Education Funding

California Leaders Set Up Own School Committees

By Joetta L. Sack — April 19, 2005 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell have formed separate committees to study ways to improve education in the state.

Both panels are planning to tackle at least some of the work of the Quality Education Commission, which was authorized by the legislature in 2002 to study the adequacy of education funding.

BRIC ARCHIVE

Gov. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, appointed 15 members April 8 to the Committee for Educational Excellence, which, he announced in January, would supplant the Quality Education Commission. The new panel, led by Theodore R. Mitchell, the president of Occidental College, will have a broader scope in recommending school changes than the commission that was scrapped by the governor.

In particular, over the next two years, the Committee for Educational Excellence will examine not only the distribution and adequacy of education aid, but also governance, school leadership, and recruitment and retention of teachers and administrators.

The committee will take a collaborative approach to examining finances and adequacy when it meets for the first time next month, Mr. Mitchell said.

“This is a committee that is bipartisan because there are not Republican ideas or Democratic ideas, but ideas that will make a difference for kids,” he said. “That will be our watchword.”

BRIC ARCHIVE

Meanwhile, the P16 Council named April 11 by Mr. O’Connell, a former Democratic state senator, will focus on creating better transitions grade to grade from prekindergarten through college. The 44 members of the bipartisan panel will be led by Barry Munitz, the president and chief executive officer of the J. Paul Getty Trust and a former California State University chancellor.

The group, which is slated to meet for the first time on May 17, will build on Mr. O’Connell’s 1-year-old initiative to improve high schools, said Hilary McLean, a spokeswoman for the state superintendent. The P16 Council, which Mr. O’Connell announced in December, does not have a time frame for its work.

“Different segments of California’s education system have been working in isolation for too long,” the state schools chief said in a statement last week. “We can better help our students meet the challenge of high standards and high expectations if the entire system is better coordinated.”

Some observers say that both committees have the potential to bridge factions that have been warring with one another on school issues.

Cooperation Pledged

Sacramento’s political scene has been particularly prickly this year, with many education groups fighting Gov. Schwarzenegger’s proposals to change the state’s school aid formula and teacher-tenure system, implement merit pay, and require districts to shoulder more administrative costs. (“School Groups in ‘Dogfight’ With California Governor,” March 30, 2005.)

Mr. Mitchell of Occidental College said the governor’s commission would reach out to members of the teachers’ unions and other groups that Mr. Schwarzenegger has been at odds with recently.

“We want very much to have input from formally constituted groups and informal groups as well,” Mr. Mitchell said. “There have already been informal conversations with the teachers’ unions, and we hope to keep those lines open.”

Skeptics question the value of the new commission after the governor has already advanced a broad education agenda. In an April 8 conference call, California reporters hammered Mr. Mitchell with questions about why the governor was pushing forward with his far-reaching education proposals before the committee could do its research and make recommendations.

“Our task is to work on long-term policy prospects for state,” Mr. Mitchell said. “Whether they circumscribe some of governor’s proposals, I don’t know, because the committee hasn’t met yet.”

Mr. Schwarzenegger remains committed to his other proposals, added Julie Soderlund, a spokeswoman for the governor.

Ms. McLean, the spokesman for Superintendent O’Connell, said the P16 Council would not compete with the governor’s committee, and she added that the chairmen of the two panels were close colleagues from the world of higher education who would likely collaborate.

Further, some members, including San Francisco schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and University of California regent and former Paramount Pictures president Sherry L. Lansing, will be on both panels.

“The two commissions are going to work closely together, and are not contradictory in any way,” Ms. McLean said.

Events

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.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes with Teacher-Student Relationships
Explore strategies for strengthening teacher-student relationships and hear how districts are putting these methods into practice to support positive student outcomes.
Content provided by Panorama Education
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.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Transform Teaching and Learning with AI
Increase productivity and support innovative teaching with AI in the classroom.
Content provided by Promethean
Curriculum Webinar Computer Science Education Movement Gathers Momentum. How Should Schools React?
Discover how schools can expand opportunities for students to study computer science education.

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

Education Funding EPA Doubles Aid for Electric, Natural Gas-Powered School Buses, Citing High Demand
The $965 million in funding helps schools replace existing diesel buses with zero- and low-emissions alternatives.
2 min read
A row of flat-front yellow school buses with green bumpers are parked in front of white electric charging units.
Stockton Unified School District's new electric bus fleet sits parked in front of charging stations.
Business Wire via AP
Education Funding Districts Steer Federal Teacher-Quality Funding Into Recruitment, Retention
Efforts to recruit teachers and create "grow your own" programs are in; class-size reduction and teacher evaluation are out.
5 min read
Blurred view of the back of students in a classroom with their hands raised answering to a female teacher
E+/Getty
Education Funding In Their Own Words This Superintendent's Tiny, Rural District Got No COVID Aid. Here's Why That Hurts
The aid formula left Long Lake, N.Y., out of the mix. The superintendent worries that could happen for other kinds of aid in the future.
3 min read
Long Lake Superintendent Noelle Short in front of Long Lake Central School in Long Lake, N.Y., on Sept. 1, 2022.
Noelle Short is the superintendent of a single-school district in upstate New York with fewer than 100 students.
Heather Ainsworth for Education Week
Education Funding Grants Aim to Support Alaska Native Students' Education, Well-Being
The U.S. Department of Education is providing more than $35 million for projects in its latest round of funding.
2 min read
The East Anchorage High and Scammon Bay students gather at a home in the Native Village to learn how to comb fur from a musk ox hide using special combs and common forks. The fur can later be spun into yarn.
Students from East Anchorage High School and Scammon Bay, Alaska, gather to learn how to comb fur from a musk ox hide through a federally funded cultural and educational program for Alaska Native students.
Erin Irwin/Education Week