What California’s New School Grading System Might Mean for Assignees’ Kids

The new school grading system recently adopted by California might have more relevance for the children of your assignees. This is important to remember considering the ongoing debate surrounding it.

This new standard that will measure the effectiveness of California K-12 schools will use half-a-dozen metrics such as English and math test stores, proficiency by non-English speakers, teacher qualifications, graduation rates, and the ability to prepare a high school graduate for work or for college. Research would also be undertaken to see how the schools would rate based on the following: qualify of instruction, status of facilities, the environment as an encourager of learning, compliance with the state’s academic standards, parent participation, follow-through and programs for students who had been expelled.

The California State Board of Education approved the new system to replace the traditional Academic Performance Index (API) which had been suspended the past three years. The API made it easier for districts, education officials, and the schools themselves to compare each other; many felt its scope was limited and did not give an accurate picture. One probable reason was its reliance on test scores, which did not necessarily check performance.

The new system has its share of advocates and critics. However now that the law has been passed, assignees with families relocating to Northern California must be aware of it, and study how it can help them with their child’s education.

One standout measurement is rating the language proficiency of non-English students, like the children of expatriates and immigrants. A school that commits to enhancing the English fluency of young visitors would be welcome to foreign assignees who come from countries where the majority of the population do not have a good command of the language. This could easily be seen as an extension of Northern California’s traditional openness to diversity.

Another factor to look at is the focus on parent engagement, which has bearing on a child’s learning development. Assignees struggling with adjustment issues could find welcoming faces in schools that actively invite their students’ dads and moms to visit their grounds, talk to their teachers, and be involved with events and programs.

Finally, the new system’s career or college readiness program could be a booster to assignees with high school kids. If the assignees have a longer contract to fulfill, their children would graduate from a California school and either find a job or go to college in the same state. Regardless of how welcome the foreign child felt in his middle school, college life and/or employment in a firm is an altogether different ballgame. This program could prepare them for challenges in a world where, unlike in high school, they wouldn’t have their parents to constantly watch over them.

The new system will be implemented in 2017, but global mobility specialists who are recruiting assignees for next year should keep an eye out on the new grading system and its progression in schools. The assignee must be assured, knowing his child is getting the best education possible in California. If his spouse and kids are happy, it should motivate him to work harder for them.