Ron Talain &
(c) 2005 - 2013
Public Education 101
It is not always easy to understand the complexities of the California public education system. We hope the information on this page will help you make informed decisions when it comes time to select a school for your children, move into a new neighborhood, make a charitable donation, or act on voting day.
This page provides an overview of many of the education issues of interest to parents and community members, including information on the RCEF, the Redwood City schools, and public education in general. We have also provided links to other sites that have more detailed discussions on these important topics.
Please select from the list below to choose a topic:
The RCEF, like the many other education foundations in California, is dedicated to raising funds to provide opportunities to students that would otherwise not be available to them.
Because of gaps between the money schools receive from the state and federal governments and the demands made on them by a diverse student population, most schools are unable to provide what were formerly considered to be core subjects, such as music, art, and physical education. Every school district in the state faces a unique set of challenges, but one thing many have in common is the existence of a community-based education foundation.
Education foundations can help make up the funding gap, and they also offer a unique opportunity for the community to exercise local control over education spending. Because of federal and state government mandates, much of the education budget is already spoken for. School districts that want to provide programs not directly called for by the state or federal government typically turn to their local education foundation for help.
To learn more about education foundations in California, please see: California Consortium of Education Foundations.
Click on the links below to learn more about Redwood City's public elementary schools:
In Redwood City, schools are operated by two districts: the Redwood City School District and the Sequoia Union High School District.
The Redwood City School District (RCSD) operates elementary and middle schools serving students from Kindergarten to grade 8. The district serves more than 8,000 students and has 16 public schools and one charter school. For more information please visit the, RCSD website or view the district's profile at Great Schools.
The Sequoia Union High School District oversees high schools serving grades 9 to 12 in Redwood City. Students are drawn from Redwood City and the neighboring communities of Atherton, Belmont, Menlo Park, Woodside, and San Carlos. For more information see: Sequoia Union High School District.
For more statistical information about how the two school districts, their schools, students, test scores, and teachers compare, see the California Department of Education’s web site: Education Data Partnership.
The schools of the Redwood City School District are:
The RCSD is continuing its upward trend of improvement in API scores. On the tests given in 2006/07, 12 of our 16 schools achieved API scores of 700 or higher, and the district’s overall score was 765. This is higher than Roy Cloud’s 1998 score of 738, the highest result of any neighborhood school that year. At that time, only two of our schools, Roy Cloud and North Star scored over 700.
For more information about our district's API scores, please visit the RCSD website.
Follow the links below to learn more about public education in California. For a useful introduction to school issues, please see our RCEF California Public Education Funding Overview (pdf). Another useful source of information about education in California is EdSource OnLine.
School districts receive most of their public funds from three sources: the federal government, state revenue, and local taxes. The amount of funds allocated to each district is largely determined by a complex, state-controlled finance system. Improving this system is politically challenging and often takes a long time. Consequently, local communities have increasingly relied on two strategies to raise additional funds for their neighborhood schools: passing a local parcel tax and contributing private funds, usually through a parent/teacher organization (PTA or PTO) or a districtwide education foundation, like the RCEF.
For resources on California school finance, see:
Redwood City public schools are held accountable by the state and federal governments for their performance through a variety of ways.
The state sets goals for schools with curriculum standards that define what students are required to know and be able to do. The RCSD has adopted textbooks that are aligned with the state standards, and teachers teach to the standards through a variety of creative methods.
Since 1998, California’s students in grades 2 through 11 have been required to take annual tests called the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program. The results of these tests are the cornerstone of the state’s accountability system.
In addition, schools administer other types of assessments that help them determine student progress throughout the year and/or how well students are meeting district expectations of performance.
The federal government also has an accountability and testing system for schools that receive federal funds, called the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The measurement used by NCLB is the Adequate Yearly Progress or AYP. The state API data, plus other considerations, are used to determine if a school or district has met its AYP target each year.
California's accountability progress reporting system integrates both the state's API and the federal government's AYP data.
For more resources, please visit:
California's Accountability & Testing System
STAR Program & Reports
No Child Left Behind Act & AYP