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Pushing Deadline, California Debates New Accountability System

EdSource, a California online education news outlet, published a thorough explainer last week on the tensions bubbling over in California regarding the state's school accountability system.  

The state's legislature has given the board until Oct. 1 to decide on a new statewide report card that will include plenty more indicators. The board is set to vote on it at its September board meeting, though many in the state feel there are too many changes to be made before then.  

At issue is what indicators the new state report card should include and how those indicators should be displayed on the report card.  At the July board meeting, more than 100 people argued about the new accountability system. Since the board meeting, others have opined about the new report card, including the L.A. Times editorial board, which told the state department to go back to the drawing board.  

The new system is color-coded and includes up to eight indicators currently, including school suspension, college and career readiness, and absenteeism.  

It's a far cry from the system the state has operated under for the last several years, which was heavily based on test scores and which ranked schools. 

Several advocates and parents in the state have argued that the new system has too many indicators, is too hard to understand, and lets low-performing districts off too easily. Others fear that it won't comply with ESSA, which requires states to both identify the bottom 5 percent of schools and come up with a summative score. 

Meanwhile, a group of six state districts known as the CORE districts, which got a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education from the NCLB law to design their own accountability system, will ask the state to continue working with that system next year, according to EdSource

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