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Education Inadequacy, Inequality, and Failed State Policy: A Synthesis of Expert Reports Prepared for Williams v. State of California

  • Author(s): Oakes, Jeannie
  • et al.
Abstract

This report synthesizes the findings of a set of expert reports analyzing the plaintiffs’ claims in Williams v. State of California, and it presents the implications of those reports for changes in state policy and practice. It examines California students’ access to three basic requirements for educational quality and opportunity: qualified teachers; adequate textbooks and other relevant instructional materials; and clean, safe, and educationally appropriate facilities. It reviews the role of these resources and conditions in providing or limiting access to students’ opportunities for achievement, and, more specifically, it places the availability of these basic requirements in the context of California’s current standards-based education policies. This report considers both the overall availability of these essential conditions to California students and patterns in their distribution among schools serving different student groups. This synthesis also supplements the material in the expert reports with information from documents produced by the California Department of Education (CDE) and other State agencies, information generated by California schools and districts, and reports of independent organizations. Finally, it assesses the past performance of state education policies and officials in providing California’s students with the educational essentials they require, and suggests policy alternatives that would bring considerable improvement.

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