|Office of the Chancellor / Public Affairs||
Monday, November 15, 2004
Sacramento Bee 11-15-04
Opinion: Staying the course on state school reform
California schools should have clear goals for student learning and clear accountability when those goals are not met. It's just plain common sense. But such a system did not exist in California until the late 1990s. Since then, governors and legislators of both political parties have affirmed this direction for California schools. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is committed to staying the course on California's proven system of school reform.
It makes sense that he would. California's academic standards begin with the idea that all children can learn and that all children deserve the same educational opportunities regardless of their background.
Our governor is deeply committed to hard work and high expectations. He wants the same opportunity for every child in California.
Recently, Schwarzenegger affirmed his commitment to stay the course with standards-based education and adopted the following principles:
* Safeguard the state Board of Education's adopted academic content standards as the foundation of California's K-12 educational system.
* Ensure that curriculum is rigorous, standards-aligned and research-based, using Board of Education-adopted materials or standards-aligned textbooks in grades nine through 12 to prepare children for college or the work force.
* Ensure the availability of Board of Education-adopted instructional materials for kindergarten and grades one through eight and locally adopted standards-aligned instructional materials in grades nine through 12.
* Support professional development for teachers on the adopted instructional materials that are used in the classroom.
* Maintain the state's assessment and accountability system.
* Ensure that the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and all teacher training institutes use Board of Education-adopted standards as the basis for determining the subject matter competency of teacher candidates.
* Strengthen coordination between K-12 and higher education.
The governor is not in this business to play political games with California's schools. He wants to continue reforms that are based on a proven formula: clear goals; quality, trained people; textbooks aligned with academic standards; and accountability for learning. California has taken an important first step by testing and reporting results publicly.
Students can't achieve these goals unless they have highly qualified teachers and the best textbooks.
We are committed to enticing the best and brightest to lead and teach in our schools.
California has invested unprecedented resources in providing training focused on the state's academic standards. The same effort has gone into instructional materials. The Board of Education will continue to adopt quality textbooks aligned to the standards.
These investments must continue. But much more can be done. We must call upon the University of California, the California State University and other teacher education programs to do a better job to make certain that their training programs are also focused on California's academic content standards.
This is a "no excuses" governor who recognizes that for California schools to continue to improve, everyone must be accountable - educators, local school boards, parents, students, as well as the broader community.
The governor recognizes that California's rigorous academic standards provide the foundation to build upon - ensuring that we meet every child coming to our schools with the same high expectations for success. We have the obligation to provide that education. California's children deserve no less.
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