’s budget included Increase of $7.8 million to provide access to full-day State Preschool for nearly 3,000 eligible children in the 2016-2017 school year. Over the next four years, funding will increase to $100 million to serve an additional 8,877 children in full-day State Preschool. In addition, efforts to do away with guaranteed transitional kindergarten statewide were turned aside. That said, we’re still not back to pre-2008 funding levels, and the need for high-quality early education remains great.
We supported the efforts of multiple coalitions to advocate for increasing funding to Early Childhood Education and to retain transitional kindergarten as an ongoing entitlement program. Additionally, as a member of the CA Business Advisory Council, we signed on to a letter advocating for increased funding to Early Childhood Education in the state budget.
SB 172 (Liu) – High School Exit Exam : Passed Oct 2015
This bill suspended the exit exam for 3 years while educators, lawmakers, and other stakeholders figure out another way to assess high school students, particularly in a way that demonstrates that students are proficient in 21st century skills. Additionally, this bill retroactively allowed students who had previously been unable to pass the exam but who completed all other graduation requirements to receive a high school diploma. The previous iteration of the exam failed to accurately ensure that students were able to enter the workforce or college with competitive skills. By taking the time to outline a new set of benchmarks, the California State Board of Education can ensure that students will exit high school with the skills needed to tackle their next goal.
SB 359 (Mitchell) – Math Misplacement : Passed Oct 2015
According to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, math misplacement occurs when students are held back in math although grades and test scores indicate they should advance to the next course. When this happens, students are derailed from being able to complete the math courses they need to be competitive applicants for California colleges and universities. This negatively impacts the state’s ability to close the academic achievement gap, which is critical to developing a highly-skilled, diverse and educated workforce that can keep California competitive in a global economy.
SB 359 will prevent math misplacement by calling for all school districts to develop, establish, and implement a fair and objective math placement policy that systematically takes multiple academic measures of student performance into consideration when determining student placement in math.
The bill made it through the Education Committee and Working Council unanimously and received the Leadership Group’s official support in July. In September, the Leadership Group provided a letter of support as the bill made it to the Governor’s desk. We also brought this bill to the attention of the R.E.A.L. Coalition, which led to the endorsement of SB 359 by 17 CEOs of business organizations across the state.
Focus AreasDiversifying the STEM Pipeline
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that computer and mathematical fields are expected to yield more than 1.3 million job openings by 2022. In addition, nearly 4 in 5 new jobs created among the life, physical, and social services occupations group will be in occupations that typically require a bachelor’s degree or higher, and more than 2 in 5 will be at the graduate degree level. However, according to the National Science Foundation, of the students awarded a bachelor’s degree in science and engineering, only 8% is awarded to African American students and 10% to Hispanic students. Although there has been a big boom in STEM degrees, the increase is not spread across underrepresented groups.
A diverse workforce also leads to significant economic benefits. In a McKinsey report, a company in the top quartile of racial diversity is 35% more likely to outperform a company in the bottom quartile. For companies in the top quartile of gender diversity, they are 15% more likely to outperform companies in the bottom quartile of gender diversity. A report by Strategy& (a consulting firm in PwC’s network) in 2012 estimated that fully engaging women in the workforce could raise GDP by 5%. A larger and more productive workforce stems from a more diverse workforce.
In Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley Companies recognize the importance of a diverse workforce and that work needs to be done in order to diversify the workforce. In order to increase diversity in Silicon Valley Companies, we need to focus on engagement, recruitment, retention and inclusionary policies and programs. Not only do we have to get kids interested in STEM, but also make sure that every child has an equal opportunity to pursue their passion for STEM. According to Ed Trust West, 40% of elementary teachers are spending less than an hour a week on science. This lack of science and math preparation continues through high school, when in 2013-2014, only 42 percent of all California high school graduates had completed their “a-g” requirements, including 3 years of math and 2 years of science. Increasing diversity requires expanding science and math education from elementary school all the way through high school and implementing recruitment, retention and inclusionary programs in workplaces. At the Silicon Valley Leadership Group we are dedicated to promoting policies and programs that prepare and encourage the inclusion and participation of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM careers.
News and Links
- California moves to catch up on K-12 computer science curriculum – EdSource
- Silicon Valley, Seeking Diversity, Focus on Blacks – New York Times
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Institute for Higher Education Policy Report on Diversifying the STEM Pipeline
- Mitch Resnick’s TED Talk – Let’s teach kids to code
- National Science Foundation STEM Education Data
- NSF Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering Report
In the 2000’s, teachers began supplementing instruction with digital curricula and the internet became more integrated into the classroom with the boom in portable technology. With the current focus on 21st century skills and college readiness, the rise of tablets and education software is creating a tool for teachers to introduce modern technology into the classroom. Today’s students will need to develop computer skills in addition to the current curriculum. The National Education Technology Plan (NETP) sets a national plan for learning enhanced by technology through building on the work of leading education researchers, district leaders, classroom teachers, developers, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit organizations. As part of The Office of Education Technology, the NETP looks to address nation-wide issues such as the digital divide, and how to accelerate the adoption of new effective approaches.
There is no doubt that integrating technology into the classroom is necessary; as technology becomes pervasive in society, technological proficiency will be a standard requirement in the workforce. Administrators, teachers, public officials, investors and business have latched onto this idea and in the last 5 years K-12 ed tech funding has increased 5x, culminating in 2015, when K-12 ed tech funding reached an all-time high of $741 million. Schools are also becoming more responsive to advances in edtech; coding and computer science are entering the core curriculum in the seven largest US districts.
Leaders in different roles and across various sectors are advocating for increased access to computer science education in schools. Currently, only 16% of CA schools with AP programs offered the AP Computer Science course in 2014-2015 . In January 2016, President Barack 1 Obama introduced the CS For All initiative to empower all American students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science and have the skills they need to succeed. Part of the initiative calls for industry leaders to commit to the CS For All mission and work to increase access to computer science education. In Fall 2016, the College Board will be launching the new AP Computer Science 2 Principles course to better prepare students for college and career.
In Silicon Valley
Despite being the home of Silicon Valley, California struggles to implement long-range technology plans for K-12 classroom instruction. A study about California’s readiness for online standardized testing by the Public Policy Institute of California found that software and staffing levels are insufficient in more than half of California’s districts and that hardware levels are insufficient for about a quarter of districts. Although schools received funding for the implementation for new online testing, it was a one-time expense; in reality, per pupil spending on technology is actually at historically low levels. In the long term, virtually all schools will need to update their technology in order to benefit from advances in digital learning.
Locally, San Francisco Unified School District and Oakland Unified School District have started to focus on Computer Science education. SFUSD has been able to incorporate CS for all students by looking at CS implementation through an elementary, middle, and high school lens. In elementary school, all students will receive about 20 hours of CS instruction integrated with literacy and math standards. In middle school, all students will take a quarter- or trimester-long enrichment course that is held during the elective periods. In high school, students will elect whether to continue studying computer science. OUSD has committed to having computer science for all students by engaging different industries to publicly support computer science implementation. CS will be integrated into various parts of the day such as after school programs, summer programs, and internships through community partners. As part of this program, OUSD is working with dozens of companies to provide mentoring and volunteer opportunities for their employees to work with Oakland youth.
From massive open online courses (MOOCs) to Altschool, Silicon Valley has been a driving force in developing a myriad of creative solutions to integrate technology in the classroom. In the past couple years, the number of EdTech startups has grown exponentially, driving a new focus in combining the worlds of education and innovative technology. By partnering with local and state policymakers, business and school leaders, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group aims to increase access to research-based education software and hardware. We accomplish this goal by advocating for educational technologies that support and improve learning (childhood development, academic outcomes, skills training).
News and Links
In Silicon Valley
Regional economic studies show that although the Peninsula has recovered almost all of the jobs lost in the recession, growth has been uneven. While the median household income is about $25,000 above the state average, education and related household income is below the state average for Hispanic and African-American residents. Additionally, people with low levels of education have seen real income declines over the past 10 years.
As more firms report having trouble finding skilled workers, there is an opportunity to bridge these educational and economic gaps. Stated simply, our citizens need work and our economy needs workers. In the same regional studies, sectors like Professional, Scientific & Technical Services, Software & Internet Services, Healthcare and Construction are expected to receive the greatest share of the growth; getting workers into these sectors will require a focus on workforce development. In addressing these labor concerns, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group is committed to stimulating the demand for the development of a diverse workforce in the Valley, with a focus on recruitment, training and retention.
News and Links
- Report: California public colleges not producing enough STEM degrees – EdSource
- California Community Colleges: Doing What Matters
- Udacity reinvents skills training with the nanodegree – CNBC
New Education Reforms
President Obama signed Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, replacing No Child Left Behind. This act focuses on accountability and providing more information to local community members and families and targeting funding to low-income students and students of color. Each state must adopt consistent standards for all students that will prepare them for a postsecondary education and provide fair assessments to match these standards. These assessments and subsequent rating will be a part of a report card that will be made public, which will also include an indicator of school quality and at least one other academic indicator. The state must also provide information on the percentage of low-income students or students of color that are receiving ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced teachers. The ESSA also requires that federal funding is targeted to the highest poverty schools and districts.
In Silicon Valley
In 2013, California overhauled its funding structure for schools. The Local Control Facilities Funding (LCFF) eliminated many of California’s small funding programs in favor of a tiered system. Funding is divided into four categories: K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12. Each group has a base rate for each child, counted from the average daily attendance (ADA): $6,845, $6,947, $7,154, and $8,289, respectively. In order to insure that more money goes to students who need it the most, supplemental funding is given for students that are English Learners (EL) or Low-Income (LI) or foster youth. Under the law, each district is guaranteed to receive no less than they did in 2012-2013; although approximately 15% of schools will not receive additional funding, a vast majority will see a significant increase in funding.
To hold the districts accountable for their spending, every 3 years they must create a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), and revise it every year. The LCAP sets annual goals in 8 specific areas: student achievement, student engagement, other student outcomes, parental involvement, course access, implementation of common core standards, basic services, and school climate. Through the LCAP, which must be posted publicly, the community is able to keep their district accountable. Above the district, the Superintendent, School Board of Education and Council of Education will use these reports watch out for warning signs and assign assistance from the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. The LCFF, LCAP and ESSA will go a long way towards directing funding to those who need it most and keeping schools accountable for their financial decisions.
Additionally, in 2013, California adopted the Next Generation Science Standards which apply to all California K-12 public schools. According to the ACT readiness benchmark, in 2012, 54% of high school graduates failed to meet the benchmark levels in math, and 69% of graduates failed to meet the readiness benchmark in science. These new standards are an effort to pull together three benchmarks (Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Disciplinary Core Ideas) to bring a more holistic view of teaching science. Students will be expected to use their scientific knowledge to engage in creative problem solving connected with the world around them. Overall, the new standards are preparing the next generation of students to tackle the next innovation challenges.
The Leadership Group is committed to seeing through California’s new education reforms by supporting policies that sustain and develop reforms to help them meet California’s academic goals.
News and Links
- American Institute for Research Brief: Transitional Kindergarten in California
- Next Generation Science Standards for Each Grade
- Putting California First in Driving Education Reform – EdSource