FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2008

 

City of Berkeley and Berkeley Unified School District Join Forces to Eliminate the Achievement Gap

Berkeley City Council and School Board unanimously agree to make educational success a communitywide priority.

Berkeley, CA – On Tuesday, June 24th, the Berkeley City Council joined Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) and United in Action (a community-based multi-ethnic coalition) in a campaign to combat the achievement gap by unanimously adopting a resolution that establishes the 2020 Vision for Berkeley’s Children and Youth.  By approving the 2020 Vision for Berkeley’s Children and Youth resolution both the City of Berkeley and BUSD commit to working with the community to develop and implement plans and models for internal and cross-jurisdictional collaboration to remove barriers to learning and to promote healthy development for all Berkeley’s children and youth.

This is the first time the City of Berkeley and the BUSD have adopted a joint resolution to work together to make educational success a communitywide priority in Berkeley. United in Action has been a strategic community partner and a driving force in this effort.  Other partners will join this effort when the City and School District set up the All City Equity Task Force (ACET). The ACET will (1) advise the Superintendent, School Board, City Manager, City Council, and community stakeholders on the goals and strategies to achieve the 2020 Vision, and (2) monitor and review the progress of the District, City and community partners in implementing their plans to eliminate barriers to educational equity.

“Success in school is not the sole responsibility of the School District – it is all of our responsibility. Kids are in their homes and the community more hours a day than they are in school”, said Mayor Tom Bates.  “The disparity in educational outcomes between African American and Latino Students and their White and Asian peers cannot be tolerated in our community.  We want all of our youth to graduate high school with a high quality education and clear pathways to college and/or careers.” 

The 2020 Vision states that all children regardless of race, ethnicity, and income, who enter Berkeley public schools beginning in 2007 (and remain in the district) will achieve equitable outcomes with no proficiency differences by the time they graduate in June, 2020: and that all children born in Berkeley in 2007 and beyond, receive a healthy start and are equally ready to learn and succeed in Berkeley public schools.

On June 11th the Berkeley School Board unanimously affirmed the 2020 Vision for Berkeley’s Children and Youth.

“To close the achievement gap it takes a whole community working cooperatively together”, said Superintendent Bill Huyett. “The school district is responsible for ensuring equitable opportunity and culturally responsive curriculum and instruction.  City and community support for the whole child is critical to our success.”

The 2020 Vision resolution specifically calls for a comprehensive plan to address educational success for all Berkeley students that articulates specific models, goals and measurable outcomes.  In addition, the resolution identifies strategies that include promoting school readiness; recruiting, training, and retaining a diverse, skilled and culturally competent workforce in both the City and District; increasing parent and community engagement; leveraging public and private funding; and, committing to a shared accountability with specific benchmarks for measuring success with the 2020 Vision.

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