Leveraging Opportunities for Instructional Excellence: Implementing the Common Core

Leveraging Resources/Aligning Systems

Leveraging Resources for CCSS Implementation

Fensterwald, J. (2013, June 23). Districts to get $1.25 billion this fall to implement Common Core. [Web log] Available at http://www.edsource.org/today/2013/districts-to-get1-25-billion-this-fall-to-implement-common-core

This blog post discusses the $1.25 billion­ state budget allocation to California districts for Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation (translating to approximately $200 per student based on 2012-2013 enrollment). With less prescriptive guidance than they received for the state’s implementation of new standards in the 1990s, districts will have more latitude in how they spend their per student allocation. However, to receive funds, districts must create spending plans and hold two public hearings: one to present the proposal and a second to vote on it. Districts are receiving funds in two disbursements occurring in September and November of 2013 and will have two years to use the money.

The Education Trust–West. (2013, August). The one billion dollar question: How can districts and schools equitably implement the Common Core? Oakland, CA: Author. Available at http://west.edtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/01/ETW_CCSS_Needs-Assessment_August2013_0.pdf

This guide poses questions, ideas, and potential pitfalls for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to consider as they plan to spend California’s one-time budget allocation for CCSS implementation. Through checklists on topics such as leadership, timeline, communication, and evaluation and monitoring, the document can help LEAs assess their current capacity to implement the CCSS and identify areas of need. The guide proposes high-leverage strategies across three areas: professional development and collaboration, instructional supports and materials, and technology. Finally, the guide highlights promising practices, including work underway by Sacramento City Unified School District and the California Office to Reform Education.

Cabral, E., & Chu, C. (2013, July). An overview of the Local Control Funding Formula. Sacramento, CA: Legislative Analyst’s Office. Available at http://www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2013/edu/lcff/lcff-072913.pdf

This report describes the details of California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and accompanying system of district support and intervention. The LCFF establishes an equal level of base funding for all students in the state, allocates additional funding to districts with high amounts of students in need, and reduces restrictions on district spending. The authors also discuss LCFF’s implementation timeline, distributional effects, and impact on the overall state budget allocation to education. To ensure transparency and accountability, the legislation requires districts to adopt Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) describing how funds will be spent and goals for educational outcomes. The authors conclude with a discussion of major work ahead, including State board of Education (SBE) adoption of LCAP templates, rubrics for assessing school district performance, and regulations for use of supplemental and concentration funds.

Fensterwald, J. (2013, October 28). Proposed spending regs give districts leeway to choose how to serve high-needs students [Web log]. Available at http://www.edsource.org/today/2013/proposed-spending-regs-give-districts-leeway-to-choose-how-to-serve-high-needs-students/

This blog post discusses proposed regulations to hold districts accountable for extra funds they receive through the LCFF on behalf of high-needs students. Developed by WestEd, the regulations allow districts to demonstrate increased or improved services to high-needs students by spending more on, providing more services for, or documenting improved outcomes for these students. However, advocates for low-income students and English learners argue that the regulations are too loose, as they do not require educational outcomes or services to be directly linked to spending or specify how to quantify increases in services or achievement. The SBE reviewed the proposed regulations on November 6-7, 2013, and must adopt regulations at its meeting in January 2014. [The regulations themselves are available below as a supplemental reading.]

Aligning Systems for CCSS Implementation

Consortium for the Implementation of the Common Core State Standards. (2013). Leadership planning guide California: Common Core State Standards and assessments implementation. Sacramento, CA: California County Superintendents Educational Services Association. Available at http://www.scoe.net/castandards/multimedia/common_core_leadership_planning_guide.pdf

With input from two broad-based meetings of California stakeholders, the Consortium for the Implementation of the CCSS commissioned this leadership planning guide to help districts across the state implement the standards in a coherent and systematic way.  The focus of the guide is on district-level planning and action in ten key arenas: capacity building and leadership development, communication and stakeholder engagement, curriculum and instruction, alignment of instructional materials and electronic resources, professional development, student learning feedback systems, instructional assistance and support programs, technology support, alignment of fiscal and human resources, and student transitions to higher education and careers.  The guide provides a rationale for each domain, suggested implementations steps, and links to related resources both inside and outside California.

Fensterwald, J. (2013, October 25). Districts confirm they’re moving ahead with Common Core [Web log]. Available at http://www.edsource.org/today/2013/districts-confirm-theyre-moving-ahead-with-common-core/

This blog post shares key findings from a statewide survey of California school districts about CCSS implementation plans and activities. Nearly all surveyed districts report that they have a formal plan for implementing the CCSS, and three-quarters predict they will test students by computer when the new state assessments begin in 2014-15. Survey findings also reveal district adjustments to the new standards and to new resources from the state, including plans for high school mathematics course sequences and for allocating one-time state funding for CCSS implementation. Despite these internal activities, most districts report that they have not communicated with parents, community members, local media, and local businesses about the CCSS or the associated assessments. [More detailed results are available at https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/810000/ commcore-careadinesssurvey-countysupts102413.pdf.]

Kirst, M. (2013, March). The Common Core meets state policy: This changes almost everything. Stanford, CA: Policy Analysis for California Education. Available at http://www.edpolicyinca.org/sites/default/files/ PACE_Common%20Core_Final.pdf

This policy memorandum outlines the impact of the CCSS on key state education policy areas. The author argues that to successfully implement these standards—which articulate a new vision for teaching and learning in the 21st century—California must build capacity in its educational institutions and policies to help students meet the demands of the 21st century. He discusses how the state must re-think its policies and programs in areas such as assessment, accountability, finance, preschool, special education, and teacher preparation, professional development, and evaluation. In addition to aligning its K-12 educational policies with the CCSS, the author argues that California must harmonize policies between K-12 and post-secondary institutions to reflect the changing standards. 

Evers, M & Jordan, R. (2013, October 6). Resolution (F2013-2) to oppose and eliminate Common Core education policies in California. Anaheim, CA: California Republican Party. Available for members at this link.

Passed overwhelmingly at the California Republican Party state convention, this resolution calls on state legislators, the SBE, and local school board members to end the state’s implementation of the CCSS and the Next Generation Science Standards. The authors characterize the new standards as the adoption of a national curriculum. Furthermore, they argue that when accompanied by federally-funded tests, the standards oppose the American system of competitive federalism and represent a one-size-fits-all approach that waters down the academic expectations for California’s students.

No Author. (2013). Conceptual framework and options for the Local Control Funding Formula expenditure of funds regulations and Local Control Accountability Plan templates. Available at https://s3.amazonaws. com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/810300/lcff-regs-amp-templateguidelines102813.pdf

This document, reviewed by the SBE on November 6-7, 2013, contains proposed regulations for district use of supplemental and concentration funds allocated under the LCFF, as well as guiding principles and possible content for an LCAP template. Charged by the LCFF legislation with adopting the regulations by January 2014 and an LCAP template by March 2014, the SBE commissioned WestEd to produce these drafts based on stakeholder input. The proposed regulations allow districts three options to demonstrate an increase or improvement in services to high-needs students in proportion to the increase in funds they receive based on the number and concentration of those students.  These options—spending more on, providing more for, or raising outcomes of high-needs students in proportion to the increase in funds received on behalf of these students—are reflected in the proposed LCAP template.