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Last updated 12/07/09


The California Master Plan for Education

Summary of the September 2002 report of the
Joint Committee to Develop a Master Plan for Education

The Joint Committee to Develop a Master Plan for Education released its final report, The California Master Plan for Education, on September 9, 2002 [Table of Contents with links to report sections on the Joint Committee's page].  The report is the culmination of a three-year effort of the Joint Committee.  During this time, hearings were held around the state to receive input on problems with the state's educational system, seven working groups were convened to address major issue areas, and several months were devoted to the writing, refinement, and discussion of draft reports.

The University of California participated throughout this process.  In addition to UC faculty and staff who served on the working groups, an advisory group chaired by UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef issued a report on the role the University should play under a new Master Plan encompassing all levels of education.  President Atkinson forwarded this report, A Perspective on Developing a New Master Plan, to Joint Committee Chair Senator Dede Alpert in early May 2002.

The Joint Committee's initial draft report was released that same month.  UC concerns with the draft--including access, funding, research and other higher education issues--were enumerated in President Atkinson's July 2, 2002 letter to Senator Alpert and testimony at a hearing of the Joint Committee.  Subsequently, the University worked with the Joint Committee and its staff to seek additional amendments to the second draft that was released in July.

At 152 pages (excluding appendices), the final report is more than twice the length of the earlier drafts.  It contains 56 multi-part recommendations or a total of 174 individual recommendations.  The recommendations break down into the following categories: 78 focused on K-12 education, 55 on higher education, 25 on issues affecting both K-12 and higher education, 12 on pre-K education, and four focused solely on adult education.  Of the 18 members on the Joint Committee, two did not sign the report and four filed "Letters of Dissent."

The University's comments on the report were forwarded to Senator Alpert in a letter from President Atkinson on October 29, 2002.

The full report is available at the Joint Committee's web site and more information on UC's participation in the process can be found on the UC Academic Initiatives website

Below is a summary of provisions in the final report that are of greatest interest to the University.  The report's recommendations seek to:

  • Establish a new gubernatorially-appointed Chief Education Officer to run the California Department of Education and change the responsibilities of the elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction to focus on K-12 accountability.  [Recs. 26.1, 27]
  • Reconstitute the California Community College Board of Governors as a "public trust" with similar authority and flexibility as the UC or CSU governing boards and authorize the CCC to provide upper division instruction jointly with UC, CSU, or private postsecondary institutions.  [Rec. 34]
  • Reword the University's research mission--UC "should continue to be the primary, although not exclusive, academic agency for research."  [Rec. 36--new wording in italics.]
  • Retain the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) as the coordinating entity for higher education, including maintaining its current responsibilities for new campus approval and academic program review.  [Recs. 38, 38.2]
  • Create the California Education Commission (CEC) to provide planning, coordination, and analysis for pre-K and K-12, to serve as the statewide education data repository (including higher education), and to act as the interface between K-12 and higher education.  The latter would include responsibility for coordinating statewide articulation of curriculum and assessment, for sponsoring intersegmental programs to ease the high school/college transition, and for coordinating outreach activities among schools, colleges, universities, and work-sector entities.  [Rec. 39]
  • Consider structuring the CEC with eight lay representatives (four gubernatorial appointees, two Senate Rules appointees and two Assembly Speaker appointees) and with the Superintendent of Public Instruction as the CEC chairperson.  There would be no segmental representatives.  [Rec. 39.3]
  • Require that the LAO annually review CPEC and CEC operations to determine their effectiveness and to assess the feasibility of merging them into a single entity.  [Rec. 56.3]
  • Augment the Intersegmental Committee of the Academic Senates (ICAS) with K-12 representatives to review and recommend changes on the alignment and coordination of curricula, assessment, admissions, and placement."  [Rec. 22]
  • Require an "academically rigorous standard curriculum" for every high school student.  "Opt out" provisions included in earlier drafts were deleted.   [Rec. 11.2]
  • Encourage elementary, secondary and postsecondary institutions to develop end-of-course assessments to measure students' mastery at each grade/course level and to determine students' readiness to undertake learning at the next level.  For high school seniors, "readiness" means the ability to begin college without remedial coursework.  Also, 11th grade assessments should be "aligned, if not integrated," with entrance/placement exams for public colleges and universities.  [Rec. 20.3]
  • Suggests public segments agree to use a modified high school exit examination as a basis for determining readiness to enroll in collegiate courses.  [text p. 88]
  • Direct UC and CSU to "continue to adhere to the policy of guaranteeing that all students who apply for freshman admission and who are eligible to attend (students within the top one-third for CSU applicants, and the top one-eighth for UC applicants) are offered admission to the system for which they are eligible and have applied."  [Rec. 12]
  • Request that UC and CSU continue collaboration with K-12 to increase rigor of K-12 academic courses with the goal of reducing remediation and eliminating the need to award additional weight to honors and AP courses in the admissions process.  [Rec. 12.1]
  • Recommend that CSU and UC "consider both objective and qualitative personal characteristics equally" in the process of admitting freshmen.  [Rec. 12.2]
  • Authorize UC and CSU to admit up to 6% and 8%, respectively, of new undergraduates annually "through the use of non-traditional criteria."  [Rec. 12.3]
  • UC, CSU, and CCC should devise systemwide articulation policies to "enable students to transfer units freely between and among public colleges and universities."  [Rec. 23.2]
  • Establish a "transfer associate's degree, within existing associate degree unit requirements" that will guarantee community college transfer admission to "any CSU or UC campus, though not necessarily the major of choice."  [Rec. 23.3]
  • Recommend that the Legislature direct the higher education systems to set policies about and report annually on the balance between "temporary and permanent/tenure track faculty."  The systems are to provide "adequate pro rata compensation to temporary faculty who agree to perform functions usually restricted to permanent and tenure-track faculty."  [Recs. 9, 9.1, 9.3]
  • Review of tenure practices governing boards to ensure that "teaching excellence is given significant weight."  [Rec. 10.1]
  • Initiate "differentiation of function among faculty" in public institutions such that those who are particularly effective researchers would collaborate with colleagues who are particularly effective teachers.  [Text p. 65]
  • Increase doctoral and master's degree production in areas of high need as a means to ensure preparation of requisite number of faculty in these disciplines.  [Rec. 8.3]
  • Integrate teaching and learning curricula into master's and doctoral degree programs.  [Rec. 8.4, first bullet]
  • Require that every teacher be "adequately prepared before being assigned independent responsibility for a classroom," including immediate elimination of emergency permit use.  Institute a special pre-internship program that would phase out in five years (more quickly for low performing schools) as all teachers become fully credentialed.  [Recs. 6, 6.1, 6.2, & 6.3]
  • Increase capacity of public postsecondary systems "to prepare larger and sufficient numbers of qualified educators," especially from groups underrepresented in the teaching workforce, in areas of teacher shortages, and in districts with many emergency permit holders.  [Rec. 6.4]
  • To prepare effective, motivated teachers, provide grant funds to create additional "professional development schools" that operate as partnerships between postsecondary institutions and low-performing schools.  [Rec. 6.8]
  • Adopt state policies to dampen the "boom and bust" cycles in higher education appropriations.  [Rec. 49]
  • Analyze the appropriateness of modifying the current marginal approach for funding additional postsecondary enrollments "to account for contemporary costs of operations, differing missions and functions, and differential student characteristics that affect costs in each sector."  [Rec. 49.2]  As part of this, the report suggests a long-term objective of aligning the allocation and expenditure of monies with the actual costs of providing the educational services for which they are spent.  It states that, despite difficulties in assigning costs to specific functions within segments' respective missions, the Joint Committee believes funding lower division instruction at "roughly comparable levels in all three public sectors of postsecondary education" is an attractive option.  [Text under Rec. 49, second paragraph]
  • Direct the state to "make an annual investment for state-supported applied research by public postsecondary institutions, to be held in reserve to allow the state to address issues of urgent public priority, as identified by the Legislature and the Governor.  Such investment and allocation should be consistent with the missions of the postsecondary sectors."  [Rec. 49.3]
  • Identify the California Education Commission as the entity that "might ultimately evolve as the appropriate body to maintain a [facilities] inventory for all public schools, colleges and universities."  The report no longer recommends that the State Allocation Board coordinate facility funds for higher education.  [Text under Rec. 48]
  • Adopt a student fee policy aimed at stabilizing fees "such that they increase in a moderate and predictable fashion."  [Rec. 50.1]  This section notes "a shift from a no or low fee system to a system of affordable fees."  [Text under Rec. 50, second paragraph]
  • Limit fee increases to increases in non-instructional costs and changes in per capita family income.  [Text p. 130]
  • Continue to emphasize financial need in award of state-supported student grants and fully fund the Cal Grant entitlement program.  [Rec. 51.1]
  • At least once every five years, review and adjust the Cal Grant maximum award level for independent institutions to maintain "the estimated average General Fund cost of educating a student at the public four-year institutions of postsecondary education, including the authorized student fees charged by the California State University and the University of California."   [Rec. 51.2]
  • Recommend that the state's financial aid policy consider the role of institutional aid, maintaining flexibility in its use by higher education institutions, while holding the institutions accountable for its use in meeting the state's commitment to providing need-based financial aid.  [Rec. 51.3]
  • Have higher education in California  "work collaboratively to develop a means of assessing the learning of students enrolled in public postsecondary education."  [Rec. 21]
  • Bring postsecondary education into an "integrated accountability system" with indicators that "would monitor quality and equity in access and achievement of all students in common academic content areas."  All institutions--public and private--should be required to report this information as a condition of receiving state funds through financial aid programs or direct appropriation.  [Rec. 43]
  • Develop a means of assessing student learning in public postsecondary institutions.  This assessment would provide an indicator of how well institutions help students "master a common body of knowledge represented by the general education requirements" that all undergraduates are expected to complete.  [Rec. 21, text p. 65]