California Education Dialogue

A public policy dialogue produced by Information Renaissance
with support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,
IBM Corporation and Intel Corporation



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Briefing Book



"In the education field, ... [equity] refers to the fair distribution of funding, technology, facilities, services, and equal education opportunities for both male and female students; including students with disabilities, students with limited proficiency in English, and students in high-poverty schools." (Education Week on the Web glossary) "...During the 1970s and 1980s, many state courts found great disparities in base per pupil spending between high and low property-wealth districts. They mandated that these funding disparities be eradicated. In placing districts on a level playing field, the courts often invoked equal protection clauses in state constitutions." (EdSource Online glossary)

The Draft Master Plan states "We have sought to ensure equity within California's education system through recommendations that distribute the resources and opportunities necessary to provide a high quality education to every student, irrespective of his or her circumstances."

  • A Call for Equity: Examines many facets in schools (Summary, links to more; Equity Center, Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory)
  • Key Components of Educational Equity: Access, instruction, materials, attitudes, interactions, language and assessment; strategies to help overcome barriers (Equity Center, North Central Regional Education Laboratory)
  • Handbook Summary; see link to index for more (Equity Center, Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory)
  • Dispelling the Myth: Project to identify high-poverty and high-minority schools with high student performance or substantial improvement in achievement; link to California report. Fill in your own criteria to find high poverty, high minority schools in California or elsewhere that are doing well (The Education Trust)
  • Equal Resources, Equal Outcomes? Study suggests schools serving poor students are shortchanged (Public Policy Institute of California)
  • Thinking Carefully about Equity and Accountability: Accountability systems may have unintended effects on low-income and minority students (link from Education Commission of the States)
  • Indicators of Inequality in School Readiness: Children start kindergarten with different levels of reading and math skills, often related to gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and age (77 page PDF report from Educational Testing Service)
  • Statement on education for homeless children and youth (California Department of Education)
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (National PTA: overview with positions of PTA and others)
  • Inclusion: The concept of "full inclusion" calls for teaching students with disabilities in regular classrooms (Education Week On the Web)
  • Bilingual ESL (Education Commission of the States)
  • Gender Equity (Education Week overview)
  • Teaching Tolerance (Burton's Cyberspace Bookmarks)
  • The New Divides: There are many digital divides - girls/boys, high/low achievement, urban/rural, special needs and language barriers (Education Week On the Web)
  • Technology Access and Use: Strategy Checklists for increasing equity (Northwest Educational Technology Consortium)
  • Ensuring Equitable Use of Education Technology (North Central Regional Education Laboratory)
  • College Access (Education Week On the Web)
  • Outreach: Targeting students to increase readiness for postsecondary education (Education Commission of the States)
  • Equity 2000: Changing minority students' college expectations can increase success in high school math and may increase postsecondary opportunities (Education Commission of the States)
  • Can We Achieve Equity When Generation Y Goes to College? (112 page PDF file; Educational Testing Service)
  • Disparities Continue: Degree completion for women and minorities (American Council on Education)
  • TRIO Collects and disseminates information about access to higher education for low income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities (Adjunct ERIC clearinghouse)
  • ERIC EC Disabilities and Gifted Education (ERIC Clearinghouse)
  • Urban Education Web Covers areas including urban and minority families, student services and youth development; urban teachers; equity and cultural diversity; community involvement; school reform (ERIC Clearinghouse)

Related Issues:

Equity is related to many of the topics in the Master Plan; the links below lead to pages on this site that give more information in selected areas.

See also the Working Group reports, such as:

  • Emerging Modes
    • Section 1: See Equity and Access and the related recommendations
    • Section 6: See Equity and Access and the related recommendations
  • Finance and Facilities K-12
    • Section 1: Adequacy in School Finance [an alternative to equity as a goal]
    • Section 2: Distributing Resources Equitably - Adequacy in School Finance
    • Recommendation 1: Assuring Adequate Funding
    • Recommendation 2: Distributing Resources Equitably
  • Professional Personnel Development
    • See the section on K-12 Professional Personnel Development In California - material on Inadequate Teacher Quality in Low-Performing Schools and teacher diversity - and the related recommendations. Other recommendations pertain to preparation of administrators for low-performing and hard to staff schools.

If your organization has material that would be useful for the online dialogue but is not included in the preceding list, please e-mail a URL to <>.