August 18, 2020 | Posted in:Blog: Story Stories

Last week Anne Campell, former San Mateo County Superintendent, spoke with me about equity in our mid-Peninsula Schools. She described the Opportunity Gap we have on the Mid-Peninsula. The Opportunity Gap here is the difference in the school experience for students in California based on whether they attend school in a Basic Aid or a Revenue Limit School. Students in Basic Aid School Districts, including Portola Valley, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and others with high property taxes, are able to provide their students opportunities like reading supports, full-time librarians, PE teachers, music teachers and art classes, that other districts don’t have the funds to provide to their students. The term Opportunity Gap was first used, as far as I can find, by Camika Royal in Good to replace the term “achievement gap.”

To close this Opportunity Gap on our Mid-Peninsula, Campbell suggests re-examining our funding priorities at the State level. All students should be funded at the level of students in these Basic Aid Districts. Campbell has worked together with Debby Martin, a retired high school teacher, on an initiative called Every Kid, Every School to address school funding inequities and close the Opportunity Gap.

I include the entire interview here because I admire Ms. Campbell’s thoughtfulness, perspective and experience. If you watch, I think you will too. In the first ten minutes of the video Ms. Campbell shares her experiences as an administrator with the Tinsley Program. The second ten minutes she reflects on the impact she has seen the Tinsley Program have on students, families and districts. The final ten minutes contains her thoughts on how to close that Opportunity Gap in California. 

If you would like further reading on the history of the Tinsley Program you can find a bibliography and other sources on my Google website: https://sites.google.com/view/oursegregatedschools/home.

My next blog post will feature an interview with Gina Sudaria, Superintendent of the Ravenswood City School District in which she describes her dreams for Ravenswood City Schools, and some of the barriers she faces to those dreams. If you would like to share your thoughts about What Would Equity Look Like? And How Can We Get There? Please contact me at KristinAkerHowellATgmailDOTcom.

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