Tuesday, August 14, 2007

WILLIAMS V. CALIFORNIA: The Statewide Impact of Two Years of Implementation - August 2007

prepared by: ACLU Foundation of Southern California & Public Advocates, Inc.

Based on research conducted by: Dr. Marisa Saunders, Lindsay Huber, Dr. Anne Marshall and Dr. Siomara Valladares, University of California, Los Angeles

complete report: http://www.decentschools.org/settlement/WilliamsReportWeb2007.pdf

smf notes: It is important to remember that Williams applies to all schools in California, not just the deciles one, two, and three schools funded under the implementing legislation and studied and reported on to the CDE, legislature and plaintiffs by county offices of education. Williams is floor, not a ceiling. - these are minimum levels of educational expectations about teachers, facilities and textbooks that apply to all schools and all California schoolchildren.


On August 13, 2004, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the settlement of Williams v. California, a lawsuit filed on behalf of thousands of California’s public school students who were denied equal educational opportunity. The settlement called for all of California’s public schools to provide at least the basic necessities of educational opportunity: textbooks and instructional materials, clean and safe school facilities, and qualified teachers. The settlement also promised students, parents, and community members new information and tools to oversee this progress.

Now, three years after the plaintiffs and Governor Schwarzenegger announced the settlement, and precisely three years after the California Legislature passed the Settlement Legislation, this report examines the impact of the Williams Settlement Legislation during the first two years of implementation—2004-05 and 2005-06—by documenting students’ access to textbooks and instructional materials, clean, safe and functional school facilities, and appropriately certificated and assigned teachers. A clear picture of progress emerges from each of the four regions examined (Los Angeles County, Sacramento County, the Greater Bay Area, and the Central Valley) and the state as a whole. In only two short years of implementation, teaching and learning conditions in California’s public school classrooms have materially improved as a direct result of the Williams standards and accountability systems. For instance, students received more than 88,000 new textbooks and instructional materials because county superintendents discovered the materials were missing and insufficient when they conducted their Williams site visits. Students have gone so far as to give visitors from a county office of education a standing ovation in appreciation for their new books. Likewise, administrators appreciate how the facilities standards have spotlighted repair needs, leading to a statewide decline in the number of schools with facility deficiencies.

Nearly 3,000 emergency repairs have already been funded through the $800 million Emergency Repair Program (ERP). As one administrator said, “Williams is right at my back helping me get things done.”

Administrators also report that textbook and facility improvements are helping them attract and retain qualified teachers, a trend that should aid schools in building on early progress with respect to teacher misassignments. The new annual teacher assignment monitoring for low performing schools has highlighted significant numbers of misassignments in many regions of the state, particularly in classes with substantial numbers of English learners, which in turn is motivating teachers, schools, and districts to explore additional training opportunities and other solutions.

Administrators and county office of education officials routinely trace the improving conditions to systemic reforms—new textbook distribution systems, revamped facility work order procedures, and new teacher training and assignment practices—that districts and schools instituted in response to the Williams Settlement. In many cases, the results have been dramatic. In schools where students previously lacked sufficient textbooks to take home at night, more than half the teachers lacked full credentials, and facilities were poorly maintained, students now all receive textbooks, including books to take home; learn in fully maintained school facilities; and have markedly improved access to credentialed teachers who are properly assigned.

Teachers and administrators explain that the new procedures and improvements also brought intangible changes that may be just as responsible for ensuring problems are prevented and students receive the textbooks, facilities, and teachers they need and deserve. Many teachers and administrators describe cultural changes within their institutions, encouraging open lines of communication, an emphasis on students’ needs, and accountability.

Williams requires that every California public school provide each student with, at the very least, sufficient textbooks and instructional materials; clean, safe and functional buildings and facilities; and permanent, appropriately trained and assigned teachers. Not all schools are meeting these standards yet, and thus the information collected through the Williams monitoring systems should be utilized quickly to develop and target new solutions, while the initiatives and efforts that have led to the remarkable improvements over the course of the first two years of Williams implementation should be recognized, shared, and redoubled.

Summary of Key Findings


• In the first year of Williams implementation, county offices of education found, on average, that 20% of decile 1-3 schools had insufficient textbooks and/or instructional materials. This figure decreased to 13% in the second year of implementation (2005-06), with 21 county offices of education finding sufficient textbooks and instructional materials in all schools.

• All four regions studied experienced a decrease in the percentage of decile 1-3 schools with insufficient textbook/ instructional materials, with Sacramento County and the Greater Bay Area experiencing the greatest decreases with drops of 17 and 16 percentage points, respectively.

• In the Central Valley, the percentage of schools with insufficient textbook/instructional materials was lower than the statewide county average in both 2004-05 and 2005- 06.


• The average percentage of decile 1-3 schools in each county with “good repair” deficiencies or “emergency” facility needs decreased during the first two years of implementation. ✏ Forty-two percent of county offices of education found fewer decile 1-3 schools with facilities deficiencies in the second year of implementation than in the first year.

• County offices of education reported, on average, finding one or more “good repair” deficiency at 62% of schools inspected in 2004-05, compared to 47% of schools inspected in 2005-06.

• County offices of education found, on average, that 8% of the decile 1-3 schools in each county had facility conditions that posed “emergency or urgent threat[s] to the health or safety of pupils or staff ” in 2004- 05. This figure remained almost constant between the two years of implementation, with a slight decrease to 7% in 2005-06.

• The region with the highest percentages of decile 1-3 schools with emergency facility needs was the Greater Bay Area. School conditions have improved across the region, but some schools, such as many in the Oakland Unified School District, need additional attention.

• In general, administrators and teachers report that repairs on their campuses are conducted more quickly and facilities receive more attention as a result of Williams.

• The $800 million Williams Emergency Repair Program now offers grants as well as reimbursements for health and safety repairs, and the number of projects funded has increased from 149 to 2,797 in one year, helping to address the more than $803 million in “necessary repairs” documented at eligible schools by the Williams School Facilities Needs Assessments.

• Statewide, students received at least 24,932 new textbooks and instructional materials as a result of county office of education oversight in 2004-05. Students received 63,163 new textbooks and materials in 2005-06.

• Over half of all county offices of education reported that schools improved textbook distribution and tracking systems as a result of Williams.

No comments: