To Senator Bill Dodd, Superintendent Barbara Nemko, Superintendent Rosanna Mucetti: On Jan. 5, the Napa Valley Register Opinion page carried a commentary "Reclaim democratic purpose of California schools." It really piqued my interest, especially when I learned that "5 million of California's 6 million students attend school districts that do not directly address civic goals in their mission statements."
The very next day we all witnessed terror in our nation's capital on the very day that the Electoral College results were being certified. We could not have imagined such a horrific scene if we hadn't seen and heard it with our own eyes and ears. I went back and reread this opinion piece by Joseph Kahne, Erica Hodgin, and John Rogers, and it became all the more important to me. They had written it for CalMatters, a "public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California's Capitol works and why it matters." I urge you to read it if you haven't already.
They stress that "California needs to reclaim the democratic purpose of public schools. Advancing this agenda demands that we not take democracy for granted." They go on to say that in a study they recently published "few districts in the state currently focus on and invest in the democratic purpose of public education." They mention Local Control Accountability Plans which every county has. "These plans detail a district's priorities and allocate funds to pursue those goals. Only 29% of California school districts have staff dedicated to supporting social studies and civics."
I googled LCAP and found the following 10 items listed as state priorities: Basic Services, Implementation of State Standards, Parental Involvement, Pupil Achievement, Pupil Engagement, School Climate, Course Access, Other Pupil Outcomes, Expelled Pupils (county offices of education only), Foster Youth (county offices of education only).
Please let us know if Napa County lists Civics or Citizenship in its LCAPlan and whether or not it is being taught in our schools? Please keep us informed about how you will address this important and oft-neglected mission of our public schools if it's not in our LCAPlan now.