A Brief History
Michael H. Rubin
In the early 1980's, the call for reform of the nation's schools
resounded throughout the country. The landmark report of the
National Commission on Excellence in Education, A Nation at
Risk, highlighted "the rising tide of mediocrity"
that threatened the schools, the economy, and the nation.
Compared to their peers in other countries, the poor performance
of U.S. students suggested that American schools must improve
to enable all students to reach higher levels of academic
achievement. At the same time, larger numbers of students
were becoming increasingly dependent on the effectiveness
of the schools to prepare them to succeed in this increasingly
In California, the clamor for reform drew a quick and dramatic
response. The Hughes-Hart Education Act emerged in 1983 as
the most comprehensive school reform package in California
history. The legislation, known as SB 813, granted $800 million
in new funds for over 80 public education reforms to increase
the length of the school day, and a mentor teacher program,
Collaboration between schools and colleges was recognized
as a potentially powerful vehicle for educational reform.
MESA (Mathematics, Engineering
and Science Achievement) and CalSOAP (California Student
Opportunity and Access), programs founded in the late 1970s,
had achieved notable success in promoting educational equity.
The effectiveness and vitality of these collaborative student
outreach programs suggested to educational leaders that faculty
from colleges and universities could work directly with their
counterparts in the public schools to influence positively
the educational experiences of middle and high school students.
The California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) was conceived
to test the viability of this collaborative model in the service
of school reform and educational equity efforts. First established
under SB 8, the scope of CAPP was further refined and funded
under AB 398 (Hughes) in 1984. The purpose of CAPP, as stated
in this legislation, is:
To this end, CAPP provides grants to develop partnerships
models focused on improved curriculum, with teams of faculty
and administrators from schools and colleges working together
to improve the secondary school curricula so that more students
are better prepared for college. CAPP activities center on
the development of partnerships in which participants work
together as equals to meet students' educational needs, continuation
of the partnership does not depend on supplementary funding
for continued operation, and significant improvement in the
academic performance of all students is the outcome.
Responsibility for administering CAPP was placed with the California
State University (CSU) in cooperation with the University of
California, the California Community Colleges, and the California
Department of Education. A statutory Advisory Committee - whose
members are appointed by the heads of the four public educational
systems, the California Postsecondary Education Commission and
the California Student Aid Commission-was established to recommend
policies, procedures, and funding priorities to the CSU Chancellor.
CAPP's Early Years »