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Sources & Notes

SURPRISINGLY, neither the California Department of Education (CDE) nor most County Offices of Education collect information on what curriculum districts have adopted. Districts can adopt programs that are either pre-approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) or that the district has independently determined align with state standards.

We collected reading program information from two sources. First, every California school is required to publish an annual School Accountability Report Card (SARC), with information about several aspects of the school; one is the adopted textbooks in each subject. SARCs are available online at (https://sarconline.org/public/findASarc), and on district and school websites.  We collected from the most recent SARC available (usually for school year 2020-21). 

 

Second, we asked districts directly (via email) to both confirm the SARC data and provide additional data on their program, including:

•    Reading supplements 
•    Tier 2 and 3 interventions
•    Reading assessments

We also solicited the same information from teachers directly. In cases where we had both district and teacher input, we relied on the district’s data.

Our universe covers the state’s large elementary and unified (K-12) districts – those with either 5,000 or more total students or with 100 or more low-income Latino 3rd graders. The latter group was the basis of our California Reading Report Card.  We omitted Los Angeles Unified, the state's largest districts, due to its high level of decentralization. The district reported that half their K-5 schools have adopted Core Knowledge Language Arts, with others using a number of other programs.

 

Altogether the sample includes 331 districts, which together enroll 72% of all California K-12 students.

We collected core program data from SARCs on all 331 districts. We collected additional information from 144 districts (including teachers), 43% of the total.