Carlston Family Foundation, Retreat and Symposium
On Saturday, November 3, 2007 the Board of the Carlston Family Foundation hosted a retreat and symposium on the current state of education in California with an advisory group of California high school teachers, previously selected by their former students for their profound impact on the students’ personal and academic lives and honored by the Foundation’s Outstanding Teachers of America Program. A day of lively discourse covered a broad spectrum of issues, including current testing and assessment standards, the quality of professional development programs in education, leadership in education, teacher pre-service training and education, teacher recruitment and retention and “best practices” in education.
Because the accountability movement in California demands improvement in the State’s high schools but has not addressed the root causes behind the low academic performance of high school students, the Foundation Honoree Advisory Group focused on identifying key policy changes necessary to address weaknesses in the California education system and intends to play a substantive role in facilitating policy decisions to create systemic solutions. The four general goals are to:
- Improve high school learning and improve test scores
- Improve teacher morale and foster a greater sense of “professionalism” among teachers
- Assist in the recruitment and retention of teachers
Improve data collection and analysis and use information to create professional development programs that are meaningful, pertinent to the needs of classroom teachers and based on extensive collaboration.
In order to reach the 4 general goals listed above, the Foundation Advisory Group identified six specific concerns profoundly affecting both the quality and equality of teaching and learning in California that continues to impede movement toward the achievement of these goals:
- The current student assessment process is cumbersome, time consuming and reduces the amount of critical classroom instructional time.
- The emphasis on testing and assessment has narrowed the breadth of the curriculum to focus primarily on English and Math and has reduced the availability of elective courses.
- The most inexperienced, under qualified and underprepared teachers are assigned to teach in the lowest performing and poorest socio-economic schools often resulting in continued poor student performance.
(NOTE: This is only the first page of the 4 page report)