Nov 12, 2009

Public Education in California

"California schools are attempting to educate the most diverse and challenging school population in the country and doing it with substantially fewer human resources than almost any other state. The state has the most students, a diverse group of students, more English learners than any other state, and substantial numbers of students from low-income backgrounds. It will also soon again face increasing enrollment. At the same time, the state has fewer school staff per pupil than all other states and spends less than the national average per pupil. " -- Comparing California (June 2008)
I need your help! ...OK, if that wasn't convincing enough for you: California needs your help!

California's public education was ranked at the beginning of this year as 49th in the nation in general public education (and even in specific education categories such as technology). Compare this to 2007, when California came in at no. 14 -- either Californians care less about education, or everyone else stepped up their game (for more disheartening news about the state of California, see here).

This may or may not be new information to you, but my close friend and I are hoping to spread this news to our community members and mobilize them to find solutions and take action. We share many experiences, ideas, and resources; we don't have all the answers, but we have the drive to seek them.

I invite you to consider the following course objective for a class that we plan to facilitate next semester:

1. What is the nature of the subject matter or content of the course?
The subjects of this course are California public education, California state government and education institutional policy, the many cultures of California, and how these three subjects work with and against each other. The explorations of this course are based on academic literature and shared experiences. The nature of this course is collaborative learning and hands-on experience/practice in the public school sector and democratic practices in city and/or state government.

2. What are the key learning outcomes?
  1. To experience and build strong ties with the surrounding community and community-based education organizations by means of an understanding of the solidarity and equity discourses.
  2. To recognize one's self agency; to become empowered and empower others in order to mobilize for equity in public education at the grassroots level.
  3. To develop a better understanding of alternative systems, sites, and methods of education, as well as the multiplicity of experiences within public education.
  4. To practice one's power in democratic processes by working towards improving education at a structural level.
  5. To begin personal working definitions of an "equitable public education.
For more information, please read our course syllabus.

Feedback, ideas, resources, and general support is welcome and much needed!

Img Src: Cartoon Stock

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