Dr. Donald Evans, new Superintendent of the Berkeley Unified School District, met with the League’s Education Action Team on October 11, at the Team’s regular meeting. Cathy Lynch, co-chair of the Team, welcomed Dr. Evans and reported Ed Team’s recent work observing the youth courts that serve the middle schools and its interviews with middle school administrators; some of the administrators were positive about the youth courts, but funding is not secure. Dr. Evans and the Team agreed that it is important to find alternatives to suspension, since suspending students often leads them into more difficulties and even criminal behavior.
The conversation ranged widely, touching on the ways League members have helped run mock elections and register new voters in local high schools, on the League’s study of civics education in the Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville schools which found that the teaching of civics received very little attention in the curricula of the three districts, that teaching of civics was very uneven, depending very much on the interest of individual teachers, and that there was little or no evaluation of civics teaching. If you’d like to read the League’s report, click here.
Dr. Evans has been making an energetic effort to reach out to the Berkeley community and get to know its issues and concerns. League members attended several of these “town hall” meetings, as part of their own effort to get reconnected with and support our local schools. Education is a priority issue for League public education and advocacy this year for all the local leagues in California, because delegates voted to add it to the LWV California’s list of priorities at the May 2013 state convention. At the urging of Pat Kuhi, our own League members also voted to add education as a priority at our annual meeting this past June.
With the help of the Education Action Team, the League wrote a letter to Dr. Evans and the school Board welcoming Dr. Evans and telling him and the Board that the League is eager to support and work with them to improve our schools. The letter covered several main points:
• The State League and LWVBAE have made education, particularly the financing of education from early childhood through high school a priority this year
• LWVC’s education policies support pre-k through 12th grade public education that meets the needs of every student…
• Pre-K Readiness to Learn: LWVC supports efforts to make sure every student is ready to learn when he or she enters school
• The Local Control Funding Formula–the new state funding formula for local school districts
• Educating future citizens through effective civics education
• Alternatives to Suspension
You can read the League’s full letter here.
The photos above were taken at the Oct 11 meeting of the League’s Education Action Team with Dr. Evans. At top, Pat Kuhi, Dr. Evans, Christine Wenrich, and, from the back, Jinky Gardner, next Pat Kuhi and Donald Evans, Helene Lecar and the co-chairs of the Team, Diane McNenny and Cathy Lynch.
Filed by Nancy Bickel, for the Education Action Team Read more about the Team’s work on their webpage.
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