Despite budget cuts, test scores are up in the state's lowest performing schools over the past three years. And the jump was even higher in low-performing schools who, under a new state program, received extra money to hire instructors and improve teacher training.
Results from the program (established in 2006 as part of the settlement of a lawsuit over state school funding) show that low-performing schools in the program saw greater increases in their Academic Performance Index scores than low-performing schools that weren't part of the program. This is particularly impressive given overall budget cuts to education during this period.
The California Teachers Assn., the biggest backer of this program, is touting the results. What's less clear is what worked: was it the additional money for hiring, or the resulting reduction of class size, or the greater emphasis on teacher training? Or something else?