America’s lowest achieving students need the support of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. And yet, her voice has been notably silent.
As I write my penultimate column, I reflect on the most critical issues confronting our region’s future progress and economic vitality. There is little doubt that the quality of public education is number one.
Spring can be a period of new beginnings for all of us. Or it can be more of the same: a war of words and posturing while some of our children fail to achieve their academic potential.
As we turn the page on the election, Sam Liccardo and Dave Cortese each have an enormous responsibility to heal the wounds created by the race. Doing so could go a long way toward accomplishing city and county goals, such as eliminating the achievement gap in our schools.
How many more years will the country and Silicon Valley put up with broken promises made to our children, before it is too late for us to recover from the lack of political will? This year we commemorate the 30-year anniversary of a national report that provided a clarion call to improve our public education system.
This year, working with newly elected Santa Clara County Office of Education President Grace Mah and Trustee Darcie Green, as well as city and county leaders, we will launch a grassroots effort to secure quality preschool for all of the county’s 3 and 4 year olds. There is a roadmap to achieve the goal.
We can argue over whether it is a fiscal cliff or slope, but the real challenge for America in the coming decades is improving the mediocre results of public education. The facts show that we are in a precarious position as a nation and as the largest state—11 percent of America’s children are enrolled in California schools.
As chair of the county Board of Education the last two years, I have concluded that the delivery, organization and governance of public education has changed markedly in San Jose/Silicon Valley. Much of the disequilibrium has been generated by the federal initiative called “Race to the Top,” and the Obama administration’s embrace of school choice through the advocacy of quality charter schools.