On Thursday the OC Department of Education hosted The State of Education in Orange County 2012, featuring OCBC President and CEO Lucy Dunn, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, President and CEO of School Services of California, Inc. Ron Bennett, and Orange County Superintendent of Schools Bill Habermehl. Habermehl outlined his ten Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHASGS) to address education challenges, with a particular emphasis on LOCAL CONTROL. Dunn presented the business community’s perspective on education funding tied to eduication reform, support for preschool, and the myriad of programs business already contributes to in addition to state funding for education.
Habermehl emphasized the importance of not over-selling three funding ballot measures as a permanent funding solution for education. Rather, he outlined a series of goals (BHAGS) that would allow Orange County’s education system to succeed in a tough economy:
- TLC: Total Local Control – providing local administrators greater flexibility in deciding where and how money should be allocated, flexibility to determine class size ratio without state permission, and the ability to make the best choices based on need and not regulation.
- Longer School Year – an additional 15 days of school, and shorter summer breaks are needed.
- Longer School Days – students should be kept in school for more hours during the day, i.e. allow students to stay later to work on homework, and utilize the talents of college students to facilitate.
- Greater Parent Involvement – create more opportunities for parents to get involved, and greater options for student learning. For example, the Latino Educational Attainment initiative provides parents training on navigating the school system. Students should have the opportunity to take additional classes online, if they won’t fit into their schedule.
- Increase Staff Development – staff should have the opportunity to participate in two weeks of staff development training prior to the start of the semester.
- Improve Student Communication Skills – in order to compete in a 21st century economy, students need better written, verbal and listening skills.
- Increased Physical Activity – students need more opportunities for physical activity before, during and after school.
- Benchmark Exit Exams – these should occur at grades three, six, nine and twelve, not every year.
- Expand Post-Secondary Opportunities – greater ROP, community colleges, and university involvement in P-12 education.
- S.T.E.A.M. – create exciting and enriching S.T.E.A.M. opportunities for students that engage and inspire.
For more information contact Katherine Reedy, Director of Communications.