By Len Feldman
A newly signed CTA-supported measure will help California qualify for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal education funding and provide a more accurate way of measuring student performance over time.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's signing of Assembly Bill 1130 by Assembly Member Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) clears the way for California's preparations to meet the student data tracking requirements of the Obama administration's education agenda. The data elements are mandated in federal legislation, the America Competes Act.
AB 1130 revises the school accountability system to include a growth measurement element in the academic performance index (API).
The measure seeks to guide education officials as they begin to expand the state API beyond its current scope, which relies heavily on student achievement test scores as the basis for comparison. AB 1130 would direct state education leaders to implement methods that would track groups of students over time.
An important finding of the legislation is the importance of transparency in the process. It also requires recommendations for changes offered by state panels to be brought back to the Legislature. Specifically, the bill requires the state superintendent of public instruction's Public School Advisory Committee to include in its deliberations measurement systems used by other states, and it brings the committee's recommendations back to legislative education and appropriations committees.
While the governor signed AB 1130, he vetoed a CTA-backed companion measure, AB 429 by Assembly Member Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica).
AB 429 would have helped schools track the year-to-year performance of individual students, as well as the overall performance of all students as a group.