Celebrating the Positive
As the week closes and we head into a long weekend, I could rehash all the bad news about our education results, the budget crisis and California politics as usual. But instead I want to take a quick look back and reflect on the positive developments in CA over the last several months that might result in our state improving the quality of our education system for the majority of our students – students in poverty and students of color.
1. The drive to change seniority-based layoff policies continues. Five months ago, no one was talking about this issue. Now everyone is. There is one bill that passed out of committee in the Senate and another that may emerge in the Assembly and the Governor has stayed committed to changing this lunacy as part of the budget process. Nearly every major paper in California has raised it as an issue and there is a real drive from some of the state’s largest school districts to change a policy they know hurts kids.
2. We decided to apply for Race to the Top. The first time, we came in 27th. This time it looks like we’ll be doing a lot better job. The reform plan contains some great ideas for change and the process of placing some of our best education minds together in a collaborative has provided a great counterpoint to the typical rehashed adult-centered ideas generated by the Education Coalition.
3. A focus on a quality education as a civil right. It’s clear from the testimony of civil rights groups in opposition to seniority-based layoffs in high need schools; the decision by the judge in Los Angeles to force LA Unified to skip over the three middle schools in the layoff process; and the new drive from Public Advocates to force the state to pay for the quality education our children need in order to achieve those high state standards, that change is coming. And it is coming from outside Sacramento from those who see a quality education as a civil right. That momentum is going to build. Those who stand in the way – the education special interests and the tax payer associations – should be very afraid.
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