Institute for Democracy, Education and Access, UCLA
For decades, California schools have been wracked by the pitched battles of lawmakers, educators, and communities over equitable education funding, school management, curriculum, and more. The statement, “It’s all about the kids,” is a worthy aspiration, but it has not necessarily guided the governance of the state’s school systems. Why is that and what can we do about it?
This study from UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access (IDEA) reveals important common ground among influential Californians about the knowledge and skills students should acquire from the state’s public schools. The points of agreement between stakeholders who span the political and ideological spectrum differ from the lofty rhetoric that characterizes much of today’s education debate, and offer hope for improving California’s public schools.
After interviewing 50 influential Californians (legislators and legislative staff from both political parties, business and labor leaders), IDEA researchers found that important principles are held in common, including a common set of valued practices in teaching and learning. There is a noteworthy correlation between these common values and the basic tenets of Linked Learning, a broad-based education reform effort supported by Irvine’s Youth program.