A new report card grading the well-being of California’s children concludes the state has a long way to go if it wants to earn an “A.”
The advocacy group Children Now has released the “2014 California Children’s Report Card: How Kids are Doing in Our State and What Needs to Be Done About It,” which grades the state on 27 indicators. The grades are based around issues related to education, health and child welfare.
The majority of the state’s public school students are Latino.
Among the different grades assigned in the education section:
— The report gives the state a “C+” on preschool. It reports that 39 percent of Latino 3- and 4-year olds are enrolled in preschool, and recommends that the state provide access to high-quality preschool programs to all children. It finds that California lags other states in inspections of its preschool programs.
— The state receives a “B-” on transition to and readiness for kindergarten programs. The report recommends stronger ties between preschool and kindergarten programs that include aligning curriculum and joint professional development. It recommends a state kindergarten readiness assessment to better inform educators, policymakers, teachers and parents.
– The report assigns the state a “D” for K-12 investments, concluding that California schools are “chronically underfunded.” The report acknowledges progress is being made, as the 2013-14 budget will allow for a $2.8 billion or 5 percent increase in year over year funding.
– The report awards a “B-” on school finance reform, in reference to the state’s new local control funding formula (LCFF) that is intended to provide more equitable funding for students. The school funding reform change will provide more funding for English Language Learners, low-income and foster children.
– The study gives the state a “B-” on the state’s implementation of the Common Core State Standards.
– The state is given a “D+” on its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs. The report points out that only 67 percent of the state’s eighth graders met state science standards in 2013, including 56 percent of Latino students.
– The state is given a “D” on teacher training and evaluation. It recommends that the state update its standards on awarding teaching credentials and establish stronger evaluation systems.
– “2014 California Children’s Report Card,” Children Now.
– “No More Excuses: As California rebounds, invest in kids,” EdSource.
– “Well-Being of California Children Lags, According to New Study,” Contra Costa Times.