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The Solution

What Every California Child Deserves: A Just School

Every child in California has a right to an education that provides a meaningful opportunity to graduate from high school qualified to enter a four-year state university, to learn the skills essential to obtaining a good job, and to actively participate in civic life. In order to fulfill the fundamental rights of California children to a decent education, as well as to protect the economic and social future of the state, Californians must reform the system of public education to include:

1. Clear Standards
Clear expectations for what every child should be expected to learn and be able to do. These expectations are now contained in the state's content and performance standards.

2. Opportunities to Learn (OTL)
English PDF (149 KB)
Spanish PDF ( 145 KB)
OTL is a way of measuring whether students and teachers have access to the necessary resources and conditions for teaching and learning. These opportunity to learn standards specify clear expectations regarding the resources and conditions that are minimally required to achieving the state content and performance standards. OTL standards can also help students, parents, communities and school officials discover and correct problems in schools. These opportunities to learn must address at least the following essential components of an adequate education:

3. Equitable and Adequate Funding
English PDF (138 KB)
Spanish PDF (145 KB)
A school funding system based on the actual cost of providing essential resources and conditions, with adjustments for cost differences in schools serving different communities and students.

4. Reciprocal Accountability
English PDF (395 KB)
Spanish PDF (396 KB)
A comprehensive, statewide accounting of school resources, conditions, and learning opportunities, to go along with measures of student achievement. Rather than judging students (and schools) by test scores alone, students’ learning should be linked to what they had a chance to learn—what their teachers taught, and under what conditions their learning took place. A democratic accountability system would also include new strategies to engage parents, students, and community members in assessing the success of schools in their own communities. These strategies would include locally-generated research on school conditions, with a focus on improving educational quality and equality. With community input, a system could be developed to assist policymakers at the local and state levels to use both local and state-level research to make important policy decisions and to ensure an ongoing quality education system in California for generations to come.