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.


Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
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.
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
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.
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Roundtable Webinar: Why We Created a Portrait of a Graduate
Hear from three K-12 leaders for insights into their school’s Portrait of a Graduate and learn how to create your own.
Content provided by Otus

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 How Teachers Build Confidence to Motivate Middle Schoolers in STEM
Sixth through eighth grade marks a shift in what motivates students, presenting a big challenge for science and math teachers.
8 min read
Photo illustration of teen boy working with model.
F. Sheehan for Education Week + E+ / Getty
Student Achievement What the Research Says Want to Boost Students’ Focus During Tests? Check the Time of Day
New study finds distractions spikes when students take reading and math assessments after lunch
3 min read
Illustration of test items on a flat surface, including test booklet, test sheets, pencils, eraser and pencil sharpener.
DigitalVision Vectors + iStock/Getty + Education Week
Student Achievement Opinion The Trouble With 'Equitable Grading'
Equitable grading does in fact lead to lower standards, argue two critics of the practice.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Student Achievement Opinion Does 'Grading for Equity' Result in Lower Standards?
Equitable grading doesn’t call for heightened leniency, says the author of a book on the subject.
11 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty