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Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

The state’s superintendent announced today the formation of a new task force to help overhaul California’s accountability system, along with a new plan to guide public schools.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled the Blueprint for Great Schools 2.0, a 20-page document that outlines plans for everything from early education and English learners to funding and teacher preparation.

This is the second blueprint for second-term Torlakson, who released his original plan in 2011 shortly after his first election.

The task force comes at a time when the state’s accountability system is changing.

At the time of the last blueprint, students were still taking the paper-and-pencil California Standards Tests, the basis for the three-digit Academic Performance Index, or API, assigned to every school that is now suspended. This past spring, students took for the first time the Smarter Balanced Assessments, which measures their learning based on Common Core standards. The results are expected next month.

The task force is expected to come up with a recommendation for a new accountability system based on multiple measures, including the new assessments.

Torlakson said he expects to present a plan to the State Board of Education within the next 12 to 14 months. The new plan will be more like a dashboard with measures, such as dropout, graduation and absence rates.

“We’re going away from the era where two test scores were like the obsession of school districts and principals and teachers, just to concentrate on their math and language arts test scores,” Torlakson said. “We want a broader definition of success.”

The blueprint has five focus areas for the next four years: California standards; teaching and leading excellence; student success; continuous improvement and accountability systems; and “systems change and supports for strategic priorities.”

It addresses some of the major changes in education since 2011. At the time, schools were reeling from the budget cuts tied to the recession, when about 30,000 teachers were laid off.

This year’s budget, however, contains record money for education, yet schools are facing an emerging teacher shortage. The blueprint calls for addressing the impending teacher and principal shortage by figuring out the causes and building up the “pipeline” into the profession.

The first blueprint alluded to an idea of a funding system to address students’ needs, which now has turned into the Local Control Funding Formula. Schools now must develop Local Control and Accountability Plans to show how they are using money to improve achievement for students. The blueprint calls for more support and parent involvement as schools develop their plans.

Torlakson said he also wants to emphasize future standards in science and social studies, as well as career preparation.

The co-chairs of the task force are Eric Heins, president of the California Teachers Association, and Wes Smith, executive director of the Association of California School Administrators. The other members have yet to be named.

Correction: A previous version of this story had the incorrect name of Smith’s association. 


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  1. Dr Caterina Di Tillio 1 year ago1 year ago

    Sounds a lot like the work we are doing in NYC

  2. Parent 1 year ago1 year ago

    The document is a bunch of feel good talking points about what might happen five years from now.

    It is not a blueprint. A blueprint tells you how to build or accomplish something.

  3. Bonnie Koons 1 year ago1 year ago

    If you want to know why there is a teaching shortage or why teachers are burned out or leaving the profession ask teachers! Or ask me. I'm on 36 years of teaching and hoping to retire next year. The last few years have been some of the hardest teaching years of my life. I don't retire because I have lost the love of teaching, I retire because of all the huge and impossible mandates that … Read More

    If you want to know why there is a teaching shortage or why teachers are burned out or leaving the profession ask teachers! Or ask me. I’m on 36 years of teaching and hoping to retire next year. The last few years have been some of the hardest teaching years of my life. I don’t retire because I have lost the love of teaching, I retire because of all the huge and impossible mandates that we have been asked to meet. I will retire because I can’t be the teacher that I want to be. I am no longer a teacher who is allowed to use her creativity, but a worker bee bringing about a number that is attached to children. I will retire because my heart breaks now as I watch children at such a young age start hating education. I will retire because I can’t handle watching my fellow teachers struggle on a daily basis with the insurmountable stress that is attached to our job. I will retire because my husband says my life is no longer my own. That I am now 95% my job and the rest exhaustion. I could go on 🙂 Yes, ask a teacher. Therein lies the answers.

    Replies

    • Parent News Opinion 1 year ago1 year ago

      Ms. Koons, Could you ask Mr. Torlakson if you can be on the Blueprint For New Schools Task Force. It is a way you can really make a difference and I have asked that the big wigs so to speak, invite more teachers on the task force and more parents. I have asked that the teachers not be administrators who were once teachers, but real, in the trenches, so to speak, teachers, and I … Read More

      Ms. Koons,

      Could you ask Mr. Torlakson if you can be on the Blueprint For New Schools Task Force. It is a way you can really make a difference and I have asked that the big wigs so to speak, invite more teachers on the task force and more parents. I have asked that the teachers not be administrators who were once teachers, but real, in the trenches, so to speak, teachers, and I asked on this EdSource website that the blueprint task force be done with Skype so you will not have to drive.

      3 teachers from K-3

      3 teachers from 4-6

      3 teachers from 7-8

      3 teachers from high school

      and

      5 parents.

      The C.D.E. task forces need to be set up like a school site council with a new ed code.

      One of the reasons you are so upset and frustrated is you have little or no buy in as to what is going on around you.

      • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

        PNO, why would Torlakson, who is partly responsible for these mandates, put Bonnie on the task force? So she can criticize him? Not bloody likely! ..the fantasy world of Parent News Opinion. And can you please stop associating yourself with the opinions of parents. Why can’t you just speak for yourself?

  4. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    Yes, we need a task force of teachers and other education insiders to have new and novel ideas.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

      Read any plan carefully, the plan now will be fundamentally the same as the plan from 30, 20 or 10 years ago or 10 years from now, until we do something about it. We keep trying the same thing. It would be great if they really wanted results, but they just want to pretend to be trying something new while actually trying the same thing. Isn't that the definition of insanity? But … Read More

      Read any plan carefully, the plan now will be fundamentally the same as the plan from 30, 20 or 10 years ago or 10 years from now, until we do something about it. We keep trying the same thing. It would be great if they really wanted results, but they just want to pretend to be trying something new while actually trying the same thing. Isn’t that the definition of insanity? But in an insane world, those who point out the obvious are treated as insane, and those who wish to repeat past failures while claiming to be groundbreaking radical progressives fighting for change are treated as sane. It’s a world gone mad.

  5. Parent News Opinion 1 year ago1 year ago

    And another thing. I see the question on the blueprint cover page with a math inquiry. It is asked, "USE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MULTIPLICATION AND DIVISION TO EXPLAIN THAT (2/3) DIVIDED BY (3/4) IS EQUAL TO (8/9) can anyone out there explain the math here? I would go about it like this. 2/3 is equal to .66.66 3/4 is equal to .75 so .67 divided by .75 equals .89 which is not 8/9ths. any math people out there wish to take a … Read More

    And another thing. I see the question on the blueprint cover page with a math inquiry.

    It is asked, “USE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MULTIPLICATION AND DIVISION TO EXPLAIN THAT (2/3) DIVIDED BY (3/4) IS EQUAL TO (8/9)

    can anyone out there explain the math here?

    I would go about it like this.

    2/3 is equal to .66.66

    3/4 is equal to .75

    so

    .67 divided by .75 equals .89

    which is not 8/9ths.

    any math people out there wish to take a stab at answering the 2015 teaching blueprint math formulia

    also, is this kind of math question suppose to in some way intimidate parents and other stakeholders from asking
    kind pertinent questions as to if math is truly regressing for the majority of children in the State of California since the roll out of common core teaching (sort of teaching) practices in years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.

    Mr. Torlakson, can you do the math?, or any member of the State Board of Education, for you are the people we as parents place our trust in, but maybe that trust is corroding.

    Still, I would like some math generous to explain the math problem on the cover of this 2015 C.D.E. blueprint.

    Parent Opinion News

    Replies

    • mk 1 year ago1 year ago

      This isn’t correct because you are rounding 2/3 to .67 which isn’t accurate.

      If you take your calculator and plug in (2/3) / (3/4 ) in decimal form you get 0.88888888888888888888888888888889 which is 8/9. You can also do it in fraction form which would be my suggestion:

      (2/3) / (3/4) = 2/3 * 4/3 = 8/9

  6. Joel Higgins 1 year ago1 year ago

    We don't know yet what's in the 20-page Blueprint, but I am already concerned about the part which suggests that standardized tests (assessments) will factor in a teacher's evaluation. The American Statistical Association has stated that standardized test scores "do not directly measure potential teacher contributions toward other student outcomes" and that they "typically measure correlation, not causation: Effects – positive or negative – attributed to a teacher may actually be caused by other factors … Read More

    We don’t know yet what’s in the 20-page Blueprint, but I am already concerned about the part which suggests that standardized tests (assessments) will factor in a teacher’s evaluation. The American Statistical Association has stated that standardized test scores “do not directly measure potential teacher contributions toward other student outcomes” and that they “typically measure correlation, not causation: Effects – positive or negative – attributed to a teacher may actually be caused by other factors that are not captured in the model.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/04/13/statisticians-slam-popular-teacher-evaluation-method/

    Think of the sheer number of reasons a student could do poorly on an exam. Lack of sleep? No breakfast? Fight with significant other? Fight with family? Chaotic home life? On drugs? Sick? Didn’t study all year? Absent a lot? Learning difference? Cognitive impairment? Emotional disturbance? Homeless? Can’t study because of child care issues? The list really does go on and on and on.Teachers cannot be held responsible for any of these reasons, and yet they could easily factor into any student’s performance on a standardized test.

    There are better ways to evaluate teachers, but they require time, money, and commitment from school districts. The focus needs to be put on training administrators to properly evaluate teachers, and into giving them time to do so. The system works when it’s properly funded, and talented administrators are recruited, trained, and given the time and tools to do the evaluations.

    Replies

    • Parent News Opinion 1 year ago1 year ago

      Response to Joel, You can read the 20 page blueprint for California Schools, by clicking on the blue area of the article - second paragraph-. I think testing can be used to judge teacher effectiveness to say a %, say 25%. What you say about that. Also, what is important is that parents be asked what they want. Too often, in my opinion, the big wigs in education have lunch and high … Read More

      Response to Joel,

      You can read the 20 page blueprint for California Schools, by clicking on the blue area of the article – second paragraph-. I think testing can be used to judge teacher effectiveness to say a %, say 25%. What you say about that. Also, what is important is that parents be asked what they want. Too often, in my opinion, the big wigs in education have lunch and high priced travel expenses to meet and greet and there are no parents involved in the decision making who have no income coming from the educational group, what I mean is, parents who work in the private sector and just want to be a part of the decision making. This is why I am beginning to wonder why the Parent Teacher Association called the P.T.A. was not involved or documented as being involved in the blueprint on the last pages. This is a big oversight by Mr. Torlakson and his advisors, and let us get a P.T.A. representative in all meetings to listen and present parent input well.

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      Joel:

      I look the 2.0 report over and can find no references to using standardized test scores in teachers’ evaluations. Can you give me a page number on that?

    • Linda 1 year ago1 year ago

      Thank you for your fabulous reply. It is so true, yet no one listens. They should all be flunked! Instead they want to use their faulty methods to fail children, students, and schools! Please keep repeating your message until perhaps they hear and/ or understand, whichever their learning disability is.

  7. Richard Skibins 1 year ago1 year ago

    If California wants to fix its teacher shortage problem, then they must strengthen tenure protections, overturn the Vergera ruling, end the war on teachers, and allow teachers to pay into and collect Social Security.

  8. Parent News Opinion 1 year ago1 year ago

    Read it and I do not see the involvement of the P.T.A. It seems that parents, just those who do not work for any schools, parents who take their free time to voice opinions, have been left out of the blueprint oversight report, and parents want testing, good "assessments," and clear knowledge for each report card period, on how their son or daughter has mastered all mandated common core standards, and testing is a … Read More

    Read it and I do not see the involvement of the P.T.A. It seems that parents, just those who do not work for any schools, parents who take their free time to voice opinions, have been left out of the blueprint oversight report, and parents want testing, good “assessments,” and clear knowledge for each report card period, on how their son or daughter has mastered all mandated common core standards, and testing is a necessary tool to ensure accountability of mastery of subjects, and all colleges will continue to demand testing in the future.

    Replies

    • Sarah Tully 1 year ago1 year ago

      I just went back to look at the list of participants to see if I missed something. Paul Richman, California State Parent Teachers Association, is listed on page 14 as a Planning Team Member. Thanks for reading! Sarah Tully

      • Parent News Opinion 1 year ago1 year ago

        Ok, Reporter, Ms Tully, I am in error and I appreciate your follow-up in pointing out that Mr Paul,Richmond represented all parent input with regard to,the P.T.A. I will contact,him and ask,that my parent concerns are considered. I hope the P.T.A. truly is representing the many concerns of parents. In reading Mr. Richma background, I see he served 10 years as leader,for,the state board of,directors,not sure if that ism good,or not. What I want to,see is,the … Read More

        Ok, Reporter, Ms Tully, I am in error and I appreciate your follow-up in pointing out that Mr Paul,Richmond represented all parent input with regard to,the P.T.A.

        I will contact,him and ask,that my parent concerns are considered.

        I hope the P.T.A. truly is representing the many concerns of parents. In reading Mr. Richma background, I see he served 10 years as leader,for,the state board of,directors,not sure if that ism good,or not.

        What I want to,see is,the P.T.A. Use PARENT VOICE POWER in that it seems to me there is a political and ol boy an ol girl network, that may be taking place with regard to educational reform.

        On a school site council , the teachers,must make up the majoritymofmthe decision making power with parents making up the next majority of power…

        So, I waned to see more parent input into the 20 page blueprint, for, I believe testing needs to be a part of the new blueprint.

        I hope Mr. Richman has adequately reached out to voice the many many concernes parents and studentsmhave for,the past two years faced with radical group project based learning grading, and less tests, and a new kind of hippy math, and confused teachers and administrators, who are maybe afraid,to,speak,out due,to,a,possible belief that The Emperour may not be wearing any clothes.

        • Parent News Opinion 1 year ago1 year ago

          A point I may have not expressed strongly,enough,is... Too often high paid bureaucrats or imbedded school district leaders and or , in my opinion , imbedded, burecratic state leaders seem to not listen and value parent and teacher input. For example, the new common core,standards , I have read,we're not designed with much if any teacher input, sort of,a back room kind of secret thing in my opinion. So, as,I look,at,all the 20 page Tom Torlakson c.d.e. blueprint … Read More

          A point I may have not expressed strongly,enough,is…

          Too often high paid bureaucrats or imbedded school district leaders and or , in my opinion , imbedded, burecratic state leaders seem to not listen and value parent and teacher input.

          For example, the new common core,standards , I have read,we’re not designed with much if any teacher input, sort of,a back room kind of secret thing in my opinion.

          So, as,I look,at,all the 20 page Tom Torlakson c.d.e. blueprint for education.

          Shouldn’t there have been some parents, just parentsmwithou,burecratic public Ed,backgrounds, just middle of the,road,parents from,some school site councils, asked,to be on the list of participants,

          AS IS MANDATORY WITH ALL SCHOOL SITE COUNCILS

          And shouldn’t there have been two,teachers , just middle of the road,currently working teachers from as,follows

          TWO OR THREE TEACHERS CURRENTLY TEACHING IN KINDERGARTEN TOMTHIRD GRADE?

          TWO OR THREE TEACHERS CURRENTLY TEACHING IN FORTH GRADE TO SIXTH GRADE

          TWO OR MORE TEACHERS CURRENTLY WORKING AS TEACHERS FROM MIDDLE SCHOOLS

          AND

          TWO OR MORE TEACHERS CURRENTLY WORKING AS HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS

          And by,Skype all attend conferences for blueprint reports.

          Seems like,not though honoring of parent and teacher voice in current report and instead a,big,big experiment in the dark using a,north,star, when the teachers,and,parents could bring to,the meetings,a,G.P.S.

          And I am,sick,of bigmwigmuniversity,specialists,pontificating big words,in the experimentation,of high risk teaching practices, that,seem,not to be too good due to a lack,of teacher,prep,time, so the big wig university,pedagogy zealots ,may indeed gain guidence by

          MANDATING ALL C.D.E. BLUEPRINT MEETINGS BE MODELED AS SCHOOL SITE COUNCILS ARE SET UP WITH ED CODE.

          Otherwise buy in may not occur and children maymregressmin learning.

          Parent Opinion News

          Also, I hope,the PTA,rep attended the meetings and voiced,parent,concerns, if,he,is,leaving the,PTA,I am notmsure,any parent input,was,offered when the blueprint group,looked,up,at,the,stars to,set,their course of,direction.

      • Paula Campbell 1 year ago1 year ago

        Sarah,
        I’m sorry that I can’t find the list of participants on the task force so would like to ask if the list includes school board members. As a trustee, I am thinking it would be good to have that perspective. I also have read that Paul Richman is leaving the state PTA but hope that he would continue to serve on this task force. Thanks.

          • Paula Campbell 1 year ago1 year ago

            Thanks! Actually, I was looking for the members of the accountability task force but now see in your article that the remaining members have not been selected. paula

        • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

          Paula:

          Yes. A representative of CA School Boards Assoc. was a member.

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