ACSA EdCal logo.
Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
News Briefs | FYI
May 3, 2021
CDE: 160,000 fewer K-12 students enrolled in 2020-21
California’s K-12 schools experienced a steep decline in enrollment in the 2020-21 academic year, according to California Department of Education data released in late April.
The annual snapshot of fall enrollment shows a sharp one-year decline as the state and nation grappled with a deadly pandemic that disrupted all aspects of public education. Overall enrollment is down from 6,163,001 in 2019–20 to 6,002,523 in 2020–21, a decrease of more than 160,000 students and 2.6 percent from the prior year. This follows a modest, steady decline in public school enrollment statewide since 2014–15.
Data show that 88 percent of the statewide drop in enrollment from the prior year occurred in kindergarten to sixth grade. The largest grade-level decreases in the enrollment data can be found in kindergarten and in grade six.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said in a news release the CDE will redouble its efforts to work with school leaders to gain a deeper understanding of the myriad reasons behind the drop, while helping school districts bolster effective student and family engagement strategies in the weeks and months ahead.
“In a year that has been so challenging for educators, students and families, it is concerning to see this decrease, especially those in our youngest grades,” Thurmond said. “While there are many reasons to stay optimistic that enrollment will rebound as conditions improve, allowing more schools to safely return to in-person instruction, we also must help schools identify opportunities to engage with families who either sought new options for their students during the pandemic or need additional resources and support to connect with school and succeed.”
The data is compiled by the CDE from data submitted annually by Local Educational Agencies to the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System.
Under state law enacted during the pandemic, school districts will not experience a decline in revenues due to 2020–21 enrollment figures.
The updated enrollment data is available on the CDE’s Data Quest website
LAUSD Supt Beutner to step down in June
The head of the Los Angeles Unified School District has announced he will leave his position.
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner announced April 21 that he would step down at the end of his contract term on June 30. Beutner, who has headed the district since 2018, said in a statement that it has been “the most rewarding job I’ve held during my nearly 40-year career” and that the new superintendent should “have the privilege of welcoming students back to school in the fall.”
In a statement, the LAUSD Board thanked Beutner for his “unwavering leadership” during the district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which included serving 120 million meals to students and families in need, providing devices and internet connectivity to every student, and administering COVID tests and vaccinations for the school community. LAUSD has recently begun reopening school campuses to in-person learning for the first time in more than a year.
“Part of the reason I felt comfortable with the transition is in a certain sense we’ve done the hardest part — reopening schools in the safest way possible and putting in a series of plans to help with student learning recovery,” Beutner said during ACSA’s Legislative Lunch Break on April 28.
During the conversation with ACSA, Beutner spoke about state policy makers during COVID (“they’ve got to move quicker”), combating teacher burnout, innovative ideas for overcoming learning gaps and the challenges of leading the state’s largest school district.
“It was hard before COVID, and since COVID, we have become not just a school, but a relief organization,” he said.
Beutner said he was proud of LAUSD’s ability to stand up and serve its students and families during this difficult time.
“Maybe the silver lining is in all of this: the communities we serve and the broader community better understands just how central a role public education plays,” he said. “But the next chapter has to be all of them getting in the game and helping us.”
NCTQ: More states must verify teachers can teach reading
The National Council on Teacher Quality has released new data and analysis examining recent trends in states’ policies governing the preparation and licensure of new public school teachers. Among the top findings is that only 11 states currently verify that all teacher candidates planning to teach either elementary or special education have learned the most effective methods for teaching children how to read — arguably the most important skill these teachers need.
Low literacy rates in the United States were a problem before the pandemic, with annual measures reporting that nearly one million 4th grade students are barely able to read, if at all. Instructional loss due to the pandemic is likely to raise this number substantially, elevating the need for more teachers to have expertise in reading instruction.
While most states (32) have regulations stating that educator preparation programs must address the components of effective reading instruction, these regulations tend to be poorly enforced by states. Nearly half of teacher preparation programs still do not require aspiring elementary candidates to thoroughly cover the science of reading in coursework. That’s why 20 states (including California) look to licensing tests dedicated to fully assessing knowledge of the science of reading before new elementary teachers enter the classroom.
Read the report at
EdSource names new executive director Vasquez
EdSource, the nonprofit news source for California education, has announced Anne Vasquez as its next executive director.
“We feel extremely fortunate to be able to appoint someone who brings an entrepreneurial spirit but who is also familiar with EdSource, a thriving nonprofit with a wide and growing audience,” said Board President Susanna Cooper.
Vasquez succeeds Louis Freedberg, who has decided to step down after 10 years at the helm so he can return to reporting and writing on education in greater depth.
Vasquez is an experienced journalist who has held increasing roles of responsibilities in major newsrooms nationally. She is currently director of content and strategic initiatives for EdSource, and has been with the organization for the past 2 1/2 years. Her first job in journalism was at The Miami Herald, her hometown paper.
ACSA seeks mentors to give back to the profession
ACSA is looking for volunteers to serve as mentors. Giving back to your chosen profession is not only admirable but highly rewarding as well. While many active and retired administrators have signed up to be mentors, there is still a high need for mentors in specialty areas, such as distance learning, business operations and special education. If you have a background in any area where you were considered to be a ‘‘specialist’’ or served in some other unique role, please consider participating in the ACSA Mentoring Program as a mentor. Go to for the application, where you can sign up to be a mentor or a protégé.
Watch recordings of ACSA candidates town halls
Candidates for ACSA Vice President and Vice President for Legislative Action participated in two town hall forums held last month to answer questions about why they should lead ACSA. Watch recordings of these forums and hear what the candidates had to say by visiting ACSA’s Resource Hub. Find the videos at
Committee has school administrator vacancy
The Commission on Teacher Credentialing is seeking applications to fill vacancies for Public Member, School Administrator, and Secondary Teacher positions on the Committee of Credentials. The application can be found at The final filing date for applications is May 26, 2021.
Contact Us

© 2020 Association of California School Administrators