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Charter Currents: Brief Reminder to Complete CDE Survey on the LCAP

Published December 13, 2021 10:56

CSDC encourages charter school administrators and other partners to complete the statewide survey about their use of Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP) by December 13. The California Department of Education and the San Joaquin County Office of Education are gathering input for the development of an electronic template system and a potential database. The tools would publish information about Local Education Agencies’ (LEA) plans for supporting positive student outcomes. The survey prompts for rankings about the LCAP’s utility and also provides comment boxes for open-ended input.

CSDC encourages charter schools to use the comment boxes to convey their authentic experience with the LCAP. CSDC is concerned about excessive administrative burden on charter schools, without benefitting students to a corresponding degree.

The LCAP aims to improve school outcomes, particularly for students identified as Socioeconomically Disadvantaged, English Learners, and Foster Youth. The template links fiscal accountability to a planning process that prompts for engagement with parents, students and staff, with reflection on effectiveness. These components have value, but charter schools tend to have high engagement from these groups regardless of the LCAP. Also, the LCAP process, in and of itself, does not increase capacity to plan effective actions.

The LCAP template’s complex, esoteric structure has resulted from a political process. Most significantly, a small group of vocal advocates has looked to the LCAP as a mechanism to gain leverage, particularly over larger school districts. The advocates continue to tighten and constrain LCAP planning, to ultimately influence spending and actions to better serve high-needs students. Interestingly, they have chosen not to take on teachers’ collective bargaining, a behemoth force that, in California, puts instructional quality and student outcomes entirely out of discussions.

With an identical format for all LEAs, the LCAP disproportionately burdens charter schools, along with small school districts. A streamlined process centering on the LCAP’s most useful components would better suit small LEAs. For charter schools, the state should waive the requirement entirely, especially considering the growing possibility of non-renewal based on achievement levels below state averages. Non-charter public schools are governed through rules because they do not have high stakes accountability. For charter schools, layering rule-based accountability atop charter schools’ performance-based accountability is a wasteful approach. CSDC welcomes your input, both in the survey and directly to us.

The survey is due today, Monday, December 13.

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