California research project timed to elevate education in fall elections, inform next governor

February 21, 2018

By John Fensterwald

Acompendium of three dozen new studies on California education, involving dozens of researchers, will be released in June, in time to help shape the debate in state elections in November and the next governor’s approach to education. At least that’s the organizers’ intent.

“Getting Down to Facts II,” as the massive project is called, will take multiple looks at how well the 2013 Local Control Funding Formula is working to make school financing more equitable and raise student achievement. Other studies will examine how the state trains and retains teachers and principals and measures their performance, how it funds special education and how it deals with students’ mental health issues. The studies will also examine how, compared with other states, California collects data, guarantees pensions, funds K-12 schools, oversees charter schools and meets the needs of pre-school children.

“We’ve had a lot of changes during the past 10 years so it’s good to know which are working and if they’re not working as well, are there barriers that we could take down to help them work better,” said Susanna Loeb, a professor of education at Stanford University who is coordinating the project. “This seems like a really good time to do it. A new administration can come in with some facts on the ground.”