Reports & Research

Updated: June 14, 2018

 

Career Technical Education in California...

Career technical education is critical to meeting the state’s workforce needs.
If current trends continue, roughly one-third of new jobs in California will require some training beyond high school but less than a four-year degree. Career technical education (CTE), also known as vocational training, connects students to these career opportunities by providing industry-based skills. In addition to improving career options in the short term, CTE can provide pathways to higher education; for example, about a third of high school CTE courses meet the admission requirements for California’s public four-year universities.

Public high schools and community colleges are the primary providers of CTE....

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K-12 Reforms and California’s English Learner...

(Editor’s note: In May, the Public Policy Institute of California released a report by researcher Laura Hill examining issues relating to California’s students who are English Learners. The summary of Hill’s report appears below, along with a link to the complete 14-page document.)

English Learner (EL) students have been a key part of California’s K-12 system for decades. They currently make up about 21 percent of the public school population.

English Learner status is meant to be temporary, and indeed, reclassified English Learners (those who are deemed English proficient) are among the best-performing students in the state. But students who remain ELs for longer periods generally have poor outcomes....

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New Report Shows Overall Crime at Schools Has Declined...

Crime in the nation's schools and college campuses has declined over the past two decades, according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). However, the report also shows racial disparities in student discipline and a significant increase in the number of forcible sex crimes reported on college campuses.

The new report, Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2015, is the 18th in a series of annual publications produced jointly by NCES, in the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the U.S. Department of Justice.

The report presents statistics on crime and safety at schools and on college campuses, drawing upon an array of data collected from students, teachers, principals, and postsecondary institutions....

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Study: Gay Male Teens Trying Adult Hookup Apps...

Although hookup apps require users to be 18 or older, a new Northwestern Medicine study found that more than 50 percent of sexually active gay and bisexual boys ages 14 to 17 met male sexual partners on apps such as Grindr and Scruff. 

It also was common for these teens to use the apps to connect with friends and find new gay, bisexual and queer friends and boyfriends, which sheds new light on who uses adult male hookup apps and why. 

The study was published today, May 18, in the Journal of Adolescent Health. It is the first known study to document that gay and bisexual teenage boys use sex and dating apps designed for adult men to find male partners. The apps provide users with a virtual networking space specifically for gay and bisexual men and overcome the need to figure out a potential partner’s or friend’s sexuality....

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PPIC Report Details Statistics on Immigrants...

California has more immigrants than any other state.
California is home to more than 10 million immigrants-about a quarter of the foreign-born population nationwide. In 2016, the most current year of data, 27% of California’s population was foreign born, about twice the US percentage. Foreign-born residents represented more than 30% of the population in seven California counties; in descending order, these counties are Santa Clara, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Mateo, Alameda, Monterey, and Orange. Half of California children have at least one immigrant parent.

California has had high shares of foreign-born residents for decades....

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PPIC Study: Recent Immigrants More Likely than U.S.-Born...

According to a recently-released study by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), recent immigrants are more likely than US-born Californians to be college graduates.
The study found that in 2016, 51% of working-age immigrants (aged 25 to 64) who had lived in California for five years or less had bachelor’s or graduate degrees, while 10% had minimal formal education (middle school or less). Educational attainment among newly arrived adult immigrants has increased markedly since 1980, when 15% had graduated from college and 37% had minimal formal education. In fact, recent immigrants have had bigger gains than US-born residents: the share of college graduates among US-born Californians increased from 21% in 1980 to 37% in 2016....

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Poll: Voters Worried About School Shootings...

An overwhelming majority of Californians are concerned about the threat of a mass shooting in their local schools in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, killings. But a majority also oppose allowing more teachers and school officials to carry guns in schools. These are among the key findings of a statewide survey on education released on April 11 by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

When asked about school shootings, 73 percent of California adults and 82 percent of public school parents say they are very or somewhat concerned. Democrats (55%) are much more likely than independents (36%) and far more likely than Republicans (24%) to say they are very concerned. The survey, which began just after the March for Our Lives protests against gun violence, found that across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos (68%) and African Americans (57%) are more likely to be very concerned than Asian Americans (49%) and whites (34%)....

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Report Details How Five California School Districts...

English learners (ELs) represent more than 1 in 5 students in California’s K-12 schools, yet math achievement rates for this group have remained considerably low. However, a new report from The Education Trust-West finds promising practices around the state that are increasing supports for these students and boosting student achievement. Second in a series exploring English learner education, the report, Unlocking Learning II: Math as a Lever for English Learner Equity, connects research to real-world classroom examples, providing a roadmap for statewide implementation of best practices in closing opportunity and achievement gaps.

“Given our linguistic diversity, California should lead the nation in closing equity gaps for English learners,” said Ryan J. Smith, executive director of Ed Trust-West. “The educators, schools and districts profiled in this report are making equity a reality in our public schools. They provide clear examples of what it takes to close these persistent achievement gaps.”...

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New Studies Reveal Pervasive Challenges to Expanded...

On March 5, at a Capitol Hill briefing hosted by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, a group of education and civil rights scholars from across the country revealed new data illuminating pervasive challenges among education voucher programs that significantly limit the extension of the expanded educational opportunities advocates of the programs and the Trump Administration tout. The data was presented by experts from the UCLA; University of Connecticut; University of Notre Dame; and a longtime expert on DC Public Schools. Scholars from other universities participated in the research.

Gary Orfield, distinguished research professor of education, law, political science, and urban planning and co-director of the UCLA Civil Rights Project, said, “The data clearly document the failure of voucher programs to equalize educational opportunity. The private school sector is overwhelmingly white and shrinking and the vouchers often put students of color in weak unregulated schools where they gain nothing academically. Civil rights standards are not being enforced.”...

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Survey Profiles Impact of Immigration Enforcement...

On February 28, the UCLA Civil Rights Project released the findings of a new national survey of educators revealing the alarming impact of immigration enforcement on teaching and learning in public schools. The study was presented at a policy forum at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., which also included presentations on the topic by immigration experts from the Migration Policy Institute and Brigham Young University.

Patricia Gándara, Co-Director of the UCLA Civil Rights Project, and the study’s lead researcher, said “Educators from all parts of the country tell us their immigrant students are distracted and living in fear of losing their parents to deportation and this is affecting all the students in their classrooms. As a result, teachers in these mostly low-income schools are being stressed sometimes to the breaking point. The unintended consequences of an immigration enforcement policy that did not consider its impact on the nation’s schools will continue to jeopardize the educations of millions of students if allowed to persist.”...

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Study Details High Rate of Suspensions of Black Males...

The suspension rate for black males was 12.8 %, more than three and one-half times greater than for other students in California public schools in 2016-17, according to a new analysis published on February 19 by researchers at the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) at San Diego State and the UCLA Black Male Institute.

The highest rate of suspensions by grade level was for black boys in grades K-3 who were 5.6 times more likely to be suspended than other students. More than one -quarter (27.4%) of black male students in foster care were suspended. Forty-one percent of black boys in foster care in 7th and 8th grade were suspended, the highest rates of suspensions for black males.

“From a very young age, far too many black boys and young men are being told, in effect, to get out, and are excluded from the school and classroom, says Professor Tyrone Howard, the director of the Black Male Institute at UCLA...

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USC Poll: Majority of Voters Like California...

A new poll shows that a majority of state voters support the California School Dashboard, a performance gauge that was created by the state last year to improve equity and transparency in school quality.

Launched in March 2017, the California School Dashboard is an online tool that shows how schools are performing according to the various indicators that comprise the state's education accountability system.

State education leaders hoped the dashboard would better inform parents as well as improve equity in schools. Some organizations panned the system when it debuted, with one calling it "more confusing than practical."

Yet a new USC Rossier/PACE poll, released on February 7, finds that a majority of voters...

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Study: LCFF Raising Student Achievement...

California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the school finance overhaul enacted in 2013, is having a measurable positive impact on students’ academic achievement and graduation rates, improving outcomes and narrowing gaps, according to a study released on February 1 by the Learning Policy Institute. The findings were discussed at a meeting of Policy Analysis for California Education in Sacramento. LCFF reallocated school finances based on students need and gave school districts significantly more flexibility in spending. Schools receive greater funding for each student who is low-income, an English learner, or in foster care. The new formula has come with an increase in K-12 funding-a total of $18 billion by the time LCFF is fully implemented. This is one of the first studies on the impact of LCFF on students’ academic achievement and graduation rates.

The study, Money and Freedom: The Impact of California’s School Finance Reform, examines high school graduation rates...

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USC Rossier School of Education study report...

Study Examines Homelessness Among LGBTQ Students

Data suggest that 320,000-400,000 homeless youths identify as LGBTQ in the United States.

While research has addressed problems facing LGBTQ students and homeless students, those at the intersection have less support.

In a new paper published in the journal Educational Researcher, two scholars out of the USC Rossier School of Education propose a policy and research agenda to help.

“The difficulties facing homeless youth generally warrant more attention from policymakers and researchers,” said William G. Tierney, the Wilbur-Kieffer Professor of Higher Education at USC Rossier and one of the paper’s authors. “We opted to focus on LGBTQ homeless youth because there’s a dearth of research and policy compared to homelessness in general.”...

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PPIC report...

PPIC Ponders Prospects of K-12 Schools Under Next Governor

California educates more than 6 million children in its K-12 public schools. More than half of these students are economically disadvantaged. Almost a quarter are English Learners (ELs), compared with fewer than one in ten nationwide.

In order to better serve its student population, the state has enacted several reforms in recent years – and state funding for K-12 education has increased for six consecutive years. In 2010, California adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in math and English, and students began taking new standards-aligned tests – the Smarter Balanced assessments – in 2015.

In addition, the state has mostly finished implementing the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). The LCFF was enacted in 2013 to simplify school finance, increase funding for high-need (low-income, EL, and foster youth) students, and revamp school accountability...

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CDPH guidance...

State Issues Guidelines on How to Reduce Exposure to Radio Frequency Energy from Cell Phones

As smartphone use continues to increase in the U.S., especially among children, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued guidance on December 13 for individuals and families who want to decrease their exposure to the radio frequency energy emitted from cell phones. Although the scientific community has not reached a consensus on the risks of cell phone use, research suggests long-term, high use may impact human health.

"Although the science is still evolving, there are concerns among some public health professionals and members of the public regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cell phones," said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. "We know that simple steps, such as not keeping your phone in your pocket and moving it away from your bed at night, can help reduce exposure for both children and adults."...

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New America Foundation report...

New Policy Paper Looks at Ways to Connect High School Students to Apprenticeship Programs

“So, what are you doing next year?” It’s a common question American high school students face from teachers, neighbors, their friends, and parents. For students today, the most common answer is college, with nearly 70 percent of today’s high school graduates enrolling in higher education after graduation. While high school graduation rates are at istoric high, still nearly a third of students do not enroll in postsecondary education after graduation. Of those that do, just over half will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in six years, and their prospects are worse if they start at a two-year college. Among completers, there is no guarantee of a well-paying job to help pay off the over $30,000 debt that today’s college graduates accumulate on average.

As policymakers contemplate new ways to prepare students for college and careers, youth apprenticeship stands out as a compelling option. Apprenticeship is a proven educational model that integrates on-the-job and classroom learning...

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