Focus in 2015 - 2016
The League of Women Voters of Marin County resolves to support the efforts of the Marin Strong Start Coalition to develop a dedicated funding stream for essential programs for children in Marin, including access to quality preschool, comprehensive health care and wellness services, affordable childcare and afterschool academic support.
2013-2016 Summary of Work
The Marin League has joined other California Leagues in studying public higher education in California. The study runs through May 15, 2016.
Marin Strong Start Coalition
The education committee has three members working with this coalition. Marin Strong Start is a grassroots coalition committed to providing children with the support systems they need for successful and healthy futures.
Marin Community Foundation Initiative Promoting Early Success
As part of an effort to close the academic achievement gap, MCOE is administering the Promoting Early Success Initiative funded by the Marin Community Foundation and the Haas Fund. This five-year Initiative supports nine elementary school sites in four districts across the county. Working with their preschool, afterschool, and community partners, school sites are developing innovative programs that support 1) a shared vision of high quality early education, 2) a positive school climate that is culturally competent, 3) high quality teaching, 4) alignment across standards, curricula, and assessments, 5) strong family engagement practices, and 6) expanded learning opportunities. Carol Barton, speaker
Marin County Office of Education
We collaborate with MCOE on a series of speakers who are nationally and internationally recognized educational leaders. You can listen to their talks at http://emergingtrends.marinschools.org/SitePages/Home.aspx or by searching the MCOE website by name. This year we heard Roland Case, Ken Kay and Cindy Johanson, Alan November and Yong Zhao.
Last spring Dr, Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish Education System, and Dr. Tony Wagner, Harvard University spoke. Schools Rule, Efficiency and Effectiveness Committee, MarinKids are all on our”to follow” list.
College of Marin
Up until last fall Elizabeth Moody and Nancy van Raavensway attended the College of Marin board meetings, monitoring the progress of the bond issue for rebuilding and the wellbeing of the Childcare Center. We miss their excellent reporting The Childcare Center not only provides student and faculty childcare but is essential to the early childcare program at the college. The opening of the new center took place this spring. The closing of the College of Marin Foundation and the related issues continue to be monitored. The College Board President Conti and President Coon have taken over the Foundation for now.
Buck Institute for Education.
Dr. John Mergendoller, President of the Institute, spoke to our committee about their work with Project Based Learning. BIE started as a Marin Community Foundation funded institute working with local schools. It is now funded by fees from schools all over the nation and world. Only 13% of its funds come from MCF and presently it is not working with any Marin schools.
The League of Women Voters of Marin County commends the Board of Supervisors for their Resolution Recognizing the Importance of Education.
The Education Committee of the League completed a study three years ago on how the experiences of the first five years of a child’s life affect the achievement of the child throughout the school years and beyond.
On April 11, 2010, we published in the Marin Voice (Marin IJ) an advocacy piece titled Closing the Achievement Gap. Just a few sentences from that:
- Education is on the front pages, receiving local, state and federal attention at the moment.
- Early childhood experiences in good quality childcare and preschool are essential to closing the achievement gap.
- In Marin, we have to come together to find local solutions because we know that money invested early in a child’s life will be saved later in educational remediation and/or the juvenile justice system.
- And finally, a public commitment is needed to continue and to increase the funding that supports the intellectual and social development of children before age five.
The Board of Supervisors fourth “E” setting education as a priority begins that public commitment.
The League expects to join in advocacy for quality, accessible and affordable education to benefit us all.
Education Reform was Major Focus in 2012
Education reform was the focus of many of the committee’s activities, in addition to continued attention to the Marin Community College and the status of early childhood ser- vices and preschool in Marin.
Early in the year, the committee organized participation by the LWVMC in the national League’s study of the federal government’s role in education. Chaired by Marcia Hagen, the study included sections on the recently developed Common Core Standards and funding of early childhood education. Results, in the form of a national consensus position, will be considered for ratification at the national convention in June.
The LWVMC fall kickoff program was devoted to education, with speaker Dr. Michael Kirst, emeritus professor at Stanford and now chair of the CA State Board of Education. It was held at Dominican University and co-sponsored by the Educational Psychology Department and the Marin AAUW.
The College of Marin has reached concluding stages in implementing the Measure C bond funds. The New Academic Center and the Child Study Center are in beginning stages of construction, and the Science Center is well along. At a pivotal meeting of the College Board, the League spoke in support of the Child Study Center.
In February, the LWVMC co-sponsored with the Marin County Office of Education a program at which Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish educator and author, spoke about the successful reform of the Finnish educational system that has won high praise for valuing and supporting teachers. Finnish students score highest on international tests.
Dr. Mark Phillips, Professor of Education at San Francisco State University and frequent contributor to the Independ- ent Journal’s Marin Voice column, met with the committee to discuss shared interests in education reform.
At the April meeting, the committee met with Superintendent Mary Jane Burke to learn about the County’s Efficiency and Effectiveness Task Force. Its purpose is to work with school districts in Marin to study, analyze and promote best practices related to shared services to achieve econo- mies of scale while ensuring the benefits of local control.
In May, again with League co-sponsorship with the MCOE, Dr. Tony Wagner, researcher and educator at Harvard spoke to over 150 educators and others about the im- portance of teaching thinking skills, problem-solving and especially innovation in contrast to the current focus on reading and mathematics. Students learning in groups and developing communication skills were emphasized.
Our committee contributed to the national League’s study on privatization on the specific topic of education. Results of this study will be determined at the national convention.
In May, the Marin Community College Board of Trustees honored Elizabeth Moody for her many years of serving as a League observer at board meetings.
Nancy van Ravensway was a longtime League board member and chair of the League’s Education Committee. Her death in the Fall of 2012 left us missing an inspirational leader. The Marin County Office of Education (MCOE) honored her at a lecture attended by educators, League members and the community. Nancy consulted on the lecture series focusing on the future. This PDF of photos, provided by her daughter Carolyn, show Nancy throughout the years of her long career in education.
JOIN US: If you are interested in educational issues, our Education committee is a place where you can help make a difference. Please join us. Follow the join us link for details.