FAIRFIELD — Local school districts, like districts all over the state, are dealing with new school funding methods and the Common Core Standards at the same time.
“We are really in a historic time,” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck said Wednesday.
In case anyone had doubts, he added, “It’s complicated.”
Speck spoke during the annual Solano County Board of Education workshop that looks at the coming school year. The board governs the county Office of Education.
School districts such as Fairfield-Suisun, Vacaville and Travis run most of the local schools and have their own school boards. The Office of Education does such things as look at regional educational issues, oversee school district budgets, offer teacher training, provide instruction for some special education students and operate a community school for at-risk youths.
The Office of Education is putting together what it calls its “strategic thinking roadmap.” Common Core Standards and new local control school funding will provide a backdrop.
Common Core is a nationwide effort to establish educational standards. California is among 45 states that have adopted the English standards and 46 states that have adopted the math standards.
California did so in 2010 and the county Office of Education that same year began promoting awareness of the standards, agency Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Sandy Jessop said. California is to begin Common Core testing of students in 2015.
“All of our districts are well-poised for moving in this direction,” Jessop said.
Board member Michelle Coleman said the public seems to be just becoming aware of the Common Core Standards.
“There’s some controversy around it,” Speck replied. “But I don’t think it’s for lack of being out there talking about it.”
Board member Mayrene Bates talked about letters in the newspaper opposing Common Core. The county needs to do a better job countering some of the things that are out there, she said.
“But I do see why the public gets so upset,” Bates said. “Just a few years ago, it was No Child Left Behind and the hoopla around that. Now it’s this.”
Board member Doug Ford said Common Core could be the greatest thing that ever happened in education, if done correctly. If not, it could be a real mess, he said.
Board members also talked about the new way the state is funding school districts, with the goal of giving districts more local control. Speck said full implementation will take several years.
“There’s a lot of assumptions about how all of this will end up,” Speck said.
The proposed strategic roadmap talks about helping students be ready for a career, college and citizenship. Speck said that’s a change from saying students will graduate from high school.
Nor does the proposed vision view “college” as simply getting a bachelor’s degree. The definition is being expanded to include technical or vocational programs and other educational institutions beyond high school.
Ford talked about getting students acquainted with the “real world.”
“We have to reconnect schools to the community,” he said.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.