Freed from regulations by Trump administration, state education board unveils the 'California Way'
Patricia Rucker started tearing up, and the room fell silent.
“I’ve been a member of this board for six years,” she said Wednesday at a meeting of the California State Board of Education. “But I’ve been an African American woman for far longer.”
The charged moment came during a presentation of a draft plan called “The California Way” on how the state plans to satisfy the relatively loose requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Obama-era replacement for the earlier No Child Left Behind Act.
Where No Child used a stringent system to reward and punish schools for their performance on test scores, ESSA, as it's known, gives states much more leeway in deciding how to hold schools and districts accountable for their students’ progress.
With the Trump administration in office — and an Education secretary who insists that states and school districts do much of the decision-making — states will get even more freedom than they had expected. Trump in March signed a bill that trashed Obama's ESSA rules.
Both Rucker and fellow board member Feliza Ortiz-Licon suggested that if the state failed to make firm commitments to progress anyway, some students would continue to be shortchanged.
The performance gap between students of different races, said Ortiz-Licon, is a California problem, not a question of complying with federal policy. “These are California students that are not performing in California schools, and it happens to be the same students over and over again,” she said.
She and Rucker took the board to task for talking around the achievement gap, which they view as the central problem in California’s schools. Rucker said she sees students who look like her constantly failing, and suggested that the board’s discussion focused on schools that serve the privileged.
“There’s nothing wrong with public education if you happen to live in an affluent Freed from regulations by Trump administration, state education board unveils the 'California Way' - LA Times: