Raising the Bar: Standards and Exams in California's High Schools - April 30, 1999

A major focus of Governor Gray Davis' election campaign was the improvement of public education, and to achieve that goal, an "Extraordinary Session" of the California Legislature was convened in January 1999. The bills offered in that legislative session were concerned solely with school reform. The Governor signed several of the bills that addressed issues such as a high school exit examination, improved teacher training and higher standards for promotion.

The key concept of school reform that these laws represent is seen in the Governor's description of "raising the bar." As the Governor says, "The purpose behind these bills is to ask more of teachers, students, principals and parents so that kids will have the very best chance possible to elevate their game." Raising the bar is about raising expectations of teachers, parents, pupils and schools in very concrete ways -- through examinations for students, accountability reviews for teachers, rewards for successful schools, and punishments for those that aren't. This Town Hall Meeting considers several pieces of legislation aimed at "Raising the Bar."