BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                         SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Carol Liu, Chair
                            2013-14 Regular Session
                                        

          BILL NO:       AB 1159
          AUTHOR:        Blumenfield and Bloom
          INTRODUCED:    February 22, 2013
          FISCAL COMM:   Yes            HEARING DATE:  June 12, 2013
          URGENCY:       No             CONSULTANT:Lenin Del Castillo

           SUBJECT  :  Charter schools:  Pupil achievement data.
          
           SUMMARY   

          This bill requires the State Department of Education to  
          provide individual pupil demographic, program, and  
          achievement data, including test scores and unique pupil  
          identification numbers, relating to pupils who attend a  
          charter school for which a school district is the  
          chartering authority in accordance with the federal Family  
          Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

           BACKGROUND  

          Existing law specifies that a school district may provide  
          statistical data to a public agency or entity, private  
          nonprofit college, university, or educational research and  
          development organization, as long as no pupil may be  
          identified from the data.  (Education Code  49076)  

          Existing law requires every pupil to have an individual  
          record of accomplishment by the end of grade 12 that  
          includes the results of achievement tests administered as  
          part of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR)  
          Program, the results of end-of-course exams, and any  
          vocational education certification exams a pupil may have  
          taken.  Existing law specifies that a pupil's record of  
          accomplishment is private and may not be released to any  
          person other than the pupil's parent or guardian, or a  
          teacher, counselor, or administrator directly involved with  
          the pupil, without the express written consent of either  
          the parent or guardian if the pupil is a minor, or the  
          pupil if the pupil has reached the age of majority or is  








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          emancipated.  
          (Education Code  60607)

          Existing law specifies that individual test results from  
          the STAR program may only be released with the permission  
          of either the pupil's parent or guardian, or the pupil if  
          the pupil has reached the age of majority or is  
          emancipated.  
          (Education Code  60641)  

          Under existing federal law, FERPA generally prohibits the  
          improper disclosure of personally identifiable information  
          derived from education records.  FERPA applies to all  
          educational agencies and institutions that receive funding  
          under any program administered by the U.S. Department of  
          Education.  Under FERPA, schools are required to provide  
          certain privacy protections for the educational records  
          they maintain.  

          Existing law requires a charter school to meet at least one  
          of the following performance standards in order to be  
          renewed:  (1) attainment of the school's Academic  
          Performance Index (API) growth target in two of the last  
          three years or in the aggregate last three years; (2) an  
          API decile ranking of four or better in the prior year or  
          in two of the last three years; (3) a Similar Schools API  
          ranking of four or better in two of the last three years;  
          (4) academic performance that is at least equal to the  
          academic performance of the public schools that the charter  
          school pupils would otherwise been required to attend; or  
          (5) qualification for participation in the Alternative  
          School Accountability Model (ASAM).  (Education Code   
          47607)

           ANALYSIS  

           This bill  :

          1)   Requires the State Department of Education (SDE) to  
               provide to a school district individual pupil  
               demographic data, program data, and achievement data,  
               including but not limited to, the results of the  









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               standards-based achievement tests that are part of the  
               Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program, the  
               English Language Development Test, and the California  
               High School Exit Exam, relating to pupils who attend a  
               charter school for which the school district is the  
               chartering authority, as specified.  

          2)   Requires the SDE to provide this data, to the extent  
               it is available, along with the unique pupil  
               identification number of each of those pupils, to the  
               school district in accordance with the Family  
               Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  

           STAFF COMMENTS  

           1)   Need for the bill  :  Although charter schools are  
               exempt from most laws governing school districts and  
               schools, they are required to participate in the STAR  
               program and report the results of tests in that  
               program to the SDE.  Some charter schools report the  
               information through the school district that  
               authorized the school, while others report the  
               information directly to SDE.  When a charter school  
               reports the data directly to SDE, the information is  
               not available to the school district.  According to  
               the author's office, a school district that wishes to  
               obtain student-level achievement data for students who  
               attend a direct-reporting charter school must make  
               individual requests from each school, costing time and  
               resources that the school district cannot afford,  
               especially for school districts with a high number of  
               charter schools. 
               AB 1159 seeks to expedite the process in which school  
               districts seek pupil achievement data so that they may  
               be able to identify learning disparities in the  
               communities they serve.  

           2)   Records privacy  .  Although current law allows a school  
               district access to aggregate school-level data,  
               existing law deems a pupil's individual assessment  
               data, including Standardized Testing and Reporting  
               (STAR) Program results to be private and precludes the  









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               release of those data to anyone other than specified  
               individuals.  In 2010, the Los Angeles Unified School  
               District (LAUSD) requested student-level assessment  
               data for pupils attending charter schools that it  
               authorized from the State Department of Education  
               (SDE).  In October 2012, the Superintendent of Public  
               Instruction denied the request stating "Because of the  
               legal restrictions imposed on the release of  
               student-level assessment data, SDE is unable to  
               fulfill your current request."  

          According to the LAUSD, "Access to individual student  
               demographic and achievement data is important to  
               assess how students are faring."  The LAUSD states  
               that "Given that school districts are responsible for  
               renewing school charter agreements, access to pupil  
               data for a district's charter is necessary to properly  
               evaluate the performance of students at the charter  
               school.  Without this information, it is difficult for  
               districts to know if the charter is meeting the needs  
               of all of its students."  They maintain that this bill  
               will enable districts to maintain better oversight of  
               the charter schools they authorize.  

           3)   Academic Performance Index  .  The Academic Performance  
               Index (API) is a single number on a scale of 200 to  
               1,000 that is an annual measure of test score  
               performance in schools.  The API is used to summarize  
               the performance of students and a school, and is based  
               on results of the STAR program and the California High  
               School Exit Examination.  The system is based on a  
               two-year cycle that gives a "base" score for the first  
               year and a "growth" score in the second year.  The  
               Base API is released in the spring and is derived from  
               the previous spring's test scores.  The Growth API,  
               which is released in the fall, comes from the previous  
               spring's test scores.  The State Board of Education  
               has established a statewide target of 800 for the API.  
                Schools with API scores below 800 are expected to  
               improve and are given a "growth target" that is 5  
               percent of the difference between their API score and  
               800, with a minimum target of 5 points.  (Schools with  









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               an API above the statewide target are expected to stay  
               above 800.)  A school's Base API score plus its growth  
               target becomes that school's goal for its next Growth  
               API.  For example, a school with a Base API of 320  
               would be expected to improve its performance by 24  
               points in the next cycle, or attain an API of 344.  
           
           4)   Prior legislation  .  AB 1919 (Brownley, 2012), nearly  
               identical to this bill, was vetoed by Governor Brown  
               in September 2012, whose veto message read:

                    This bill would require the State Department of  
                    Education to send individual pupil ulevel data to  
                    school districts that request the information.  
                    The data would cover each and every student  
                    attending a charter school the district  
                    authorizes. 

                    Authorizing districts may already collect this  
                    data, so another law is unnecessary. The locals  
                    can handle it.
               
           SUPPORT
           
          Association of California School Administrators
          California Federation of Teachers
          Charter Schools Association Advocates
          Los Angeles Unified School District

           OPPOSITION
           
          Charter Schools Development Center