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Good Schools for All

A podcast about education. In each episode, hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn (Education Synergy Alliance) cut through the jargon and debate to explain education in the 21st century. Lewis and Kohn highlight successes, failures and solutions in the system and interview thought leaders at national, state and local levels.

Mar 31, 2016

You might not have any idea what the California State Board of Education does. I didn't.

That is, until we talked to Trish Boyd Williams, a member of the board.

Williams lives in San Diego and has a major role on the board and she explained it to me for the latest episode of Good Schools for All.

It was that board, of course, that is the reason Common Core was adopted in California so we took the opportunity to break down how it's going and how the board determines its standards. My co-host Laura Kohn was screaming at the TV during a recent Republican presidential debate as they went on about Common Core. Take a listen to hear what she says they got wrong.

Williams said it's having a major impact in the state.

"What’s different about the Common Core state standards in English, Language Arts and Math over the previous standards in English and Math is that it shifts the focus. There’s less memorization of isolated facts, and there is more focus on bigger ideas, and on discussion, analysis, arguing from evidence, and critical thinking skills," Williams said.

Williams is also spearheading the adoption of new science standards for schools.

What’s Working:

Devin Vodicka, the Superintendent of the Vista Unified School District, and was named Superintendent of the year by the California Association of School Administrators in 2015. Devon and his team are making thoughtful but ambitious changes in the schooling system. They are working from a “blueprint for educational excellence,” and are creating a very positive impact.

Numbers of the Week:

The achievement gap refers to the difference in educational achievement between different races or demographics. 72% of Asian students read at grade level last Spring, and only 30% of black students did. In 8th grade math, 73% of Asians students met grade level standards, and only 22% of black students did.