By Linda Tran |Staff Writer|
“I believe that this is the time, a time in history, and a time in our state and in our nation that we should be investing more in education than we ever had before,” said Rep. Joe Baca (D-Rialto).
On May 17, Baca hosted his yearly Education Summit at CSUSB centrally exploring closing California’s educational achievement gap, academic fulfillment of English Learners and the No Child Left Behind law.
“People will continue to come to both San Bernardino and Riverside,” said Baca. “We must understand with the growth that there is a demand for education. That’s why we’re here today to completely look at these issues.”
Baca has served in Congress since 1999. His passion for education is evidenced by his service on the San Bernardino Community College District Board of Trustees, in the state Assembly and state Senate.
Baca assembled three panels of educators to discuss the recent education issues and what the education system can do to improve.
CSUSB President Dr. Albert Karnig introduced Baca and welcomed attendees who included parents, instructors, public officials and community leaders, as well as CSUSB students and faculty.
“The goal isn’t the institution, the goal is the people who operate the institution, the goal is the students who win their way through the institution,” said Karnig.
Lily Eskelsen of the National Education Association said,“We need a partnership with parents.”
Eskelsen pressed the importance of student and parent evaluation for both their relationship and their child’s education.
Professor Douglas E. Mitchell and assistant professor Robert Ream from the UCR Graduate School of Education discussed California’s achievement gap.
The achievement gap in the United States is an observation of a student’s skill based on their gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
According to the California Department of Education, the gap is closing and now the percentage of African American and Hispanic students are just as skilled and efficient compared to Caucasian students.
California has 1.5 million English learners from K-12 who speak more than just English.
The last panel ended with three principals from three different school districts.
Edwin Gomez, principal of Lytle Creek Elementary School, said that parents and teachers should not accept excuses to why they’re not able to learn.
“There are all of these excuses that I know that in my district, and these schools representing today, that we resist and we refuse those ideologies,” said Gomez. “We know by the end of the day when we do our part as adults is that all students can learn.”
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was originally introduced by President George W. Bush in 2001, planning to improve the the school system by heightening the school’s standards and giving parents more flexibility in choosing which schools their children will attend.
The current problem with the act is that Congress is under high demand to change the NCLB.
The act has failed to achieve its own basic intention, which was to raise the student achievement and closing the achievement gaps from students from distinctive backgrounds.
Baca ended the event with closing remarks and left the attendees with optimism.
“There are a lot of challenges. This is only one chapter right now and we have to look at the next chapter and how we’re going to write the next,” said Baca.