NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Lack of Education Transparency in California Hurting Students

March 24, 2015

Sweeping reforms have taken place in national education, such as Common Core.  However, basic transparency and accountability is obviously not a priority, as a group of California parents dealing with a low-performing school demonstrates, writes Lisa Snell of the Reason Foundation.

The parents of Palm Lane created a petition to turn the school into a charter school. The school board rejected their petition. 

The California school has consistently performed poorly or has lacked accountability:

  • Only 38 percent of students are currently proficient in reading.
  • In 2014, the state revised its pilot Common Core assessments that granted them with a federal waiver exempting it from being graded on reading and math achievement based on the new assessments. California is now seeking a federal testing waiver, which would allow schools to use graduation rates, attendance rates and rates of participation as measures of student achievement.
  • This lack of accountability is not helping students: In 2013, California's fourth grade students scored below the national average in both reading and math. On the reading assessment, 41 states outscored California, and 42 states outscored California in math.
  • Lack of transparency has also prevented parents from evaluating school quality.

Parents need to be able to see the growth of their children over time in reading and math and make decisions about the quality of their schools based on actual evidence and data on academic performance - rather than attendance rates and test participation rates.

Source: Lisa Snell, "California Needs to Measure Student Academic Progress," Reason Foundation, March 5, 2015.


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