Campus: CSU Long Beach -- September 14, 2001
U.S. Secretary of Education Paige Lauds Long Beach Education Partnership
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige traveled to Long Beach on Friday,
Sept. 7, to see first-hand the shared successes of California State University,
Long Beach and Bret Harte Elementary School, which work together under
the seamless education initiative of the Long Beach Education Partnership.
The visit to Bret Harte was one of several Paige will make on his cross-country
"Back to School, Moving Forward" tour to promote school accountability
through family, school and community activity.
In addition to spending time with children in their classrooms and at
an all-school spirit assembly, he participated in a roundtable discussion
with key partnership participants including U.S. Congressman Steve Horn,
California State University Chancellor Charles Reed, CSULB President Robert
Maxson, Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Carl Cohn, Bret
Harte School Principal Diane Brown and Teacher Specialist Patti Nagano.
The partnership between the university and the school includes several
teacher education students working with experienced teachers in the classroom
as part of earning their own credentials. The university also offers specialized
training to the school's teachers. Paige pointed to Bret Harte School's
accomplishments as indicative of the overall effectiveness of the Long
Beach Education Partnership in helping children succeed in the classroom.
"The seamlessness of your system is something America should really
pay attention to and I want to congratulate you on that."
According to Cohn, the district and university have focused on better
preparation of teachers and improving the quality of teaching and teacher
development. Pointing to increases in reading and math scores over the
past four years at the school, Cohn stated, "SAT 9 results confirm
we do an outstanding job."
Maxson noted that one benefit to the program is that aspiring teachers
learn the realities of teaching in an urban classroom before earning their
credentials. "There are no shortcuts," he said, "just roll
up your sleeves and course by course, make sure children are learning
what they need."
Reed discussed CSU's role in teacher preparation in California, already
preparing 60 percent of the state's teachers and planning to increase
teacher numbers by some 15,000 next year. Considering the state's increasing
demand for qualified instructors, Reed said, "We need more teachers
who look like their students. The only place I know where we can recruit
these teachers is in the classroom."
Paige was particularly complimentary of the shared commitment of teachers,
administrators and community members to include themselves as part of
the solution to improving schools.
Referencing President George W. Bush's "Leave No Child Behind"
education reform plan, Paige said, "If a school changes and becomes
really productive, it will be because of the people who walk around in
the building. It will not do so because of the people who walk the halls
of Congress. We must provide the resources to help the people in the building
get the job done."