Our fellows started their weekend by attending the Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) conference Celebrating 40 years of Evidence and Impact. Sessions included a retrospective look at the Local Control Funding Formula, equity in college access, English learners, preschool expansion, community schools, and a session with Dr. Michael Kirst (former State Board of Education president) and Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (current State Board of Education president).
One of our current fellows, Sam Finn, presented a session on Improving Educational Approaches for English Learners and Newcomers. More information can be found in his recent PACE publication Newcomer Education in California.
One of the highlights of the PACE conference was getting to meet Dr. Michael Kirst, who was one of the designers of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). He noted the following conditions existed to create this policy window: 1) After the recession, revenues had recovered by 2013; 2) Strong executive leadership; 3) Concepts and ideas for LCFF existed; and 4) Coalitions supported the LCFF idea, along with the Legislature.
Then, our colleagues from the Legislature (Tanya Lieberman, Misty Padilla Feusahrens (EPFP Alumni, 2017-18), Kevin Powers, and Amy Supinger) presented a session on the legislative and budget process with an exercise that walked the group through the seven steps of a bill. The group enjoyed coming up with bill ideas and seeing how the ideas moved through the legislative process.
The whirlwind of policy weekend continued with a session on Dual and Concurrent Enrollment, featuring a partnership with the Kern Community College District (CCD) and the Wonderful Company. Linda Collins and Naomi Castro (EPFP Alumni, 2019-20) from the Career Ladders Project provided a background/history on dual and concurrent enrollment, and included Abel Guzman from the Wonderful Company and Kylie Campbell from the Kern CCD. Abel and Kylie spoke about their collaborative partnership.
Dr. Mia Settles-Tidwell, Vice President of the Division of Inclusive Excellence at Sac State continued her racial justice series Addressing Predictable and Historical Inequities. The group discussed the seven factors that contribute to American racism, examining racial justice and injustice in your context, and collaborated to solve racial justice dilemmas.
Dr. Charmaine Mercer from the Hewlett Foundation came to share her story in her session Learning and Leading: My Journey to Liberatory Leadership. Dr. Mercer discussed her career and her concept of liberatory leadership that can help transform systems, shifting policies and practices, and advancing racial justice as individuals.
Dr. Christopher Nellum (EPFP Alumni, 2017-18) from The Education Trust-West and Dr. Su Jin Jez from California Competes to discuss their shared work on advocacy for student parents, their career histories and working in nonprofit advocacy.
Finally, the fellows had a session, Critical California Policy Issues, with Dr. Kirst. He discussed his career history and tenure as the State Board of Education President twice–once in the 1970s, and recently from 2011-19. Dr. Kirst discussed his work at the federal level and also the work he has done on education reform–aligning state policy. Finally, Dr. Kirst shared his thoughts about community schools and the Puzzle of Educational Reform (Jane David), leaving the group with three ideas of patience, persistence, and humility.