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California’s public schools, once considered to be among the nation’s best, are now being questioned as to their condition, performance, and ability to meet the needs of the state’s diverse student population. This report describes the condition and performance of California’s K-12 public schools. It describes the schools’ student population, the resources provided to the schools (finances, teachers, and facilities), and the schools’ outcomes. In looking at the outcomes, it first focuses on student academic achievement, as measured by standardized tests, and then turns to outcomes that schools may influence and that are inadequately captured in test scores. These include both educational attainment measures (high school graduation and continuation on to college) and nonacademic measures (teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, and delinquency). The report analyzes trends within the state and compares California to other states and to the nation as a whole.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Background, Scope, and Organization

  • Chapter Two

    Demographic Overview of California’s K&–12 Public School Student Population

  • Chapter Three

    California’s K–12 Public School Finances

  • Chapter Four

    California’s K–12 Public School Teachers

  • Chapter Five

    California’s K–12 Public School Facilities

  • Chapter Six

    California’s K–12 Public School Student Academic Achievement

  • Chapter Seven

    Other Indicators of Student Progress

  • Chapter Eight

    Summary and Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    Additional California Test Score Data and Analyses

  • Appendix B

    Data and Methods Used to Describe Nonacademic Indicators

The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Education for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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