The public school system in California has made strides since being thoroughly evaluated in 2007 by university experts and research organizations. Among other things, there were concerns about whether the educational infrastructure at both district and state levels would be adequate to improve effectiveness.
The findings of this evaluation led to many reforms over the last 10 years. Those reforms included tax increases to bring additional funding. There were also significant policy changes that seemed to make a difference, and national test scores went up.
But the improvements didn’t mean California was about to sit back on its haunches and consider their job well done. On the contrary, over the last 2 years more studies have been conducted to figure out just how much good the reforms over the last decade are doing in California classrooms.
Called Getting Down to Facts II, this project looked at the state’s fiscal and governmental education systems. The goal was to determine how they could support graduates’ readiness for success in higher education and jobs. The study also examined the state’s academic standards. Were they being implemented properly to support continuing strides at state, district, and classroom levels? What other steps could be taken to keep that momentum going?
There’s a lot more to the study, but the results are encouraging. Its findings imply that if California adheres to current reforms, the improvements are likely to continue. There are still funding issues and ongoing challenges to address, but education in California seems to be headed in the right direction.
One of the ways the state is using additional funding and changing policies to impact the classroom is through the use of learning management systems (LMS). Rather than a hodgepodge of different apps and reporting tools, a learning management system brings all of those tools under one roof, so to speak. California teachers, students, and administrators are all able to use Instructure’s Canvas LMS to distribute, track, and turn in assignments. Teachers have a streamlined teaching tool and students take responsibility for learning. Administrators are able to facilitate professional development of teachers and keep an eye on their performance, especially when you consider the integrations of an LMS with other systems such as PowerSchool, YouTube, Office 365 and Infinite Campus.
Learning management systems are scalable and provide multiple ways for students—and their teachers—to demonstrate progress and mastery. They can also be used to design custom learning paths for every student.
As California state education continues its upward path, learning management systems are likely to play a significant role in helping districts and classrooms build upon positive changes.