Accountability: California, the land of local control— wait, what?!

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I have discussed a Community-Based Accountability approach since September 2012 here on Cloaking Inequity. California, land of where the government micromanages everything the land of local control— wait, what?! has announced a form of Community-Based Accountability in trailer legislation and tied it to school finance (Thanks to Kevin Welner for the heads-up). For extensive description from EdSource go here Brown details how to hold districts accountable under funding reform.

Brown’s plan?: Edsource reports:

  • Districts and charter schools would be required to write or update an annual “local control and accountability plan” spelling out how the additional dollars would be used to improve the academic success of the targeted students – low-income children, foster youth and students learning English – and whether there would be enough money allocated in the district budget to carry out the plans.
  • School officials would be required to consult with parents, teachers and members of the community in writing the plan and to hold a hearing on it.
  • The State Board of Education would create a “template,” providing guidelines and requirements on what must be in the district plan.
  • The plan would need the approval of the county superintendent of schools as part of the county’s annual review of the district’s budget.

There are still strings attached. Edsource reports communities must:

  • Implement the state’s content standards, like Common Core;
  • Increase the API scores and state assessment results for the school and all significant subgroups of students;
  • Improve high school graduation and attendance rates and lower the dropout rate;
  • Increase the percentage of students who qualify for the University of California and California State University schools, take Advanced Placement courses and enroll in career technical courses;
  • Address the specific needs of foster youth, low-income children and English language learners;
  • Provide “meaningful opportunities for parent involvement” by, at a minimum, supporting a school site council or taking other measures, such as appointing an ombudsman for parents.

The components of California’s plan has more limited outcomes than we have described in our Community-Based Accountability plan here, but California is already headed in the right direction towards a locally-based accountabilty system. I noted that the bill spends extensive language on the process in the local communities— maybe this will address the naysayers that say local communities can’t be trusted. For the entire trailer bill go here. The “Local Control and Accountability Plans” are on pages 110-116

Bravo! Can you feel a movement beginning?

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Categories: Accountability, Community-Based Accountability

Author:Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin.

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