North Orange County Community College District Chancellor Ned Doffoney and Board President Mike Matsuda have been named co-chairs of the Orange County Closing the Latino Achievement Gap Committee. The committee is comprised of education policy experts, professors, administratorsÂ and teachers from Fullerton, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Fullerton College, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Fullerton, and Chapman UniversityÂ along with community leaders, parent leaders and legislators.
â€œThis is a very urgent issue considering that California will need over 1 million more college graduates by 2025.Â If we do not find ways to better prepare our young people for college and career readiness, our entire economy, our way of life, our society will be at risk of becoming a third world state. Our futures are vitally linked together. Through this working committee, we intend to focus on how the gap is defined, who are the targeted students, what are some promising practices andÂ how the re-authorization of No Child Left BehindÂ might address closing the gap,â€ states Mr. Matsuda.Â
Dr. Doffoney adds, â€œThanks to CSUF and local leaders like Sharon Quirk who led the Closing the Achievement Gap Summit last year which shed some light on the challenges, we are in the position to move forward and announce that NOCCCD will host a summit in the Fall of 2010 which will address the Teaching and Learning k-16 continuum.â€Â
Committee member and president of Anaheim City School District, Dr. Jose Moreno states, â€œWe are concerned that in the rush to raise test scores and be compliant with the federally mandated No Child Left Behind Act and the recently released Race To The Top Initiative, schools in Orange County are racing to narrow the curriculum to whatâ€™s tested, namely English and Math.Â While these subjects are important, schools may be severely cutting instructional time for equally important subjects like Science and History and may in some cases totally eliminate electives including the Arts, foreign languages and career and technical education pathways.Â Business and community leaders agree that 21st century skill sets must include the analytic and creative thinking skills afforded by a well rounded curriculum. In attempts to eradicate the Math and English gaps as a sole focus we then create another gap, an opportunity gap to access a whole curriculum that business, parentÂ and community leaders will find unacceptable if we are to insure a strong active citizenry in an increasingly global economy.â€
Mr. Matsuda adds, â€œCurrently we see practice in the classroom guided by policies from the federal governmentÂ that are not aligned to qualitative research.Â Â One of our mainÂ goals is to better align research to policy to practice.Â We are pleased that this initiative has the support and participationÂ of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Senator Lou Correa and Assembly Member Jose Solorio and look forward to working with all legislators interested in taking action.â€