In 1993, following the defeat of a state wide initiative to establish a school voucher system, the League of Women Voters of Monterey County concluded that it did not have sufficient information on the state of education in the public schools of the Monterey Peninsula. An extensive three year study of the three local school districts, grades K-12, was concluded in March, 1996. The following position was adopted as a consequence of this study.
Clear learning standards with tests to determine student achievement should be established by local school districts, the state, and the nation. Student achievement should be a factor in the evaluation of district superintendents, principals, and teachers. Provision should be made for quality education for students with varying goals, i.e., higher education at college or university or vocational. A primary goal of school districts and the state should be the reduction in class size. It is appropriate for school districts to make provision for instilling values as well as developing academic skills and imparting knowledge to students.
The League supports:
- Establishing clear learning standards by the state at each grade level and in all areas of the curriculum. These standards should define what students should know and be able to do.
- Establishing any additional standards deemed necessary by school districts, above and beyond those established by the state. Until such time as state standards are established, local school districts should define and adopt their own.
- Frequent testing of pupils at each grade level in all areas of the curriculum to determine the level of attainment of local school district standards (and state and national standards when these are established).
- Using state and national tests based on a standardized norm to assess the achievement of pupils.
- Offering courses for the college bound as well as vocational preparation.
- Requiring students to pass established minimum standards in English and math as a part of high school graduation requirements.
- Involving business persons and the community at large in evaluating student preparation for the job market.
- Using district resources to make specific provision for instilling values such as cooperation, honesty, responsibility, and citizen participation in pupils. These should be incorporated into general class instruction as much as possible without affecting the teaching of subject matter.
- Establishing a clearly defined evaluation and accountability system for the district superintendent, principals, and teachers that includes student achievement as a factor. The learner's progress should be measured in terms of growth from an established baseline for that learner.
10. Providing opportunities for parental involvement in the educational policies affecting their children's learning.
11. Reducing the number of pupils per teacher with a goal of 1-20 at K through three and 1-25 at four through twelve and working with the state League to support a state mandated maximum class size of 25 pupils per teacher.
12. Exploring additional means of making open enrollment and interdistrict transfers available to all peninsula students, contingent upon space available. 13. Priority should be given to students wanting to attend their neighborhood schools.
13.. Consistently enforcing district enumerated consequences for unacceptable behavior.
14. Providing computer education programs, including opportunities to apply learned computer skills to academic work.
15. Directing district funds towards reducing class size.
16. Recommending that Monterey County require school districts to use a standard program budget format.
17. Using general education funds for staff development programs. However, the school year should not be less than 180 days, and alternative times outside the school year should be encouraged for staff development. Eight days for staff development seems excessive.