Berkeley is world renouned as a home of knowledge and learning. Our children deserve world-class schools that live up to Berkeley’s superb reputation. Our local school district does a good job with its limited resources. However, if we are serious about bringing a world-class education to every single child in Berkeley we need to make our schools a higher priority and enlist the help of the entire community as well as our county, state and federal officials.
That is why I am want to take the experience and relationships built over the 20 years I served Berkeley in the state Assembly and put them to work to help improve Berkeley’s schools. Within my first 100 days as mayor I will convene an education summit. It will bring together parents, teachers, principals, school administrators and school board members along with educational leaders from federal, state and county government, and the private and non-profit sectors. Some who have already agreed to attend include: Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congressman George Miller (Ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee), Senator Jack O’Connell (Candidate for State Superintendent of Education), Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg (Chair of the Assembly Education Committee), and Assemblywoman Dion Aroner, Assemblywoman-elect Loni Hancock, President Clinton’s Regional Representative for the US Department of Education and Alameda County Superintendent of Education Sheila Jordan.
The Berkeley Education Summit will be organized around three goals. First to get an overview of what our school district is currently doing – what is working well, what needs to be improved, and where there are gaps that a school-community partnership can help fill. Second, to look at policies and programs from the best school districts throughout the state and country for ideas that can improve our schools. Third, to call on the innovation and creativity of Berkeley people to join in a sustained effort to help every child succeed.
Tom Bates is a progressive candidate for mayor of Berkeley.