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Staff Analysis of the
Governance Working Group Final Report
The following analysis sets forth the specific recommendations contained
in the final report of the Governance Working Group (in bold print), organized
by distinct governance level. The staff comments that follow each section
are intended to illuminate those recommendations, the deliberations that
led to those recommendations, and/or important information that should
be considered in evaluating those recommendations.
Goals of the Governance Working Group
The Governance Working Group recommended improvements
in the structure of education governance to meet three goals:
K-12 State-level Recommendations
Employing student achievement as the measure of success.
Improving accountability - a clear delineation of responsibilities
Ensuring coordination between K-12 and postsecondary
education, and between and among the University of California, California
State University, and California Community Colleges.
Accountability to California's citizens for the operations of K-12 public
education at large, and ultimate responsibility for the delivery of education
to California's K-12 public education students in particular, should both
reside in the office of the Governor. The Governor should
appoint a Chief State Schools Officer, to carry out, on behalf of the Governor,
the following functions: establishing learning expectations, providing
an accountability system of measurement (including specific technical assistance),
and apportioning resources, and to serve as the Director of the Department
of Education. (A minority position within the Group favored continuing
to have an independent elected office responsible for K-12 education.)
The Governor should be accountable for all state-level K-12 education
The separate executive director and staff of the State Board in the
Department of Education should be eliminated.
The State Board of Education members should be drawn from and represent
distinct geographical regions, and the functions of the State Board should
be limited to policy matters.
K-12 Intermediate-level Recommendations
These recommendations directly address the goal of enhancing accountability
through the delineation of responsibilities among various state offices,
but the report is silent on consequences of failure to meet responsibilities.
Moving management responsibility for the State Department of Education
to the Secretary for Education (and formal establishment of that position)
can be accomplished through simple legislative enactment of changes in
statutory law. The redesign of the roles and responsibilities of the Superintendent
of Public Instruction that would need to follow can also be accomplished
through the same process; elimination of that office altogether would require
a vote of the people to amend the Constitution.
The recommendations provide for greater clarity of responsibility and authority
for public schools at the state level and offer the possibility of modest
cost savings/avoidance (through the elimination of positions).
A state-level inquiry, organized independent of currently
existing agencies, should examine county offices and regional entities
and their ability to meet current and emerging district, intermediate,
and regional needs, including fiscal oversight, academic oversight, and
management and administrative assistance. After this inquiry is performed
and reported, the Master Plan should incorporate a corresponding course
While the final recommendation is limited to requesting a more detailed
study of the ability of regional and/or county offices to carry out oversight
and management functions:
K-12 District-level Recommendations
The Working Group apparently thought different configurations of regional
service delivery would be appropriate to different areas of the state,
at least transitionally.
Group deliberations indicated that in certain circumstances, additional
or improved services could be offered regionally - especially in counties
with small populations that may have difficulty meeting minimal levels
of service for their client districts.
The report does not address the impact of county superintendents' existing
constitutional status on the state's ability to define intermediate service
delivery in a manner that best meets student needs. (That constitutional
status has previously inhibited consideration of redefinition of intermediate
structures or roles.)
The proposed study includes an evaluation of an academic oversight function
at the intermediate level; such a function would be a new role for county
or regional entities.
The Legislature, through the Master Plan, should define roles and responsibilities
by level, independent of the structure of the entities at each level. Intermediate
roles could be determined pending receipt of the recommended study on structure.
With little direct statutory foundation, county offices of education currently
serve as field offices for the State Department of Education, among their
A report of all pertinent research to date should
be compiled regarding the effects of district and school size and structure
on curriculum articulation, service coordination, and accountability at
the site and district level. After this inquiry is performed and reported,
the Master Plan should incorporate a corresponding course of action.
An examination of collective bargaining should be
undertaken to determine the extent to which bargaining agreements may constrain
the ability of school districts to ensure the provision of essential non-personnel
resources to students. The results of this examination should be used to
determine an appropriate strategy to ensure that all districts set aside
sufficient resources to meet state standards before engaging in bargaining
for use of public resources for personnel costs.
The recommendation to study district and school size and structure is silent
on whether that study should consider appropriate responsibilities and
authority that should be delegated to local school districts.
The report suggests that the Group subscribed to the historic goals of
unification - curriculum articulation and coordination across the span
of all grades and improved economies of scale - but recommended an exploration
of multiple means of achieving those goals, while avoiding recommending
California Community Colleges (CCC)
Recognizing the complexity and controversy regarding collective bargaining,
the report calls for a separate study of certain impacts of local collective
The report notes that the Group was concerned that local boards' and management's
time is sufficiently absorbed in bargaining to detract from their other
The Group raised concerns that money for repairs, instructional materials,
and other items was being bargained into salaries.
The Group deliberated recommending a statutory statewide salary schedule,
or a statewide benefits schedule as a first step.
The report is silent on consequences that districts/schools should face
if state standards and expectations are not met.
The California Community College system's main missions,
by level, should be: state level, transfer; regional and local levels,
workforce preparation; and local level, remediation.
The responsibilities of the Board of Governors and
local boards should be defined as the following:
Board of Governors:
Exercise general supervision over, and coordination
of, the local community college districts.
Provide leadership and direction through research
Establish minimum conditions and standards to be
required for all districts to receive state support and to function within
Establish specific accountability measures and assure
evaluation of district performance based on those measures.
Approve courses of instruction and educational programs
that meet local, regional, and state needs.
Administer state operational and capital outlay support
Adopt a proposed system budget and allocation process.
Ensure system-wide articulation with other segments
Represent the districts before state and national
legislative and executive agencies.
Establish, maintain, and oversee the colleges within
Assure the district meets the minimum conditions
and standards established by the Board of Governors.
Establish policies for local academic, operations,
and facilities planning to assure accomplishment of the statutory mission
within conditions and standards established by the Board of Governors:
Adopt local district budgets.
Oversee the procurement and management of property.
Establish policies governing student conduct.
Establish policies to guide new course development,
course revision/deletion, and curricular quality.
California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC)
A state assessment should be conducted on the value
of and need for restructuring of local districts with attention to the
size and number of colleges in a district, as well as the scope of authority
that should be assigned to each district. Should this assessment find restructuring
valuable and desirable, incentives should be provided to encourage restructuring.
The CCC Board of Governors should have the same degree
of flexibility and authority as that of CSU/UC, including the authority
to appoint/approve senior staff to the Board of Governors.
CPEC should be configured as follows:
The Governor should appoint its membership, for staggered
The commission should continue to appoint its executive
There should be a civil service exemption for staff
(parity with the structure of CSU).
The mission should be to provide policy and fiscal
advice that represents the broad public interest, planning for coordination,
program review, and new campus approval.
In differentially assigning primary responsibility for the CCC's main missions
to different levels - Transfer, including system-wide articulation,
is primarily a state-level responsibility; Workforce Preparation
is primarily a regional responsibility; and Remediation is primarily
a local responsibility - the report makes no reference to other elements
of the CCC mission (economic development and citizenship).
The report recommends strengthening of the CCC Board of Governors to be
equivalent to the UC Regents and CSU Trustees, which were determined to
be 'highly functional.'
Assignment of governance and policy authority for the CCC system would
significantly expand its current authority.
The authority to independently hire senior staff and operate independent
of state salary schedules would allow specialized needs to be more readily
The recommendation to examine local district size (number of colleges)
and scope of authority that should be assigned to local districts derives
in part from some members' belief that inefficiencies exist at the extremes
of single-college districts and a nine-college district.
The report is silent on CSU and UC and does not address accountability
and consequences for either system.
The report recommends narrowing the major responsibilities assigned to
CPEC to reduce role conflict between (1) the subjective role of facilitating
voluntary coordination of postsecondary education providers and (2) the
objective role of negotiating differences among them.
The Group recommends reassigning CPEC responsibility for data collection
to an unspecified independent entity. This recommendation is consistent
with the Group's priority of localizing all data collection - pre-kindergarten
through university - in a single entity (see Preschool-Postgraduate
The report recommends changing the appointing authority for commissioners
by assigning it exclusively to the governor, versus the current shared
appointment authority (Assembly, Senate, Governor, institutional representatives).
Although no rationale for this proposed change is given, it is consistent
with other recommendations to more directly align state-level governance
entities with the Governor.
Preschool - Postgraduate Recommendations
The Master Plan should be adopted by the Legislature
as a template from which to formulate legislation and regulatory policy
and thereby reduce the number of bills considered each year.
The responsibility for K-16 coordination should be
assigned to the Governor.
An independent agency should be identified to collect
K-16 data, including cross-segmental and cross-level data.
To provide a firm legal basis for a sphere of local
control, consideration should be given to amending the state constitution
to permit local districts to adopt limited "home rule" authority through
votes of their electorates in a manner similar to that long permitted for
cities and counties.
In urging the Legislature's use of the Master Plan as a template for reducing
the number of education bills considered annually, the Group considered
that far fewer bills are introduced annually that pertain to postsecondary
education, which has been guided by the Master Plan for Higher Education,
than are introduced annually pertaining to K-12 education.
The report would assign coordination of all segments of education to the
Governor's office; the relationship of this function to other governing
boards, and the UC Regents in particular, would need to be determined.
The Group's recommendation that an independent entity be assigned responsibility
for collecting data for the entire education system stems from concerns
about (1) fragmented data collection that cannot support learning objectives
and public policy determination; (2) historical and political issues that
color the credibility of many existing entities that currently have partial
data collection responsibilities; and (3) limitations on data collection
The report does not list mechanisms that should be deployed to ensure that
required data submissions are indeed submitted by all education institutions
to a designated data collection agency. Currently, no authority is vested
in any state agency to compel CSU or UC to submit data requested by CPEC
on behalf of the state.
The report recommends constitutional "home rule" authority to actualize
local control of public schools and colleges. This recommendation is analogous
to the existing, optional authority in the California Constitution for
cities and counties to adopt laws by votes of their electorates, as to
specified areas within the overall responsibilities of cities and counties,
that differ from the general state laws that would otherwise be applicable
to those areas. (Any proposed amendment to the Constitution to extend similar
authority to school and college districts would need to be at least as
specific in its limitations as the existing provisions for cities and counties
are.) As matters now stand, virtually any aspect of such local control
as school and college districts currently exercise can be preempted by
the Legislature through simple enactment of changes in statutory law.
The report is silent on whether course articulation across the post-secondary
segments should be system-wide or remain on campus-by-campus and course-by-course
basis - a current practice that serves institutions more than students.
Prepared by Stephen Blake, Charles Ratliff, and John
Gilroy, Committee Consultants
The report is silent on whether the Master Plan should prescribe a formal
structure to encourage pre-kindergarten through university collaboration
or, alternatively, to establish a policy environment that strongly encourages
pre-kindergarten through university regional collaboration.