Student Achievement

Wish List for Schools

By Linda Jacobson — February 14, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

California’s schools are not doing what they should to prepare the state’s more than 6 million students for a society in which technological advances are occurring at lightning speed and business can be conducted around the clock, anywhere in the world, Jack O’Connell, the state superintendent of public instruction, said last week.

During a State of Education Address that was at times harsh on public schools, he cited the achievement gaps between black and Hispanic students and their white peers in elementary grades, noting that the gaps widen as students get older.


It was Mr. O’Connell’s third such address since being elected to the post in 2002.

“Quite simply, in the demanding global economy, the achievement gap not only threatens the future of our students, but also the future economic health and security of our state and nation,” Mr. O’Connell said. “The simple yet terrible fact is that the population of students that is growing the fastest in this state is the population that is lagging the furthest behind.”

The state, he said, is facing a serious teacher shortage, one that will be made worse when an estimated 97,000 teachers retire over the next 10 years.

Mr. O’Connell, a former Democratic state lawmaker, said he would work with the legislature and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He called for “fully funding” regional teacher-recruitment centers and for incentives to lure talented educators into the classroom, particularly in low-performing schools. He also called for expanding professional-development programs for teachers in science, history, and the social sciences, and recommended $53 million in new spending to provide academic coaches in all subject areas in struggling schools.

Mr. O’Connell said he would also work with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to establish new pathways for becoming a teacher.

“Not long ago, a job opening for a high school principal would get 50 or more applicants,” he added. “Today, only a handful of applicants will appear.”

Mary Perry, the deputy director of EdSource, a nonprofit policy-analysis organization in Mountain View, Calif., said Mr. O’Connell’s ideas might be well received since he’s proposing programs that were halted when the economy was in trouble. But there will still be the “question of how much money is available,” she said.


English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Achievement Spotlight Spotlight on Intervention
This Spotlight will help you dig into intervention from multiple angles: 504 plans, tutoring, SEL for teenagers, and more.
Student Achievement What New Data Reveal About Students' Math and Reading Performance Right Now
The results of a new study show the magnitude of the task schools have ahead of them.
6 min read
Image of a teacher taking questions in a classroom.
Student Achievement Longer COVID-Related School Closures Could Hurt Students' Future Earnings
Students who experienced the longest school closures will face lower future earnings and are less likely to go to college, a new study says.
Olivia Rockeman and Nic Querolo, Bloomberg News
1 min read
Empty desks in a dark classrooom
Student Achievement What the Research Says Here's One Way to Improve Students' Reading Scores: Get Them Eyeglasses
Schools need to do more than just vision screenings, new research says, especially after students have spent so much time learning on screen.
5 min read
Image of eyeglasses and an eye examine chart with letters.