Bill would bring business strategies and principles into the classroom

The Associated Press
Thursday June 27, 2002

SACRAMENTO (AP) — A national business-turned-education strategy could be the latest school experiment in California if a bill moving through the legislature is successful. 

The bill, authored by Sen. Bruce McPherson, R-Santa Cruz, was approved by the Assembly Committee on Education on Wednesday. 

The measure would establish a three-year $3-million pilot program in nine districts across the state that would bring Baldrige business strategies and principles into the classroom. 

The Baldrige business model — named after the late Malcolm Baldrige, former commerce secretary in the Reagan administration — was designed in 1987 and expanded to education in the mid-1990s. 

The program focuses on streamlining classroom activities so that more time is focused on learning. It also sets up individual goals for every student as well as for whole classrooms. Teachers are required to monitor each student’s progress daily. 

Students in the program typically score between 10 and 14 points higher on the SAT-9, the statewide tests taken annually by kids in grades two through 11, according to the California Center for Baldrige in Education. 

“It’s a proven success story in many states like Alaska, Florida and Texas,” McPherson said. “It’s a goal-oriented program in which students establish a daily portfolio so they can track their own progress.” 

McPherson said the program promotes a healthy level of competition between the students, but it also encourages the students to work together to obtain their common classroom goals. Students decide how they want to be rewarded for reaching their goals. 

Ruth Miller, executive director of the California Center for Baldrige in Education, said that although the program is already being used in Santa Cruz, Long Beach and Santa Clara, the pilot program is needed so that “the state can move forward as a whole.” 

“Everybody can use the same approach, talk the same language and be on the same page,” she said.