Joint Committee to Develop a Master Plan for Education

The California Master Plan for Education

Summary

This Plan is ambitious in its scope, and its full implementation will require a sustained commitment on the part of all Californians and substantial investment from the State, local communities, and business. This Plan cannot be implemented without the engagement of our entire state and all of its component parts. Parents, students, educators, policymakers, community-based organizations, and employers each and all have a responsibility to support quality teaching and learning and must both accept and fulfill their respective responsibilities for implementation of this Plan. No other state has undertaken what is being proposed in this Master Plan for Education: creation of a framework to guide educational policy for all aspects of education, from early childhood education to postsecondary education levels, driven by an uncompromised commitment to promoting student achievement and the ability to learn for a lifetime. We reject the notion that public education can serve only a proportion of its learners well and that student achievement must be distributed along a 'normal curve.' We believe that virtually every student can and should be assisted to realize her/his potential to become a learner for life, and to meet (or even exceed) high standards of achievement. An education system that remains focused on helping learners achieve this potential must also be focused on continual improvement.

Broad participation in the development of this Master Plan has been sought to ensure that it incorporates the best of what all Californians believe they need from their education system in order to ensure a society that celebrates its diversity as a strength to be cherished and cultivated. We have sought to anticipate the learning needs of Californians 20 years into the future, to guide ourselves in making wise decisions today that will increase the likelihood that California will remain a world leader.We hope and believe that our collective commitment to adopt and implement this Master Plan will restore all of California's educational sectors to positions of prominence in promoting student learning.

Because learning takes place within the context of learners' lives, the needs to which our education system must respond will inevitably change over time. Today's instruction is not limited to use of slates and chalkboards, as it was in the past; and it is reasonable to conclude that instruction will not be limited to printed textbooks and face-to-face interaction between teachers and learners in the future. The changes generated by science, technology, and use of information are increasingly generatingnew opportunities and new tools for workers, learners, teachers, and researchers alike. At the same time, California's increasingly diverse population is creating opportunities for new community linkages and opening new paths for students to become engaged citizens. The committee recognizes this fact and recommends that this Master Plan for Education be reviewed comprehensively at least every ten years, and be modified, as necessary, to ensure a continued focus on learners within California's education system. There is an inherent tension between the capacity of educational institutions to adequately respond to the unique needs of individual students and the capacity of the public policymaking process to shape institutional structures and practices that are flexible, while also being accountable to the general public. Resolution of this tension can be best accomplished by actively seeking the input of Californians throughout the state during each subsequent review of this Plan.

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