(This commentary first appeared in TOP-Ed.)
About 10 years ago, I set out to learn how education works in California, when it fails, and who could tell me why.
I devoured books and magazines. I peppered educators with questions. I attended conferences. I attended leadership meetings of teacher associations. I gate-crashed school board association meetings, conferences of charter school associations, and administrators organizations. I visited schools with community organizers and met with advocates. I read the voluminous Getting Down to Facts research. I got to know people at the organizations that walk California’s education policy field wearing referee’s stripes, including EdSource, PACE, and the Legislative Analyst’s Office. I learned the lingo. In multiple dialects.
Californians face a huge learning curve to get involved in making education work better. This week, Full Circle Fund launched Ed100.org to lower this barrier. Ed100 will begin as a structured set of about 100 daily posts. These posts will use the question “what is education?” to explore in plain language the main competing ideas about how education actually works in California.
This will add to the growing resources now available for those interested in California education:
- TOP-Ed blog gives us daily analysis, opinion and ruminations on California education policy. John Fensterwald and co-writer Kathryn Barron report current events that affect education policy decisions.
- Ed100, a project of Full Circle Fund, explains education change ideas in plain language with an emphasis on California.
- Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) recently launched Conditions of Education in California, an underappreciated blog that highlights academic findings that bear on California education policy choices.
- The California Teachers Association offers a news feed for the public in addition to a monthly publication for its members.
- Politics can drive policy, and those with an appetite for it subscribe to the Roundup, a sometimes-snarky daily look at Sacramento news from the editors of Capitol Weekly and AroundTheCapitol.com. (This is not to be confused with the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert blog.)
- The surviving major news providers in California include varying levels of education coverage. Some of the more significant include the LA Times (and its affiliated blog, LA Now), Emily Alpert’s education reporting in Voice of San Diego, and the Bay Area’s Education Report.
- Louis Freedberg and Corey G. Johnson collaborate to produce California Watch.
- NBC Bay Area highlights California education innovators in its Class Action program.
Many education-related organizations in California have developed blogs or email lists to keep their followers informed.
- Pivot Learning Partners recently launched OnPoint to blog about its work with many California school districts.
- Educate Our State is using its blog to help gather parent power to push for education funding and reform.
- California Business for Education Excellence relies on email to keep its followers informed.
No doubt I will have missed many useful education blogs and sites with a California emphasis. Aside from ToP-Ed, what do you rely on? What do you wish for? How can Ed100 help you?
I hope you will sign up for Ed100 today. (Yes, of course it’s free.)
Jeff Camp chairs the Education Circle of Full Circle Fund, an engaged philanthropy organization cultivating the next generation of community leaders and driving lasting social change in the Bay Area and beyond. He is the primary author of Ed100, a primer on education reform options in California. Since leaving a career at Microsoft to work for education change, Jeff has served on multiple education reform committees including the Governor’s Committee on Education Excellence.
Editor’s note: I highly recommend Jeff’s web site, a great primer on California education.
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