Buchanan hosts education talk in Pleasanton

Residents, school officials had the chance to pick the brain of State Assemblywoman

Pleasanton residents and school officials had the chance to pick the brain of State Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) on education issues last week.

"The problem with education in California is we don't fund anything adequately," Buchanan said. "It's a huge issue."

Speaking at a workshop held in the Pleasanton school board chambers, Buchanan said: "I think the real problem in education is not a teaching problem and it's not the laws we have there; it's a leadership problem."

Approximately 20 people attended the 1-1/2-hour discussion, including district administrators, teachers, school officials and parents.

Buchanan typically travels to local school districts during the state budget preparation process, but the conversation in Pleasanton this year focused primarily on overarching education issues.

Buchanan said she's working to address a number of education topics in the Assembly, including making kindergarten mandatory, implementing full-day kindergarten throughout California and a potential statewide school facilities bond measure.

"You can raise the gas tax and get more money for roads, but I can't charge kids to go to school," she said. "So education is an arm of state government."

Other topics the assemblywoman touched on included funding for special education, the need for more professional development time for teachers and reworking the student assessment system.

"Where I think we're doing a tremendous disservice to poor kids is this narrowing of the curriculum and making the test the whole goal of education," Buchanan said. "We've got to teach our kids how to learn."

The Common Core State Standards, which promote curricula with emphases on critical thinking and depth of understanding, could be part of the solution, she added.

"If all of us came in on a Saturday morning, I'd be willing to bet you we'd come up with a pretty good idea of what a quality education should look like," the assemblywoman said. "And from there, all you're then doing is applying cost factors. But I think until we do that, we've got a problem."


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Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2014 at 9:04 am

I think the fact that there are no "great" private schools in the Tri-Valley indicates that the public schools are pretty good. If the Pleasanton Schools were truly falling apart at the seams, a superior private option would emerge. So far, none has...

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Posted by tim
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Mar 17, 2014 at 3:49 pm

"The problem with education in California is we don't fund anything adequately," How much money do you need, Ms Buchanan??

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Posted by AmeliaBrown
a resident of California Reflections
on May 27, 2014 at 7:51 am

Both private and public schools have their advantages and disadvantages. It is clear that it is more pleasant to study in comfortable classroom and to have more qualified teachers and we can get it in a private school. However they cannot usually give your child an adequate evaluation as they tend to tell you that he or she is very talented to make you pay money. But what we have as the result, these children don`t really have profound knowledge and need additional help (here Web Link you can get help with your written papers) to be competitive. So it is clear that the problem is not in the type of school and even not in its financing, it is in the whole educational system.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 27, 2014 at 8:44 am

There are so many wonderful children/students and in many many instances some are late bloomers. What a tragic commentary by Ms. Amelia.

More "qualified teachers" "these children don't really have a profound knowledge" "to be competitive"?

What specifically is a "more qualified teacher"? "adequate evaluation"?

I believe that your comments are a projection. You're the one that ain't got no "profound knowledge" and what do you mean by "competitive"?

What "additional help" do children need? Please be specific.

It seems to me that you delight in shooting from the hip...sad.


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