Student achievement gains boost Evans’ re-election prospects
Evans urges voters to support public education funding
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 2012
San Diego – “The good news that has come out this fall on student achievement has given a big boost to my campaign,” said San Diego Unified Board President John Lee Evans. “We are beginning to reap the fruits of our reform efforts for the past four years. People are beginning to believe in public education again and this will be reflected in the school board election results.”
In September it was revealed that overall San Diego Unified test scores had improved significantly across the district over the past four years in reading, mathematics, science and social studies. For example, over 50% more students were proficient or advanced in science than just a few years ago.
In October the state’s Academic Performance Report revealed that San Diego schools had significantly improved in the last few years. In 2008 only 31 schools met the state’s target for excellence (an 800 score). This year the district has 113 schools that have met that standard, which is an increase of over 300% in four years.
Dr. Evans said, “We have achieved these great results as we have kept class size small and rolled out a nationally recognized educational technology program.”
Prior to this year Evans and the board made cuts to administration, transportation and outside consultants in an attempt to protect the classroom. “This year the state did not give us enough money to pay 1,500 teachers, so I wanted us to sit down and negotiate honestly with the teachers,” reported President Evans. “The teachers agreed to concessions and, as a result, our kids came back to a full staff on the first day of school. There are extremists on both sides who will criticize the deal, but the students were the winners.”
This is the fourth year of implementation for the district’s reform efforts under Vision 2020. “When I came onto the board, the Class of 2020 was in first grade. They are now in fifth grade. This class has benefited from small classes in the early grades, they have seen new technology rolled out each year and they have seen improvement in programs ranging from music to physical fitness to nutrition. They will be prepared for a much more rigorous high school education.”
In reviewing the past four years, Evans asked, “Are San Diego schools and students doing better than four years ago? Absolutely. We have raised student achievement and we have balanced the budget every year. Do we have a lot further to go? Certainly. We know what to do. Our reform efforts are working. Now we need to accelerate the rate of improvement.”
Discussing the upcoming ballot propositions, Dr. Evans warned, “We will not be able to continue the gains we have made if we have even more cuts to education. I have no problem with belt-tightening. We have already done that. Now we need to provide a minimum level of funding for our schools. I have spoken out fervently in favor of both Propositions 30 and 38 at the state level. And Proposition Z will provide San Diego tax dollars for San Diego schools that Sacramento cannot take away.
Evans concluded, “I stood with the Governor last week and now I am asking all of our civic leaders to take a stand in favor of funding education in California. On November 6 it is up to the voters. Do you want us to continue to make progress? We have proven that we have schools worth investing in. ”
Evans’ leadership style has been to work together for consensus with a bipartisan group of people. He has endorsements ranging from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson to School Board Vice President Scott Barnett, Trustees Richard Barrera and Kevin Beiser, City Councilmembers, state legislators and numerous teacher and parent leaders.