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OVERVIEW OF QEIA

In 1988, California voters approved Proposition 98, which guaranteed a minimum amount of state and property tax revenue for K-14 education each year. In 2004/05, the state suspended the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee, resulting in a loss of $3.2 billion to schools. CTA and the Superintendent of Public Instruction sued the Governor in August 2005, and in May 2006, the Governor settled with CTA. QEIA is the result of the settlement and was signed into legislation in September 2006 (SB 1133).

QEIA was designed to provide nearly $3 billion over eight years (beginning in 2007/08) to 488 low performing schools in the bottom two deciles3. Schools had the option for funding in the Regular Program or the Alternative Application.

The accountability requirements for the Regular Program include:

Class Size Reduction

Schools are required to implement class size reduction (CSR) by grades, as follows:

  1. For K-3, no more than 20:1 per class;
  2. For self-contained classrooms in grades 4 to 8, maintain the lesser of either a grade-level CSR ratio of 25:1 (no one class to exceed 27 pupils), or have classroom averages of at least five pupils fewer per classroom than the average in 2006/07;
  3. For subject specific classrooms (English language arts, reading, math, science, and history/social studies) in grades 4 to 12, maintain the lesser of either a grade-level CSR ratio of 25:1 (no one class to exceed 27 pupils), or have grade-level averages of at least five pupils fewer per classroom than the average in 2006/07.

Counselor Ratios

High schools must maintain a student-to-counselor ratio of 300:1.

Professional Development

Schools are required to provide high quality professional development (i.e., similar in quality and rigor to training provided under AB 466/SB 472) to at least one-third of teachers and instructional paraprofessionals annually. Teachers at QEIA schools shall participate in 40 hours, on average, of professional development annually.

Professional development for teachers of self-contained classes shall include content in mathematics, science, English language arts, reading, and English language development. Professional Development for teachers in departmentalized classes shall include the specific content area and English language development.

Professional development should be developed in a collaborative process with interested parties and articulated in an improvement plan. Professional Development activities may include:

  1. Collaboration time to develop lessons or analyze student data;
  2. Mentoring projects for new teachers;
  3. Support for teachers to improve practice.

Teacher Experience

District must maintain an average teacher experience index at each school equal to, or higher than, the district average for similar grade span schools.

Highly Qualified Teachers

Each teacher and intern must be highly qualified in accordance with the 2001 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

API Growth

After the first three years of full funding, Regular Program schools must exceed the API growth target for the school averaged over the first three full years of funding. In subsequent years, Regular Program schools must at least meet the growth target each year. If the school fails to meet its annual growth target, the school shall continue to receive funding, but shall be subject to state review and assistance.

The Williams Act

Williams was a lawsuit filed on behalf of low-income students concerning unequal access to education due to the failure of some schools in meeting the minimum requirements for providing education as defined by the California Constitution. The settlement requires the state to ensure that all California public school students have access to qualified teachers, state-approved instructional materials, as well as safe and well-maintained school facilities regardless of local conditions. QEIA schools must meet all requirements of the Williams settlement.

Exemplary Administrators

Each school administrator in a funded school must be confirmed to have exemplary qualifications and experience by the end of the first full year of funding. School districts are also required to provide for high quality professional development (i.e., similar in quality and rigor to the Administrator Training Program) for each administrator through:

  1. Leadership training;
  2. Coaching;
  3. Mentoring.

The Alternative Application (25 high schools only) enabled schools to craft their own local responses to school reform and determine their own goals, implementation activities, and benchmarks for success.

After the first three years of funding, like Regular Program schools, Alternative Application schools must exceed the API growth target for the school averaged over the first three full years of funding. In subsequent years, Alternative Application schools must exceed the growth target each year. If the school fails to exceed its annual growth target, QEIA funding for the school will be terminated.

Each year of K-12 implementation (beginning in 2008/09), QEIA schools received $500 per K-3 pupil, $900 per student in grades 4-8, and $1000 per student in grades 9-12. For the 2007/08 school year, schools received two-thirds of this amount to assist them in planning and preparing for program implementation by conducting needs assessments, revising school site plans for improvement, acquiring the necessary facilities for class size reduction, and recruiting staff. After the planning year, QEIA schools had three years to incrementally implement the program and were required to substantially meet one-third of accountability requirements during 2008/09 (Year 2), another one-third in 2009/10 (Year 3), and all of their requirements in 2010/11 (Year 4). In the subsequent years of implementation (Years 5-8), schools are expected to maintain the targets.

Figure 1 above provides an overview of the QEIA implementation time line.

PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS

488 schools were originally funded to participate in QEIA. In 2008/09, the State Board of Education (SBE) also received and approved waiver requests from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) that affected the number of funded QEIA schools. The Local Education Agency (LEA) opened several new schools in the same service area as participating QEIA schools and argued that a large number of the students transferring to the newly opened schools were students served by existing QEIA schools; hence, those students should continue to receive the same benefits of QEIA participation should they transfer. LAUSD also reorganized one of their funded schools into five smaller schools and argued that the student population served at those smaller schools should continue to receive the same benefits they did when they were at the larger school. These approved waiver requests resulted in the addition of 21 funded schools (509 total QEIA schools).

During the first five years of the program, five schools withdrew and 13 schools were closed. Ninety-six schools were exited from the program because they did not meet program requirements, bringing the current number of QEIA schools to 396 (16 Alternative Application schools; 380 Regular Program schools.)

The original QEIA schools represented 137 school districts throughout the state; 21% of schools that have received QEIA funding are in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Throughout the first four years of the reform, QEIA schools served approximately 400,000 students; the majority of students served were Latino/Hispanic (78%). About 90% of students qualified for free and/or reduced lunch. Half of the students in QEIA elementary schools were English learners; about one-third and one-quarter of students in middle and high schools were English learners, respectively.

ACCOUNTABILITY REQUIREMENTS

Beginning with the first year of implementation (Year 2: 2008/09) county offices of education were responsible for monitoring the implementation of QEIA in participating schools; no formal monitoring of planning efforts occurred during 2007/08.

REGULAR PROGRAM SCHOOLS

In Year 2 (2008/09) and Year 3 (2009/10), each Regular Program QEIA school was monitored on 5 criteria (class size reduction, teacher experience index, highly qualified teachers, professional development, and the Williams settlement requirements) to determine if schools substantially met program requirements (one-third of requirements in Year 1; two-thirds of requirements in Year 2). The counselor-to-student ratio of Regular Program high schools was also monitored. Any school that did not meet the program requirements was provided one year to remedy the issue before being terminated.

According to County reports, all but 5 of the 462 Regular Program schools that were monitored met the interim monitoring requirements for Year 2 (2008/09) (99%). In Year 3 (2009/10), 437 out of the 469 Regular Program schools that were monitored substantially met requirements (93%). No Regular Program schools were terminated for lack of progress from Year 2 to Year 3.

In Year 4 (2010/11), schools were expected to have fully implemented QEIA and meet all accountability requirements. An additional requirement was added to the criteria for 2010/11: schools were required to exceed their 3-year average API growth target. Based on monitoring results from 2010/11, 87 of the 467 Regular Program schools were terminated from the program (19%). The most common monitoring requirements that schools failed to meet were API (77% of schools terminated) and class size reduction (38% of schools terminated).

In Year 5, as of March 2013, 225 of the 380 (59%) remaining Regular Program schools fully met the program requirements. The most common requirements that schools struggled with were API and class size reduction. Of the 150 schools that did not meet requirements, 88% did not meet API targets, and 24% did not meet class size requirements. The results for five schools had not been released at the time this report was written.

It is important to note that districts, on behalf of schools, can submit applications to the State Board of Education (SBE) requesting that all or part of any requirement be waived. As of March 2013, 169 waivers from requirements had been approved for 132 Regular Program schools (28% of the 467 schools funded in 2010). A majority of waivers granted were for the class size reduction requirement (See Table 4).

TABLE 4 WAIVERS APPROVED

REQUIREMENT WAIVERS APPROVED PERCENT
Class Size Reduction 123 73%
Highly Qualified Teachers 12 7%
Teacher Experience Index 27 16%
Williams Act 6 4%
Total 169 100%

Table 3 above provides an overview of the monitoring results, released by County Offices, from each program year and for each requirement.

ALTERNATIVE APPLICATION SCHOOLS

In Year 2 of implementation, 16 of the 25 Alternative Application schools (64%) met their determined goals; one school’s monitoring decision was deferred until 2009/10 by the County Superintendent. Five schools were terminated from the program due to lack of progress in 2008/09 and 2009/10. Of the remaining 20 Alternative Application schools in Year 3, 19 substantially met their targets (95%). In Year 4, 16 of the 20 remaining Alternative Application schools were determined to have met their goals (80%); four schools were terminated from the program. In Year 5, half of the remaining 16 met their program targets (N=8).

TABLE 3 ACCOUNTABILITY REQUIREMENTS AND MONITORING RESULTS

YEAR 2

YEAR 3

YEAR 4

YEAR 5

REQUIREMENT

% meeting 1/3 of requirements

% meeting 1/3 of requirements

% with full implementation

% maintaining implementation

N=462

N=469

N=467

N=380

Class Size Reduction

99%

93%

86%

91%

Highly Qualified Teachers

100%

99%

97%

97%

Teacher Experience Index

100%

100%

96%

99%

Professional

100%

99%

100%

99%

Counselor Ratios

100%

100%

97%

100%

API Growth

Not monitored until 2010

85%

65%

Williams Act

100%

100%

99%

97%

Exemplary Administrators

No formal monitoring


3 QEIA also provides funding to community colleges for career technical education and high school transition programs.

Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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