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.
Early Childhood Education
Early Childhood Education prepares children to enter kindergarten with the skills they need to be successful in school rather than behind on day one. Some California children who need it the most are not currently in good quality programs. The future of California depends upon us tapping into the talents of all of our children. They are the future. Research shows that good quality preschool programs provide good returns on our investment. Children who participate in good quality programs are less likely to drop out of school; they are less likely to repeat a grade or to need special education. Once they enter the labor force, they earn more, pay more taxes, and are less likely to engage in criminal activity.
The Bay Area Council Early Childhood Education program provides leadership opportunities to the business community to drive changes in the education system to provide more good quality preschool and to enhance the lives of California’s children and thereby the economy and future of California.
The Bay Area economy is concentrated in knowledge-based occupations with many companies locating here to tap into a vast talent pool. The vibrant economy of the region is dependent on the innovations arising from the ideas and energies of the highly-skilled and educated workforce. Other regions around the world are competing with the Bay Area for business location, talented labor, researchers, and innovation. Talent vacancies loom as Baby Boomers retire. The education system must prepare all segments of the population to succeed in the knowledge economy. It takes years and a well-coordinated system to produce top engineers, nurses, designers, machinists, etc. , and it takes excellent educational institutions from beginning to end. It takes opportunities and programs for those who return to school and programs for job-training that does not require a four year degree. The programs must be conceived, monitored, and continuously improved to anticipate demand. It’s called the talent pipeline.
Early Childhood Education