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March 15, 2011 > State Superintendent meets with local education leaders

State Superintendent meets with local education leaders

Submitted By Claudia Medina

State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI), Tom Torlakson gave a keynote address on March 3 in Berkeley at a dinner hosted by Sheila Jordan, Superintendent of Alameda County Schools. Senator Loni Hancock also provided a legislative update.

Participants at the event were presented with an important opportunity to engage in dialogue with Superintendent Torlakson who was honest about challenges facing education in the state; local education leaders reciprocated with important information about classroom and community realities. They discussed the need to work together to address existing state assessment systems that put students and schools through endless cycles of "drill and kill" testing. SPI Torlakson pledged to work to establish new measurements that value learning in a broad range of subjects and skills including Career Technical Education, arts education, math, and science. A goal is to value individual student growth instead of arbitrarily evaluating schools based on a percentage of students who are "proficient" or average.

Most importantly, SPI Torlakson made it clear that he needs help to build a case before the public for full funding for our public schools and confronting existing assessment and accountability systems that lead schools to the lowest common denominator. He asked that education leaders work closely with his transition team, the State Board of Education, the Governor and the Legislature, to continue providing important information on the local outcomes of state and federal education policies.

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