BAC Convenes Leading Superintendents to Strategize Improving Student Achievement

By Linda Galliher

The magnitude and complexity of the challenges facing California public schools is no secret. California’s public education system is not only one of the nations largest and most diverse, but is also one of the lowest funded per pupil. Despite recent “silver bullet” attempts at reform, drop-out rates and poor performance on standardized tests continue to plague the system.

Recognizing the status quo as morally and economically unacceptable, education stakeholders across the state have been mobilizing to find a comprehensive, sustainable solution. As part of the Race to the Top second round application, experienced superintendents have been meeting to discuss and plan innovative strategies to improve college-readiness in their districts. Despite shrinking budgets, these leaders plan to meet the challenge of preparing every student for a career or college head-on.

On Tuesday June 22, The Bay Area Council hosted a meeting between these superintendents, other education reform leaders, and Dr. Jerry Weast of the Montgomery County School District in Maryland. Dr. Weast has been leading a dramatic transformation in student achievement in Montgomery County for the past 11 years, boasting an unprecedented reduction in the achievement gap while simultaneously improving student performance at all student levels. Since Montgomery County has similar characteristics to many Californian districts, Dr. Weast shared his experience and strategy with the group.

It was clear from the meeting that while challenges persist and grow for public education, California has the leadership, talent, and drive to drastically improve student outcomes. However, turning California’s public education system around will take leadership on several levels and partnership across sectors. The Bay Area Council has been a leading voice for education reform in California and views the business community as an invaluable player in the future of California public education.

Watch the video clip below to see a portion of Dr. Weast’s presentation.

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