California has made a series of major shifts in public education with one goal: to improve learning so every student can be successful in school, college, work, and life. Using more than just a single number or test score, the state’s new accountability system aims to confront the gaps for student groups that can be hidden within student averages. The Statewide System of Support identifies Differentiated Assistance as an opportunity provided to eligible local education agencies (LEAs) that have been shown in the California School Dashboard to need attention in two or more Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) priority areas for a student group.
The priorities are represented with indicators on the Dashboard. The state’s priorities for education include pupil achievement (math and English test scores, English learner progress); school climate (suspension rates); and pupil engagement (graduation rates, chronic absenteeism).
Eligibility Criteria for Differentiated Assistance
State law required the SBE to adopt “evaluation rubrics” (which have been implemented as the Dashboard). One purpose of the evaluation rubrics is to determine whether LEAs are in need of additional assistance:
- COEs must offer differentiated assistance to a school district if any student group meets the criteria for two or more LCFF priorities. California Education Code (EC) Section 52071(c)
- The CDE must offer differentiated assistance to a COE if any student group meets the criteria for two or more LCFF priorities. EC Section 52071.5(b)
- As the accountability system moves forward, the SSPI, with approval of the SBE, may intervene in a school district or COE if three or more student groups (or all the student groups if there are less than three) meet the criteria for two or more LCFF priorities in three out of four consecutive years. EC sections 52072 and 52072.5.
- Charter school authorizers must offer differentiated assistance to a charter school and may refer the charter school to the CCEE if three or more student groups (or all the student groups if there are less than three student groups) meet the criteria for one or more state or school priorities identified in the charter for three out of four consecutive school years. EC Section 47607.3.
How MCOE Assists Districts in Meeting Standards to Be Released from Differentiated Assistance (Process)