Coign of vantage and action: Considering California’s local accountability and school finance plans for English learners


  • Julian Vasquez Heilig California State University, Sacramento
  • Lisa S. Romero California State University, Sacramento
  • Megan Hopkins University of California, San Diego



Local control accountability, English learners, school finance, LCAP, LCFF


Local control has been a bedrock principle of public schooling in America since its inception. In 2013, the California Legislature codified a new local accountability approach for school finance. An important component of the new California Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) approach is a focus on English learners (ELs). The law mandates that every school district produce a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) to engage the local community in defining outcomes and determining funding for ELs. Based on an exploratory analysis of a representative sample of LCAPs, we show that, although California’s new approach offered an opportunity to support locally-defined priorities and alternatives to top-down accountability, few if any districts had yet taken full advantage of the opportunity. That is, the school districts in our sample had not yet engaged with the local community to facilitate significant changes to accountability or redistribution of funding and resources to support educational equity for ELs.


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Author Biographies

Julian Vasquez Heilig, California State University, Sacramento

Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning teacher, researcher, and blogger. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State University Sacramento. He blogs at Cloaking Inequity, consistently rated one of the top 50 education websites in the world by Teach100. Follow him on Twitter @ProfessorJVH.

Lisa S. Romero, California State University, Sacramento

Lisa S. Romero is an Assistant Professor in the Doctorate of Educational Leadership Program in College of Education at California State University Sacramento.  Her research interests include: school improvement, educational inequity, race/ethnicity and gender, and education policy and politics.   Her research appears in a variety of journals including the Journal of Educational Administration, Educational Administration Quarterly, and Teachers College Record.  

Megan Hopkins, University of California, San Diego

Megan Hopkins is Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Drawing on organizational sociology, her research explores how to transform education systems to support teacher learning and development, with a particular focus on bilingual and multilingual contexts.




How to Cite

Vasquez Heilig, J., Romero, L. S., & Hopkins, M. (2017). Coign of vantage and action: Considering California’s local accountability and school finance plans for English learners. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25, 15.



Education Finance and English Language Learners