By John Fensterwald
Sending a strong message endorsing the school accountability system adopted by the State Board of Education, Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have placed more emphasis on standardized test scores in measuring school and district performance.
In a message issued Saturday in vetoing Assembly Bill 2548, Brown credited the state board for creating a “thoughtful and integrated federal, state and local accountability system” after spending two years listening to public opinion. The board has adopted a process for annually reviewing and improving the system, he wrote, adding, “It is unnecessary and premature to impose additional requirements at this time.”
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, who authored the bill and is a former school board member, expressed disappointment with Brown’s veto. “My legislative colleagues and I are still convinced that we need to focus more on closing achievement gaps and making the information about school performance more accessible and usable for parents,” she said in a statement.
The new accountability system, which the state board adopted earlier this month, shifts from California’s near-total reliance on test scores to measure how well schools and districts are doing to one based on a half-dozen measures, including non-academic measures.
Under the new accountability system, test scores on math, English language arts and, eventually, science will be included as key indicators of performance. Others will be rates of high school graduation, student suspensions and chronic absenteeism; how effectively English learners have learned English; and how prepared students are for pursuing college and careers. Districts will receive assistance if ethnic, racial and other students subgroups performed poorly in one or more of the measures.
Districts will also be held accountable for creating their measures of parent engagement, school climate and the rollout of the state’s new academic standards.
Legislators laid out multiple measures of accountability three years ago in the Local Control Funding Formula. They reaffirmed that intent in overwhelmingly approving Weber’s bill.
Read the full article here.