Study: QEIA schools benefit from teacher training, collaborations

Study: QEIA schools benefit from teacher training, collaborations

New research on the long-term impacts of California’s landmark 2006 funding program supporting 400 low-performing schools highlights the positive role smaller class size plays in student performance.

But perhaps more surprising is how the Quality Education Investment Act has promoted educator collaboration, allowing more planning opportunities and alignment considerations.

The report, set for release today at a symposium in Sacramento hosted by the California Teachers Association, was drawn from analysis of 10 schools enrolled in the QEIA program – each of which has shown significant improvement in student performance since getting the additional funds.

Evaluators from Los Angeles-based Vital Research focused on a variety of questions surrounding how the QEIA funds were used and their outcomes.

The report is the second of five being funded by CTA. Among the speakers expected at Thursday’s meeting are state schools chief Tom Torlakson – who authored the legislation that created the program while he served as a state senator.

The QEIA program was the outgrowth of a lawsuit between the teachers association and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sparked by a disagreement over base funding for schools. To settle the suit, Schwarzenegger agreed to provide an additional $3 billion over eight years to struggling schools.

Participating schools had to meet several performance benchmarks to remain in the program – including maintaining smaller class sizes and ensuring classes had highly qualified teachers.

The new report, which was shared with Cabinet Report, may shed new light on the importance of collaboration between the teaching staff.

Researchers Courtney Malloy and Andrea Nee surveyed principals and teachers at subject schools about the “pathways” they followed to reach higher achievement. One of the more frequent responses noted how the program’s emphasis on giving teachers time to meet and talk about their lessons led to better student performance.

“When teachers get together to help one another to be better teachers, the kids win,” one high school teacher told the research team.

“There is no one teacher who knows everything,” a middle school teacher said. “Together we are more powerful and brainstorm to help all students in that grade-level meet mastery.”

Thursday’s event is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn on J Street in Sacramento. Speakers include Superintendent Torlakson and CTA President Dean E. Vogel as well as educators, principals and parents from successful, QEIA-supported schools.

For more information visit: www.cta.org.

To get a copy of the new report (available after the start of the event) go to: www.cta.org/qeiaprogress.