LOS ANGELES (AP) — California should provide a cradle-to-career education system in which children are provided learning opportunities from a young age and given support and services inside and outside the classroom, the state’s schools chief recommended Friday.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson presented an update to his 2011 guidelines for schools that also outlines strategies for implementing Common Core standards, improving school assessments and boosting student performance.
The recommendations were developed by 29 education leaders and experts.
Torlakson said the blueprint will help prepare students for college and careers in the 21st century.
The “Blueprint for Great Schools Version 2.0” presents a multi-pronged approach to implementing Common Core, the math and English language arts benchmarks adopted by nearly all states.
The standards have faced resistance in several parts of the country but have been widely accepted by California leaders, teacher unions and education groups.
The blueprint advises education leaders to speak with communities about the standards and build the state Department of Education’s ability to implement them through a new Standards Support Office.
It also notes that many teachers will need to learn new instructional strategies and presents several different ideas about approaches to improving their access to training, including providing substitutes so that teachers can participate in professional learning during the school year.
The plan advocates for a “whole child” approach in which families are engaged from early on about ways to improve the health and education of students.
California’s Board of Education voted earlier this year to suspend the state’s school accountability system for at least one more year in order to give teachers and students time to adjust to new standardized tests aligned with the Common Core.
The board is currently revising how schools are assessed. The state’s Academic Performance Index uses student results of state exams to rank schools and identify which ones need improvement.
The plan presented Friday advises shifting from a “test and judge” approach to “assess and improve.”
David Rattray, executive vice president of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and a co-chair on the blueprint’s planning team, said the plan will be a critical to driving the California economy.
“For future growth we need a human capital plan,” he said.