The Bay Area Council is working to reform California’s education system by creating a strategic plan to put in place a data system and reform finance and governance.
California’s students are far behind those in other states on many measures of achievement. On the 2005 National Assessment of Education Progress, for example, California ranked seventh from the bottom in eighth grade math when compared to other states. California performed third lowest in reading and second to the lowest in science, ahead of only Mississippi.
Some would offer as explanation the amount of English-language learners and the highly diverse population of the state, but Texas has similar challenges and scores better. California has clearly been making better progress more recently and since beginning the establishment of world class content standards for curriculum.
Given the importance to the lives of children currently in our school system and those to follow, we have to do better and we can. Our students are competing in a global system with students in schools all over the world for the jobs of the future. California can return to its former position as the state with a exemplary educational system, from preschool through graduate school, and everything in between.
The Education Committee learned that California lacks a strategic plan for collecting and reporting student information and has its data system ranked 48th among the states. The Committee took a leadership position on the data system, believing strongly that good data would be necessary for quality decisions in all areas. We have met with policymakers and have brought in experts to speak to members and to appear at a Hearing in Sacramento on the data system. The Committee anticipates working on data system design and improvement s for the next few years, in addition to driving policy on finance and governance reform as those issues develop.
In a globally competitive workplace, early education is no longer optional. The Committee intends to make the case to the larger business community, and to the citizenry of the State of California, that we can no longer allow children to enter school unprepared to learn and to succeed.
The Workforce Development Committee seeks to develop and strengthen ties between educational institutions and industry to identify skills, support curricula development, and ensure a seamless supply of qualified workers at every employment level. We also support career technical education in the high schools. We advocate for the Education Data System to be expanded to include data on what happens after high school. The Bay Area Council strongly supports including post-secondary education, military, criminal justice, trade school, employment, and social services data into a comprehensive longitudinal data system from preschool into the workforce.
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