School districts across the Tri-Valley are among those rated on a number of different rankings intended to measure the foundations, potential and room for improvement in districts throughout California, with the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District outranking its fellow districts in the region according to the new index.
The District Readiness Index (DRI) is a project that assesses school districts in the state according to 30 different measures across five different areas, with the goal of "identify(ing) conditions for scaling innovation and sustaining improvement," according to its organizers.
School districts are assessed based on their performance in community, finance, leadership, personnel, and workplace indicators, and given an overall rating of "few", "partial" or "strong" foundations based on these indicators.
LVJUSD was the only Tri-Valley district to earn marks for "strong foundations" in this year's report, with San Ramon Valley Unified School District and Pleasanton Unified School District receiving marks for "partial foundations." The Dublin Unified School District was the poorest-performing in the Tri-Valley, according to the index, with a mark of "few foundations" overall.
But despite the high rankings compared to its local counterparts, LVJUSD didn't receive high scores across the board, with weaknesses noted in the workplace category according to the DRI's methodology. It received a "few foundations" mark in two measures within this category, for a lack of contract bonuses and for its teachers' midpoint salaries failing to be equal or greater than the statewide average for similar districts.
In the workforce category, PUSD was the only Tri-Valley district to receive high marks across the board. SRVUSD also received a "few foundations" mark for a lack of contract bonuses for special assignments and certifications, and joined DUSD in a "partial foundations" mark for having more than one formal impasse with teachers' unions.
Although DUSD received an overall mark of "strong foundations" for both workplace and finance measures, it was hit with "few foundations" marks in two other areas -- community and leadership -- and received a "partial foundations" mark for personnel measures.
All four districts received "strong foundations" marks for finance measures with the exception of SRVUSD. It received "few foundations" marks for not having caps on employees' and retirees' healthcare and benefits expenses, for not having a policy against covering retirees' lifetime health benefits, and for a lack of financial reserves.
SRVUSD was also hit with a "partial foundations" mark in leadership measures, for having had an attempted school board recall within the past five years, and for lacking a board-approved equity policy.
All four Tri-Valley Districts received "few foundations" marks for lack of an equity policy. DUSD and PUSD both received "few foundations" marks in the leadership area, with DUSD receiving "few foundations" marks for the same measures as SRVUSD, along with a "partial foundations" mark for superintendent turnover. PUSD received "few foundations" marks for its superintendent performance review policy as well as superintendent turnover.
Under measures in the community category of the index, DUSD received a "few foundations" ranking for family and community involvement in district decision making, with SRVUSD receiving a "partial foundations" mark on that measure. DUSD also received "partial foundations" marks on opportunities for two-way communication with families, readiness to develop relationships with families, and for the student trustee measure.
While no Tri-Valley districts were on the DRI's list of "Exemplary School Districts" throughout the state, it named several within Alameda and Contra Costa counties -- Castro Valley Unified, New Haven Unified and San Leandro Unified in Alameda County, and Brentwood Union Elementary in Contra Costa County.
The DRI was formally launched this year, with preparations and prototype analysis kicking off in 2019. It was put forth by researchers from Pivot Learning, an organization with an "educational justice" mission, with contributions from a number of other educational organizations, families, and individuals. More information is available at districtreadiness.org.
on Jan 5, 2023 at 9:14 am
on Jan 5, 2023 at 9:14 am
I doubt if there is much (or any) correlation between this DRI organization’s “school district readiness ratings”, and student performance, nor with the quality of the education that students receive. High ratings seem to be mostly related to teacher pay and benefits, and the objectives of the teachers’ unions. And also with the DRI organization’s stated aim of “educational justice”, whatever that means. It would be interesting to know who funded the DRI organization, founded in 2019.
on Jan 9, 2023 at 10:29 pm
on Jan 9, 2023 at 10:29 pm
My compliments to “C.R. Mudgeon” on his/her insight into the “[School] District Readiness Index.”
That dataset was “incubated at Pivot Learning” ( Web Link ), an Oakland outfit organized to “Pursue Educational Justice” ( Web Link ). School “readiness” necessarily focuses on inputs. What’s needed is more concern for school outputs.
Ever-increasing inflation-adjusted per-pupil spending has been the rule before and since 1983’s “Nation at Risk” report warned that “the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.”
But despite all the new trillions spent in the last 40 years, academic achievement continues precipitous declines.
The first link above shows that several foundations funded the “Readiness Index”— apparently after they were captured/co-opted by some of the usual suspects:
• California Collaborative for Educational Excellence
• Families in Schools
• Innovate Public Schools
• Labor Management Initiative
• National Council on Teacher Quality
• Opportunity Institute
• Parents for Public Schools
• Policy Analysis for California Education
In one sign of residual rationality, Pivot itself realizes that intensive phonics is needed to improve reading, thereby contradicting some of the teacher unionists in the “Labor Management Initiative” who still prefer the failed sight-reading approach.
Consider one other collaborator, so-called “Parents for Public Schools” — and for starters, their gender-ideology propaganda program in North Carolina ( Web Link ). And ya gotta see their twisted view of real-world parents and savvy political leaders who’ve been taking back some school boards from the radical left ( Web Link ).