by Susan Kasai
The Honorable Richard Riley, U.S. Secretary of Education, joined over 250 of the nation's leaders in education, private industry and community in Berkeley Oct. 4‚5 to chart new collaborative models for enriching K‚12 education.
"I am grateful to my colleague and old friend Eugene Garcia and to President Atkinson and Chancellor Tien for assembling this outstanding group of scholars and leaders," said Riley.
The National Conference on Educational Collaboration and Excellence focused on "Identifying Cornerstones of Collaboration" in educating today's children for the 21st century. The conference was sponsored by Berkeley and its Graduate School of Education in conjunction with the UC Office of the President.
"It was an enormously stimulating and productive conference," said The Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ, who chaired the event's opening plenary session.
Highlighting the event were keynote addresses by Riley and Chancellor Tien.
Citing the continuing success of the Berkeley Pledge in promoting educational opportunity for California's diverse student population, the chancellor emphasized the need to combine resources from all sectors of society to build an effective educational system.
"Partnerships between business, government, foundations, K‚12 education and higher education not only will strengthen our elementary and secondary schools and better serve our children, but also will broadcast an important message: that education is the vital ingredient in a secure and prosperous future for us all," said Tien.
Eugene E. Garcia, dean of the Graduate School of Education, said that these partnerships are critical to the future of K-12. Many educators feel that reform programs so far have failed to fix this nation's educational problems, he said.
Issues such as making out-of-school, work-based learning part of a child's education and linking comprehensive social services with school facilities to support students' social as well as academic needs were part of the two-day discussion.
Other keynote speakers included Linda G. Alvarado, president of Alvarado Construction Inc.; Maureen DiMarco, California State Secretary for Child Development and Education; The Honorable Delaine Eastin, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction; John Gage, director of the Science Office, Sun Microsystems; and Gary Hart, director of the California State University Institute for Education Reform.
Garcia said the ideas and blueprints developed during the conference will be disseminated throughout the nation to stimulate further discussions and future collaborations at the regional and local level.