|Office of the Chancellor / Public Affairs||
Monday, November 15, 2004
Sacramento Bee 11-14-04
Editorial: Intolerable conditions
Consider the grievances: leaky roofs, clogged toilets, too few qualified teachers and a lack of desks and modern textbooks. They hamper learning at too many California schools, a conclusion made patently clear in the Williams v. California court case.
In settling the case, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger acknowledged the state's constitutional responsibility to ensure that all public schoolchildren have access to the basic educational tools they need to learn.
Now the State Board of Education is doing its part to fulfill the terms of the Williams settlement. It has instituted a much-needed tracking system.
The board voted at its Nov. 9 meeting to require that all schools add three areas to the annual School Accountability Report Card they provide to the public: teacher qualifications, building conditions and textbook availability.
Armed with this information, the pressure will be on to assure all schools meet minimal conditions so teachers can teach and students can learn. Next comes a system of inspection.
When California voters passed Proposition 98 in 1988 to assure stable funding for public schools (approximately 40 percent of the general fund), they also required increased accountability. All California schools provide the public with an annual School Accountability Report Card showing student achievement, dropout rates, class sizes, school safety and discipline, school spending and other items.
Tracking teacher qualifications, building conditions and textbook availability - by schools, school districts, county offices of education and the California Department of Education - also is basic to fulfilling the state's constitutional mission for public education.
The annual School Accountability Report Card is an excellent way to provide
this information to the larger public. Let the sun shine in.
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