State officials feel that ranking schools oversimplifies school success and hope the U.S. Department of Education eventually will allow for their more nuanced approach.
The governor-appointed board has fought with the state's elected superintendent of public instruction over who works for whom.
If the state loses the adequacy portion of the Gannon v. Kansas case, it could owe its schools close to $400 million more.
Michael Sentance, a strong backer of high academic standards, replaces Tommy Bice, who led the state through a contentious battle over charter schools and standards.
The National Conference of State Legislatures' report says, "Pockets of improvement in a few districts or states is not enough to retain our country's global competitiveness."
Lawmakers are weighing the idea of distributing funds based on how well school districts perform, which state educators warn would hurt poor and minority-heavy schools.
In the continuing fallout over widespread budget problems in Kansas, several conservative lawmakers opposed to increasing school funding lost their Republican primary races Tuesday.
Commissioner MaryEllen Elia asked the U.S. Department of Education for more flexibility in deciding how to treat schools where high numbers of students opt out of standardized tests.
The state's school board members are at odds with each other over what California's next school accountability system should include and how it should be displayed to the public.
More than 21 percent of the state's students in grades 3-8 opted out of this year's exams, according to the state education department.