SJ2020

Shaky Math Doesn’t Help Local Schools

Next Tuesday, Jan. 31, is the deadline to apply to be hired as Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. This new leader must have courage to identify and publicize real solutions to our county’s ethnic and socioeconomic gaps in math and English student proficiency and to support those solutions with verifiable data.

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SJ2020 Confronts the Achievement Gap

It has been 644 days since America elected its first African-American President and race issues continue to plague our nation in ways that indicate a trend line of grave concern. The racial achievement gap is one of the most pressing issues of our time. SJ2020 is working on a strategic plan to eliminate the achievement gap in the next 10 years in San Jose and Silicon Valley.

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Educate, Don’t Incarcerate

Are we crazy or what? It costs the state of California more than $225,000 to incarcerate one youth in the Department of Juvenile Justice system per year, yet we are only compensating school districts about $7,000 per year to educate a student.

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Gen. Colin Powell on Ending the ‘Moral Catastrophe’ of Increasing Dropouts

The BP Gulf Coast oil disaster continues unabated. The gushing oil and gas are poisoning the gulf waters and polluting Louisiana’s coastal beaches in the most horrendous environmental catastrophe of the 21st century. This appears to be America’s Chernobyl. However, this incredible fouling of our nation’s waters and beaches pales in comparison to the degradation of our nation through the declining American educational system.

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New Study Shows that Middle Schools Can Make a Big Difference

We now know, based on a large-scale research study by EdSource and Stanford University, why some middle-grade schools do better than others, irrespective of the socioeconomic level of their students. According to the findings, school practices related to instruction mean more than family income in predicting student success.

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Subs Deserve Respect, Too

According to Carolyn Bucior, who is writing a memoir about substitute teaching, 5.2 percent of teachers nationwide are absent on any given day, a rate three times as high as that of other professionals and one and a half times higher than teachers in Britain. Regular full-time teachers receive 10 sick days per year, by collective bargaining agreement.

By the time a student completes 12th grade he has had substitute teachers for almost one year of his 13 years of schooling.

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Bad Teachers Should Go

Why is public education failing too many of its client students? Why does the achievement gap still persist in most of our schools? Taking the macro view I wonder: Is this a systems problem or a human capital problem? Or both? On Friday of last week I attended the professional development seminar sponsored by the Santa Clara County Office of Education and SJ2020. During the morning presentation by nationally renowned researcher Dr. Robert Marzano, the 250 conference attendees learned he believes it is a systems problem not a teacher capital problem.

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More on the Achievement Gap

Whoa! The achievement gap continues to be a very controversial topic to many SJI posters. I was the guest of my wife, Chris, last Wednesday at San Jose’s Downtown Rotary Club. She invited me because County Superintendent Weis was the luncheon speaker presenting about SJ2020 (a City and school district initiative to close the achievement gap), currently in its embryonic stages. When Superintendent Weis participated in the Q & A immediately following his 20-minute talk, the first question from the audience was predictable

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Confronting Racism in Education

Historically, civil rights issues have been a struggle. Yet solvable they are. My epiphany after last week’s unexpected tsunami of racist comments on SJI in response to my post was, sadly, that we have not come as far as I thought we had as an enlightened community. However, the bright rays of hope that we can still succeed in the goal of eliminating the achievement gap were built into the altruistic beliefs spoken by the students who are engaged in their quest to become teachers for the children in San Jose.

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SJ2020: A Civil Rights Challenge

For the number one civil rights issue of our time, there was a distinct lack of passion at the rollout of SJ2020 last Thursday at City Hall. However, the singular goal of the initiative is very bold. Just the fact the event was held at the Council Chambers in the 10th largest city in the United States was significant. Congratulations to San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Superintendent Chuck Weis for pulling together the community to embrace the mission of becoming the first large urban region in the United States to eliminate the achievement gap in 10 years.

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