News Update

District LCAPs lack detailed goals for English learners, report says

School districts continue to lack detailed plans for how they will improve education for English learners, according to a new report from Californians Together and the Center for Equity for English Learners at Loyola Marymount University.

The report is based on an analysis of the Local Control Accountability Plans for 2021-24 from 26 public school districts that serve either high percentages or high numbers of English learners. The analysis was conducted by a team of educators, researchers and advocates from across the state, and is the fourth published by Californians Together. The group also analyzed LCAPS in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

“These findings reveal that nine years into Local Control Funding Formula, seven years of LCAP implementation, and two years after the exacerbation of systemic inequities by the devastating effects of the pandemic, the search for equity continues to mirror the search for “a needle in a haystack,” stated Magaly Lavadenz, one of the authors of the report, in a news release.

The report finds that many districts did not go into detail about how they would serve English learners. Many did mention subgroups of English learners, such as long-term English learners and newcomer students, but did not describe in detail how they would serve these subgroups differently.

In addition, the analysis found that most districts did not set goals to close achievement gaps for English learners. For example, districts set out goals to decrease the high school dropout rate by the same percentage for all students, despite the fact that English learners drop out at a much higher rate than all students.

The lack of a systematic approach to professional development for teachers of English learners was also a key finding of the report.

The authors recommend that the state begin to require districts to identify differentiated goals for English learners and other groups, to close achievement gaps. In addition, they recommend that county offices of education make sure staff with expertise in English learners review district LCAPs and closely monitor districts’ goals.